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Roundtable Recap: Ensuring Staff Readiness


On June 3, REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine presented the ninth installment of a weekly virtual roundtable series aimed at helping clubs navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, sponsored by Promotion Vault

Panelists included Mary Thomas, the owner of Western Racquet & Fitness Club; Bill McBride, the co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness; and Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM and owner of WORX health clubs. The discussion was led and moderated by Brent Darden, the founder of Brent Darden Consulting and chair of REX Roundtables.

Following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, centered around staff readiness for reopening, new employee training protocols and more. 

Highlights from Discussion

  • The panel highlighted the importance of role playing to ensure staff readiness for reopening, as they’ll be facing scenarios they never would have prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Think through a variety of scenarios and how you’d like staff to ideally respond, and reinforce. 
  • “Brief Back” concept: If you have someone parrot back what you say, this increases the chances of retention. Make sure your staff are clear on expectations. 
  • In terms of whose responsibility it is to clean, the panel agreed it’s largely a team effort. McHaney has broken up his gyms into “zones” team members are assigned to and responsible for cleaning and sanitizing. Also, staff must understand the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. 
  • Think through how to handle a phone call where someone says they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and were at your facility. Get all the information you can. According to McBride, someone in his network recently had this happen and it turned out it was a hoax, most likely from a disgruntled former employee or competitor. If you get a similar call, be sure to get a full name and member details so you can verify accuracy. 
  • According to Thomas, communicating often and well throughout the crisis made bringing employees back easier and ultimately ensured staff readiness for reopening. Her club created “tenants” for reopening, as follows: 
    • Be Kind
    • Take Care
    • Show Grace 
  • Be conscious about your teams falling back into old habits, like hugging and shaking hands. Constantly reinforce new protocols. 
  • Many clubs are writing cleaning responsibilities into all position descriptions. 
  • Based on survey data, McHaney said as a whole, members are very pleased with how clubs are handling the COVID-19 crisis in terms of organization, cleaning/sanitizing, etc. However, many are displeased with how seriously other members are taking their cleaning/sanitizing responsibilities. 
  • The panel discussed the importance of context training and empowering staff to make executive decisions. Teach people how to problem solve
  • When bringing back employees, provide the why behind your decisions. Many employees are in a stress response and survival mentality, so be honest about the reality of the situation in terms of why their hours may be less than before COVID-19, for example. 
  • This is a time for elevation — raise your game as a leader across the board. 
  • With unemployment going up, this is an opportunity to get A-players on your team. 
  • The panel believes the industry will get better at crisis management, training and hospitality as a result of COVID-19. 
  • McBride recommends the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey for insights on how to train employees on problem solving, crisis management, etc. 

To access the on-demand version of this webinar, click here

UPCOMING: Don’t miss the tenth installment of our virtual roundtable series, “Successful Strategies for Shaping Your Future: Marketing & PR in the Moment” on June 10 at 2 p.m. EST, in partnership with REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine and sponsored by Instinctive Insights. Limited seats are available. Click here to reserve your spot.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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