Your most powerful engagement tool isn’t necessarily your workouts, equipment or technology — it’s your member-staff relationships. At the end of the day, your most engaged members keep coming back because they feel valued by those they interact with.
Of course, workouts, equipment and technology are critical parts of the club equation, but fostering these positive member-staff relationships goes a long way in helping members achieve a higher quality of life and building your club’s culture.
“This is a no-brainer,” said Nick Barshick, the co-founder and COO of Chuze Fitness. “The bonds between staff and our members create engagement and community — leading to better retention as a result.”
Operationally, creating stronger member-staff relationships at Chuze starts with constantly empowering staff members with the knowledge that what they do is very important.
“We like to remind our teams they have chosen a profession that changes lives and impacts communities,” said Barshick. “It’s easy to forget when you’re mopping or closing a cash drawer in the 10th hour of a shift. But unbelievable stories of transformation are hidden in plain sight all around us all the time.”
To help inspire staff members, the Chuze leadership team invites members to share their testimonials and “heartfelt gratitude with the team,” according to Barshick. This practice has helped change the way many staff members view their role in the club environment.
“We aim to emphasize that a friendly smile and a warm welcome can actually save someone’s life,” said Barshick. “This empowers and inspires the team to change lives through the connections they make.”
Listening to members’ success stories also gives Chuze a way to demonstrate its commitment to developing employees and building a strong culture. “Storytelling helps keep the team inspired,” said Barshick. “And it’s important that each individual staff member feels we are invested in their future and development, whether they plan to stay with Chuze for their career or not.”
There will certainly be challenges in keeping all employees positive for 100% of a full day. “Working hard and interacting with thousands of people is both physically and mentally exhausting,” said Barshick. “It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and get swallowed up by the day-to-day volatility of working in a hospitality business, serving the general public. Hospitality and service is a discipline that takes practice, will and effort.”
However, making a point of showing positive impact of healthy member-staff relationships makes a big difference in employee performance and, subsequently, member retention.
And through these practices, Barshick has seen positive member-staff relationships continue to change lives. “People literally move differently in their world because of Chuze,” he said. “They parent differently, they friend differently, they routine differently, they work differently, they love and accept — perhaps themselves — differently, and maybe, they also run or exercise differently.”