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How to Stand Out in a Post-pandemic World

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How do you stand out in a post-pandemic world? Steven Ball with the University of Missouri says to start with your people.

Your business has undoubtedly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shutdowns, virtual classes and innovative solutions, adhering to strict guidelines and losing employees — this past year has rocked the fitness industry.

It’s time to look ahead at the future. With the rise of home gyms and increased access to online fitness programs, the competition has never been stronger. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, start by investing in yourself and your employees. In doing so, you are ultimately investing in your customers.

Develop your culture. Take time to define it and make sure it is attracting the kind of employee you need. You want to make sure new hires are a good fit for your company, and that your company is their ideal workplace — that’s a win-win.

Refine your culture by investing in your existing employees. It’s likely they were forced to wear many hats in the past year and they deserve acknowledgement for their hard work. Encourage them to keep learning and reward them accordingly. The more multifaceted and knowledgeable your staff and trainers, the more they can jump in to fill the gaps that will likely continue for some time.

Reward your employees with increased benefits such as paid time off, health insurance and childcare benefits. This will not only help them feel stable in an uncertain time, but also help with retention and hiring quality candidates.

Offer development opportunities that will help your employees advance their careers. Encourage them to seek out unique fitness-related degrees and certificates that can be applied to their daily work with your company. These can also allow them to earn higher-level credentials that lead to a higher level of service to your customers — such as the NSCA-CSCS — making not only them, but your business more marketable.

Degrees and certificates can help your employees learn science-based applications in all areas of fitness, nutrition, coaching and wellness. Find one that offers a well-rounded curriculum that adds in a business component. These essential skills are what many fitness professionals lack. Having properly educated and trained staff will set your business apart.

Spotlight your employees. After you encourage them to further their education, take time to show them off. Feature a wall in your facility that includes employees’ headshots and their credentials, degrees or certificates earned. When your customers can see you are dedicated to your employees, they’ll know you are dedicated to providing the best service to them.

So, how do you stand out in a post-pandemic world? Start with your people — focus on developing your culture, hiring and retaining quality employees and providing them with endless learning opportunities.

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Steven Ball

Steven Ball is the director of the 100% online fitness programming and management bachelor’s and undergraduate certificate at the University of Missouri with Missouri Online. Reach out to Steve at ballsd@missouri.edu or visit online.missouri.edu/solutions.

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