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Strategies for Overcoming Current Hiring Challenges

Current Hiring Challenges

Tips for overcoming the current hiring challenges plaguing businesses, including health clubs.

Industries across the economy are facing a slew of hiring and staffing challenges in light of the Great Resignation and continued consequences stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to recent Club Solutions Mastermind Group meetings, these current hiring challenges are also affecting health clubs, with many operators reporting difficulty filling positions ranging from front-line staff to senior management.

Rick Opton, the owner of Loggerhead Fitness in Juno Beach, Florida, said his gym has been challenged with finding part-time staff, trainers and Group X instructors.

“For example, it’s been harder to find new yoga instructors and the ones we have found have gotten used to doing one-on-one sessions or very small classes, and getting paid a lot more money,” explained Opton. “We can’t afford to pay them the rate they were making during the pandemic. Not many personal trainers have crossed our paths either. I attribute this to less people training — many people still at home on the sidelines — so demand is down, and it’s harder for trainers to make money.”

For Leah Seacrest, the corporate vice president of Fitness and a co-owner at Regymen Fitness, with locations across the U.S., finding qualified staff and retaining them has also been a challenge.

”This has required us to take a hard look not only at the verbiage of our job descriptions but a hard look at compensation packages,” said Seacrest. “Over the past few months, we’ve even had to do an overhaul on the duties of our positions and think of ways to attract the best of the best. We like to ensure we are pulling in qualified candidates, as our belief hinges on the fact you cannot give a stellar customer experience with sub-par employees. This belief permeates through our training and retention programs to ensure we are keeping our employees happy and focused on growth and development.”

With this in mind, Club Solutions Mastermind Group members shared several key strategies for overcoming current hiring challenges, outlined below:

Offer Unique Benefits

Like many operators, Opton is not in a position to raise wages, so instead is offering more benefits to attract staff. This includes a flexible work schedule, free personal training for part-time employees, and a free membership for teammates and one other person in their household. “I even have a meal benefit that my full-time and almost full-time employees get, which is an IDEAL NUTRITION prepared meal,” said Opton.  

Utilize Technology

In addition, Opton has started using Sparkhire.com to filter out poor candidates, which requires applicants to submit video interviews and provides a more customized hiring approach for employers.

“I used Indeed and while it got me leads, many were not good,” said Opton. “That is why I turned to Sparkhire.com. It’s a unique and very user-friendly video interviewing platform and is reasonably priced too. It vetted out candidates by asking them to answer 10 questions using their phone camera to record their responses. As you can imagine, you can glean a lot of information from body language, eye contact, etc. Nerves even play a role here. You get a very good sense of their personality, humor, seriousness and more. I liked it a lot and I can even share the interview with other team members. As reviewers, we can rate — using a 5-star rating — each of the candidate’s responses, then as a team we see an overall rating.”

Other Mastermind Group members also suggested Sprockets and CareerPlug as additional tools to consider.

Think Outside the Box

According to Seacrest, current hiring challenges are real and widespread. As a result, operators need to consistently think about hiring and retention strategies and think outside the box to get ahead.

“These challenges are affecting literally every industry, so it’s important to make sure to stay in touch and be open-minded to shifting — if and when needed — in this climate,” said Seacrest. “Look to others who are thriving for ideas on how to improve. It does require digging in deep and perhaps changing some of your processes if needed. Think outside of the box. Sometimes increase in pay isn’t necessarily a viable option nor the best path. Beefing up compensation packages can include things like extra days off, free services and other perks. Listen to podcasts, read leadership books and audit your processes as needed to overcome.”

Interested in learning from other operators and sharing best practices? Consider joining a Club Solutions Mastermind Group. Email Bob Surface at bob@peakemedia.com for additional details while spots last.

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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