It shouldn’t be hard to find an experienced person with an exercise science degree, who is awesome with people, has great sales skills and is willing to work for what you’re willing to pay, right? You may be a lucky club that has retained trainers for a long time, but the industry average for trainer retention is one year, so most clubs need to have a system for continually replacing staff.
Finding rock star trainers may not be the easiest thing in the world, but it can be much easier when you know what to look for and how use a systematic approach to onboarding new trainers in your facility. Talent acquisition requires looking through a wider lens, which takes into consideration the local labor markets and what you really need to have a successful, scalable personal training program. So, what should you be looking for?
You shouldn’t try to build a stable completely full of trainers with exercise science degrees. But education is still important, so try to have one or two of these people to design templates and oversee the programming for the rest of their coaches, while other clubs can outsource the programming to a company that specializes in it. The most successful clubs use this approach. Not only does it provide a better product, which is more consistent, it also protects the business. The whole training program can fall apart in a day if individual trainers are in charge of their own programming and decide to leave.
What you are really looking for are candidates who are great with people. You want coaches with energy who are team players. They understand movement and are exercise people, but they don’t need to have an exercise science degree.
The people skills and entertainment value of coaches are more important to keeping the clients engaged long-term. Safe, effective programming is provided for them. They don’t need to write it. They only need to be taught how to deliver it, which is done through a club’s standardized trainer onboarding process.
So don’t chase unicorns — look for candidates who enjoy being with other people and want to help change lives. You can teach them the technical side of the job.
Tony Chemer is the vice president of sales at Alloy. For more information, visit teamalloy.com.