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Keep Great Talent


Some club owners struggle with keeping great trainer talent, which is a notable challenge for most businesses. When you have great talent in your grasp, you don’t want — or can’t afford — to lose it.

Retaining great trainers becomes as important as retaining paying members and consistent clients. So, how do you do it? How do you keep great talent?

First, let’s be real — there’s not a simple, straightforward answer to this because there’s nothing you can do if someone wants to move away or is offered a bigger, better position somewhere else.

In fact, your club could be the jumping off point for a trainer’s future long-term career success. Don’t discount the role you play and the value you bring to someone’s future — it is as important to them foundationally as it is to you relationally. Below are some keys to keeping talent instead of humbly saying goodbye and well wishes.

The following points may seem obvious, but are often times not purposefully thought out and executed on. Think through how you, as a mentor, business owner/manager and professional colleague, can work to support a club culture that values these things:


Act on the Four Rules of Communication. And for each of these rules, determine the “how,” “when” and “why” it is necessary to offer open lines of consistent communication as well as the less attractive need to communicate problems.

  1. Be honest.
  2. Keep current.
  3. Attack the problem, not the person.
  4. Act, don’t react.

Investment in People

As a club owner/manager, you have a certain responsibility to maintain standards. Specifically, regarding personal training staff, this should take the form of:

  • Verification of certification and maintenance.
  • Additional in-house training and education.
  • Quality assurance measures and incentives.

You may already have a standard in place for NCCA accredited certification as an employment qualifier, but it only just starts there. Invest in more than just the time it takes to look at their certificate. If you assist your training staff with additional certifications and recertification requirements, then you are demonstrating an investment in them personally.

Consider offering in-house continuing education that supports the trainer in their need for CECs and, even better, budget for education and training as a performance incentive that is specific to the trainer’s area of interest/specialization.

Care and Sincerity

These can’t be taught, but they can be practiced and purposeful. By cultivating a culture of care for the individual, with a sincere desire to build them up for the betterment of themselves and the team, you create a family dynamic that transcends monetary incentives alone. Start seeing things through the lens of other people’s perspectives and relate the need for the same to others in your business.

Successful personal trainers see things through the eyes of their clients as individuals and work with them to make lifestyles changes that are lasting — ultimately, this makes them very valuable to their now loyal client who has as much connection and feeling of accountability to their trainer as they do their exercise program. The same dynamic occurs in your club business. Great people want to be part of a great team, and if they feel it they’ll want to stay. Emphasize a culture that serves one another, better together will keep you together.


Angie Pattengale is a graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and has been with National Federation of Professional Trainers, NFPT, since 1994, currently serving as the Director of Certification. Angie works to direct growth efforts and advance the NFPT Certification mission as it relates to NFPT-CPT skillset and knowledge advancement as well as promotional value and authority of the credential which acts to positively impact public health, safety, fitness outcomes and authority of the collective personal training industry. For more information visit https://www.nfpt.com/.


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