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Silver Linings for Health Club Professionals

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Silver Linings for Health Club Professionals: What We Are Learning Now Retains Your Talent Later

There is no denying COVID-19 has hit our industry hard. From fitness clubs closing, to job loss, expense cuts, the emotional impact and our personal safety at risk, it can feel callous to look beyond the challenges to a positive side. But it is important to take stock in the unexpected silver linings — more time, educational opportunities and professional networking — we have uncovered in this COVID-19 era.

The pandemic has forced us to focus more on what matters most today — our people. With the vaccine rollout, leaders must now concentrate on retaining talent to help your company thrive. Your employees have a heightened awareness of company policies and what your company can provide.

Managing and retaining talent is a balancing act in any business, but the COVID-19 pandemic has raised the stakes substantially. Taking note of employee engagement and retention is critical to your team’s stability.

Silver Lining Lesson #1: More Time

The pandemic showed some people work better and more productively from home — while certain roles require an in-person presence for success. The biggest win in these scenarios, remote or in-person, is more productive time slots in our lives. For those going into the office, fewer meetings led to a sense of focus and accomplishment. For either work environment, restructured schedules freed up time to complete projects or reflect and focus on strategic ideas most impactful to the company’s success.

As a leader, ask yourself if either remote or in-person work scenarios are possible in your facility and if they lead to better employee engagement or experience and also yield higher productivity. If so, consider the impact the work schedule and environment play in your employees’ happiness and success. Many businesses have implemented flexible work schedules. Consider staggering teammate schedules in larger teams to help spread the management presence throughout the week and yield the benefits of both work environments for your teams.

Silver Lining Lesson #2: More Educational Opportunities

Now more than ever industry experts are giving their time and professional expertise for affordable or even free learning opportunities. Virtual educational options cost your company less money to gain more education, a win-win for both the business and employees.

As a leader, encourage your team to use these available resources to continue to learn. Build professional development into your regular team meetings for managers to share their takeaways which best align with company goals.

Silver Lining Lesson #3: A Time to Shine

As some jobs were eliminated due to COVID-19, many employees stepped up and shined. In a time of uncertainty when new revenue streams developed quickly due to necessity, leaders discovered hidden talents on their team, including increased aptitude in technology, quick thinking and ability to do more with less.

It is extremely important as a leader to acknowledge employees’ skills and enthusiasm and recognize their success. As you lead your team through these changes, schedule one-on-one discussions with them about the impact of their contributions and express your appreciation for how they have used their talents and compassion to help the company remain viable.

Silver Lining Lesson #4: Industry Networking

With more time and continuing education opportunities, realize your teams are making connections outside of your company. Celebrate this external networking as an opportunity to connect with industry mentors and bring new perspective to their daily work. Many leaders fear this will lure their talent away. However I would challenge you to enlist your team to bring new talent to your organization.

Silver Lining Lesson #5: Focus On Priorities and Values

This pandemic has allowed all of us to take stock in our priorities and values, personally and professionally. During the pandemic, companies’ true core values have risen to the surface. Employees are now evaluating how these align with their own purpose, whether subconsciously or not. Leaders who prioritize safety and work-life balance result in increased engagement and productivity. A company’s safety and security measures are the topic of conversation, now more than ever.

Set aside time to discuss your team’s expectations now. Showing empathy and interest in them personally is one of the most powerful tools of retention. As the workplace continues to adapt, share decisions made about remote or in-person work scenarios — recognizing your interest in your team’s mental, emotional and professional well-being.

We must continue to search for opportunities to retain talent and recruit new talent. By focusing on the silver linings, your teams will flourish, you will attract new talent and the business will see success in the future.

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Meredith Rosson

Meredith Rosson is the assistant general manager of Cooper Fitness Center, a 50,000-square-foot lifestyle, wellness and fitness facility located in Dallas, Texas. Meredith studied Exercise Physiology at University of Texas at Austin and has held integral leadership roles that have developed success in more than 13 departments since 2006. She is a member of The Women in Fitness Association and a former personal trainer. She can be reached at: mrosson@cooperfitnesscenter.com.

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