Leading By Listening


It’s an age-old saying— “teamwork makes the dream work.”

Tara Sampson, VIDA Fitness’ director of marketing, said that at her club that means listening to the feedback and suggestions made by employees at every level, especially those on the front line.

“Oftentimes we are asking our lowest-paid, part-time employees to execute on the most important and influential jobs in the company,” she said. “They interact with 10-times the number of members that most senior managers do and really have their finger on the pulse of what we could do to improve the member experience and team efficiency.”

Sampson emphasized the importance of not only creating proactive ways to solicit feedback from your front line team, but to be able to apply and execute on their recommendations. She acknowledged that along with part-time employment likely comes a proneness to feel uninspired in the workplace.

Sampson echoed that moving quickly on suggestions made by lower-paid or part-time employees can assist in ensuring they’re always looking for ways to wow your members.

“I find that in addition to providing relevant and intuitive recommendations, listening and acting on feedback provides these teams with a sense of efficacy and empowerment, which is essential to keeping them motivated and performing at their best,” she said.

Sampson added that bridging the gap between management and front line staff goes a long way in fueling the initiative the latter group may take in providing feedback and recommendations to their superiors.

“We encourage our management team to spend time at the front desk, especially our membership team,” she said. “This type of informal interaction gives our front line team the ability to casually bring up ideas and feedback, and then we can act on their ideas.”

Sampson added that at VIDA Fitness, managers are asked to attend front desk and housekeeping meetings each month. She said she believes doing so provides managers the opportunity to reinforce for the employees the importance of the front line’s roles within the club and the unconditional support they should know they have from their higher-ups.

“We do our best to keep the informal and formal lines of communication open and do what we can to execute on ideas as much as possible,” she said.

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