Outstanding personal trainers, group exercise instructors, massage therapists and other fitness professionals are your rock stars. They motivate and inspire your members, help them reach new levels of health and drive your business forward.
And yet, facility operators often make the mistake of waiting until someone leaves — when they have an “opening” — to begin looking for their next rock star. That’s too late. The great ones are busy and the odds they’re looking for a new opportunity on your timeline are remote.
Even when you do find them, by the time you go through the hiring process, onboarding, working them into the schedule and helping them develop a client base, you’ve lost valuable revenue and relationships.
Instead, take a different approach. Appreciate how important attracting top level talent is and make it the priority that it deserves. You should always be recruiting. A few ways to do this include:
Announce through social media, your monthly newsletter, flyers snail mailed to every gym in town and signage in your club that you’re holding auditions for outstanding personal trainers and group exercise instructors. Set aside two hours every month for this activity and involve your staff in the audition process. Encourage new, inexperienced people who are interested to participate, but gear your messaging and efforts toward reaching the experienced, in-demand professionals who exist in your community.
Schedule candidates in 30-minute blocks and have them demo how they train clients and lead a class, and have your staff members role play as clients/class participants. Don’t make the candidates do an entire session or class — just focus on key areas like the intro, warm-up and modifications, that sort of thing. Create scoring sheets your employees in attendance can use to assess the candidate and use to provide you with feedback.
Do this consistently throughout the year. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few months to get things rolling, and don’t worry if you have some months where only a couple people reach out. It takes time — and keep in mind you want to develop a reputation locally as a club that is always looking for top people.
Once a year, host a career night in your facility for all positions: front desk, membership, personal trainers, massage therapists, instructors or management, you name it. Limit the evening to just an hour, and provide light hors d’oeuvres. Send flyers to every gym in town and post everywhere.
After a 15-minute mingling period, gather everyone for a brief overview of your organization and then ask the experts on your team to speak for a few minutes about a career in their particular area. Ask the sales director to talk about a career in membership sales, have your best personal trainer discuss the pros and cons of that career path and the education required, etc. Keep these comments concise and make certain your people are focused — no rambling — they need to prepare their remarks in advance.
Last, break off into small groups so people can talk one-on-one with your in-house experts. Have a table in the corner for membership careers, another for group ex instructors, one for massage therapists, etc. You want them to spend as much face time as possible with your key staff members.
Finding just a handful of outstanding new hires each year through these processes requires a long-view commitment. It may seem like a lot of effort, but it will pay dividends for both your members and your bottom line.