Does Your Staff Engage with Your Members?

Do you have difficulty getting your staff to initiate conversation or engage with members? Don’t feel bad — a lot of managers have the same issues. 

Here are some interesting statistics: according to Nielsen, when looking at smartphone owners by age, cell phone penetration is highest among Millennials aged 18 to 24, 98% of whom own smartphones. Millennials aged 25 to 34 are right on their heels, with a 97% ownership rate, followed by Gen Xers aged 35 to 44 at 96%, making smartphones nearly ubiquitous among these generations. 

Do these age groups match the age groups of your staff? Here are some
more statistics: On average, we send 763 text messages per person, per month. Ninety-nine percent of the text messages are read and 90% of the texts are read within three minutes after receiving them. 

To summarize, 96 to 98% of your staff have a cell phone and, according to the stats above, they’re spending most of their time looking at it. What’s the best way to change this?

The first place to start would be in the recruiting stage. Often, people are good in an interview. Most people know it’s a job interview, so they exhibit their best behavior. But will it last? Some companies conduct an informal group interview in which people complete tasks as a group. However, just like reality TV, they know someone’s watching.

What’s worked for others was a weekend workshop in which people who wanted to enter the personal training field would pay a fee to attend. This completely changed the dynamics. They’ve paid. They’re the customer, so in their mind, they don’t have to be gregarious, engaging, on-time or even attentive. This is where you see the true essence of that person. It’s better to have hired the right person with the right personality and a passion to be part of a team, than to hire someone who’s a seasoned professional who’s used to doing things their own way.

Teaching a new employee science, policies and procedures is a lot easier than trying to teach a new hire to have a personality.

Once they’re hired, it’s important to communicate how you want them to engage with your members using the same technology they are familiar with. The phone.

Most fitness professionals are visual, kinesthetic learners. Show them exactly what you need. More importantly, remember to show them exactly what you don’t want to see. It’s fairly easy to shoot video nowadays. Try to think of the most egregious behavior and film it, then show them the correct way. Accompany that with a documented implementation plan, and you now have accountability. Practice makes a habit, but perfect practice makes you successful.

John Platero, MSS, is a fitness educator who has consulted both nationally and internationally. He is the CEO for the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers and Smart Fitness, and the author of over 30 educational books and videos. You may contact him at johnp@nccpt.com or at nccpt.com.

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