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Hiring During a Pandemic


It is no secret the coronavirus pandemic has impacted and changed many operations in the health and fitness industry. One area Midtown Athletic Club has faced particular challenges in is their hiring process.

When Midtown’s facilities were mandated to close in March, they furloughed about 97-98% of their staff. This was difficult and led to many cashflow decisions to ensure the club had a future. Since the club had no employees and no job postings, they worked with their job board vendors, who allowed them to put their contract on hold until they reopened.  

“One of my first assignments was to limit any outgoing cash from my department, so I had to put many of our job boards on hold for a set period of time,” said Courtenay Casaccio, the vice president of people experience for Midtown. “As we have opened, some of these vendor relationships are still on hold, so we have had to rely on one-off processes with job boards, our network and word of mouth.”

Casaccio said this experience was tricky because they had to blindly guess how long to put their accounts on hold. Though it has been difficult, she explained they have used the pandemic as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink their people experience processes and make them best in class.

As a result, Midtown’s hiring process has gone through a massive change. They are utilizing a human capital management (HCM) tool, Workday, and have revamped all of their talent acquisition processes within Workday and Docusign, including an updated career site, streamlined processes, interview workflow and digital offer letter and onboarding documents.

All of these improvements are set to go live on August 10 with the Workday implementation.

“It has been quite an achievement for our skeleton crew, and we were busy all summer working on this strategy,” said Casaccio. “We have spent a lot of time on change management and training, as this is a massive uplift to our current systems and processes.”   

Midtown is currently in the process of hiring for their Bannockburn, Illinois, location. They have targeted candidates with a very deliberate sourcing strategy and are doing in-person career days, which includes in-person group interviews for finalists they have already phone screened. They are also doing virtual interviews depending on the job the applicant is applying for.

If your facility is also bringing on new employees during the pandemic, Casaccio has the following tips that may help your facility navigate this challenging time:

  1. Ensure your safety processes and policies are updated.
  2. Make sure you have technology to support your new interview processes — Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.
  3. Have an onboarding plan for new hires. It is more important than ever you consider their experience, as they have choices and your top talent is likely juggling a few offers.
  4. Double down on hiring for culture fit. Vet your core values and ensure your hiring managers know how to use behavioral interviewing to vet and hire the right talent.
Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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