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Operations: “Just Hire Better People”


Last week, at the 2016 IHRSA Convention and Trade Show, Ish Cheyne, the head of fitness for Les Mills New Zealand, made a bold statement. “Just hire better people,” he said. According to Cheyne, the health club industry, and many other industries, in fact, have a hiring problem. He explained 81 percent of new hires are a disappointment, which is … disappointing, to say the least.

Cheyne explained there are a couple reasons for this conundrum.

The first is that health clubs don’t do adequate background checks — they’re typically done at the very end of the hiring process, when a director or manager has already decided to give a person a job. As a result, the background check is not given the due diligence that it deserves. Have references been checked? Have skills been tested? If not, then a job should not be offered.

Second, many clubs leave the hiring decision up to one person. Cheyne stated this is a mistake. The weight of a hiring position should never been laid on one person’s shoulders. Instead, he suggested prospects meet with the entire team. That way, the likelihood of red flags being discovered is much more likely. Different people notice different things, so increasing the number of people involved in the hiring decision increases the chances of avoiding a bad hire.

Here are a few more reasons many clubs make bad hires:

  1. They hire too hastily.
  2. They don’t test-drive skills.
  3. They hire based on experience, instead of a culture fit.
  4. They don’t ask the right questions.
  5. They don’t trust their team’s opinions on a hire.

“When someone leaves, look at it as an opportunity,” said Cheyne.

Just like member retention is a priority at your health club, employee retention should be as well. And this starts at the front end, by making educated, and smart choices on who you hire.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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