Engage to Retain


It’s common knowledge that the rate of change in the fitness industry is at unprecedented levels, however, despite this innovation and improvement, the same can’t always be said about the quality of service on many gym floors.

Younger team members often lack confidence to engage with members (especially older members) or those who they perceive they don’t have anything in common with.

The following strategies can be used to build a team of fitness professionals who are engaging, focused on building member relationships and ultimately, improving retention.

Hire right: Getting your fitness team hires right from the beginning ensures a better than average chance of cultural fit. As part of the interview process, ask the applicant to “work the floor” to observe who and where they engage. A good fit will be someone who approaches many members from all areas of the gym floor and displays open and positive body language.

Communicate expectations: Make sure the team members are clear of what is expected from them on shift. They should understand that engaging with all members is a key part of the job. If there are KPIs for their shift around member engagement, then communicate this upfront and manage these regularly.

Train, train, train: Give your team the tools they need to do the role they are expected to do. Regular role-playing, modeling and practicing expected behaviors should also be encouraged to achieve the desired behavior. Teach the team how to ask open questions to build relationships.

Recognize, reinforce and reward: Provide regular feedback to reinforce the positive behaviors and recognize team members both privately and publicly. Develop fun challenges and competitions between team members, and celebrate team wins with incentives when engagement shift goals are met.


Kristen Green is the executive general manager at AquaFit in Australia.

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