Lisa Owens of The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center shares tips on hiring candidates who are good culture fits.
In 2021, 47.4 million people voluntarily quit their jobs, a phenomenon dubbed “The Great Resignation.” Since then, every industry has been working tirelessly to fill vacant positions and ensure they have the best staff in place — including the health and fitness industry.
In a survey by CareerPlug, an online recruiting software, 55% of all employees are currently seeking or will be seeking new employment to get a pay increase in 2022. 64% of those workers are looking for an opportunity for a pay raise but said they would stay at their current job if their employer gave them the compensation they were looking for. Additionally, 66% of those employees said they would stay at their current job if their employer offered additional benefits instead of a pay increase.
Many clubs are struggling to navigate payroll with new hires demanding a higher starting pay, and in return causing a pay increase across the board. But that’s not the only pain point gyms are facing when it comes to hiring.
67% of hourly workers surveyed are exploring new industries and fields this year. This will open a pool of fresh faces to mold and help grow in the industry. However, when hiring it’s vital to ensure the candidates will be a good culture fit regardless of how skilled they are.
According to a study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months while only 19% will achieve success. Of those who fail, only 11% lack the necessary technical skills — the remaining 89% have other difficulties integrating into the workplace.
A great way to prevent this according to Lisa Owens, the office manager and human resources generalist at The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center in Whitefish, Montana, is to pre-scan candidates during the hiring process, and make sure your job description/posting reflects your mission and values. This establishes up front what you are looking for.
“Ask open-ended questions during the interview process, then watch and listen carefully to their response,” said Owens. “Compare the interviewee to current rockstar employees on staff to see if they reflect some of the same qualities. Keep an open mind and think about how the person can add to your culture, not necessarily staying within the culture box you are looking for. Ask yourself, ‘Does the person match our values, beliefs and mission but bring additional unique qualities?’”
Owens said the best way to know if a candidate will fit in with your culture is to ensure your culture is understood and being lived by whomever sits in the hiring process. “If culture is being done right, explaining it to candidates is the easy part,” she noted. “It will come naturally to a happy employee. They will know the catch phrases like respect, teamwork, integrity, results, family or whatever it might be that make up your workplace.”
Additionally, Owens recommended highlighting policies that exemplify your culture, like work-life balance and how that is achieved, and understanding what qualities you are looking for. Make sure everyone in the interview process is looking for the same things. Communicate to the candidate if they would like more information on company culture, they can chat with any employee about it.
The entire industry — and country — is feeling the stress of hiring challenges. While you may be discouraged as jobs remain unfilled, it’s important to stay true to your core values, and make sure you’re hiring the right people for the job and your team environment. Despite the desire to focus on hiring for a good fit, it’s also important to keep an open mind with candidates so you don’t miss out on someone who may bring the cultural change you might be missing.
“Hiring for a fit does not necessarily help you see a candidate’s true aptitude for a job or skill,” said Owens. “It’s good to have different perspectives and approaches to work to give diversity to your workplace. Look for someone who can complement but also add to your existing environment.”