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Team Retention: One Team, One Dream

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Jarod Cogswell, the co-creator and senior director of Spartan DEKA, share the importance of team retention and how to achieve it.

Jarod Cogswell, the co-creator and senior director of Spartan DEKA, shares the importance of team retention and how to achieve it.

After 30-plus years of continuous learning lessons in this challenging but purposeful industry, the one “secret” ingredient that maximizes any fitness businesses’ potential is the team serving one another and their members. It’s not:

  • The Sales Process
  • Programming
  • Marketing
  • Retention Procedures

While all of the above is vital to any and all clubs, gyms and studios, it takes authentic leadership and the right people to execute these initiatives. The truth is, we must focus on team retention even more than dues paying members. Why? Because it’s your valuable staff that represents your brand mission and core values as well as the vision for your business.

Steps to Consider:

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

The team always comes first and as leaders, we must protect “the family” and our brand identity. While it can take extreme patience to find the right individuals, we must hire only those that align with the principles of your brand and will most likely collaborate with other team members. In the business of fitness, a team of friends will most likely outperform a team that feels like simple co-workers. Be on the hunt for friendly, outgoing personalities, people connectors and influencers, and always be interviewing for your next star player regardless if you have a position open or not.

Educate, Motivate, Inspire

We’re all guilty of setting high expectations for our teams, but in many cases, the “why” we do what we do gets missed in the process. Regardless of their role, ensure that each team member is educated on the business objectives and goals. The more they understand the mission, the more they comprehend their value and commit to their role. Instead of approaching your role as a manager or a director, strive to become a coach. Build rapport, trust, bring positive energy on a regular basis, be a role model of your high expectations, recognize effort on a frequent basis and also hold team members accountable. When your employees trust and believe in you as a coach, leader and mentor, it lessens the need to manage them.

Team Communication

Delivering a memorable ethos of service takes time to consistently deliver and internal communication is paramount to the process. Consider brief huddles with your key players on daily basis (five to eight minutes max) and discuss initiatives, KPI’s, operational updates and share good news and/or inspiring messages with one another. The goal is to maintain positivity and keep people consistently informed, focused and motivated. 

While building and developing the best team possible for your fitness business can be overwhelming, it’s the only way to amplify membership, financial performance and raving fans. Remember, if you want to build a culture of service and community that differentiates you from others in your market, it starts at the top.

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Jarod Cogswell

Jarod Cogswell is the co-creator and senior director for Spartan DEKA, the decathlon of functional fitness. He can be reached at jarod.cogswell@spartan.com or, for more information, log on to deka.fit.

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