Seven Tips for Retaining Top Talent

Keeping your membership sales staff happy and staying at your club

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to keep membership sales staff? If your answer is yes, then these simple tips will help.

  1. Understand the reasons for departure. Issue a survey to all current employees with the following questions: What are the top five reasons people leave our company? What do we need to do as a company to create a workplace where people want to stay longer as employees?

    Encourage your staff to be very specific and candid with their answers. Allow employees to answer anonymously. Reassure them that the intention behind the survey is to move the organization to the next level with regard to work environment and opportunities. Issue the survey with paychecks or deposit stubs, and request that it is returned within two weeks from the date of issue.

    Critical point: Do something with the results.

  2. Survey new hires. Upon bringing new staff into the company, issue a survey to understand what the employees desire as a career path from your organization. If you immediately learn their goals and desires, you'll be able to assist them with creating their success.

  3. Review your initial training program. A recent study in The Managers Intelligence Report shows that a negative impression or poor preparation in the initial training was a significant factor for employees who left within one year from date of hire. Thorough and organized initial training that is taken seriously has a direct effect on how employees perceive the value of their job, their success, the organization and themselves as a part of the organization.

  4. Communicate the big picture to all employees as well as their place in it. The more your employees know about the company's goals, concerns and operations, the more opportunity they have to show that they care. Employees who care want to contribute.

  5. Compensate well. Clearly, we are in an age of wage escalation. If we choose to not compensate our people well, there are many other employers who will.

    That does not mean that we can automatically give every staff person a raise. Our sales staff, however, has a fabulous opportunity to do well financially as a direct result of their efforts as long as your compensation plan is rewarding. (See Competitive Compensation.)

  6. Communicate respectfully. As a manager or owner of your company, you need to check your communication skills. Do you communicate professionally, honestly, frequently and with the best intentions for best results? Put simply: Would you like being on the receiving end of your communication? If you wouldn't, you could be pushing staff away.

  7. Keep recognition consistent and authentic. Yes, we all realize the importance of recognition, but do we really recognize staff? Twenty days a month I am in different clubs throughout the world working with club professionals on all levels, and the one comment that comes up consistently is that staff feel unappreciated and unrecognized for their abilities and contributions.

Daily, authentic staff recognition is so easy and inexpensive to do. Yet it is one of the forms of compensation that we are less generous with. On a daily basis, take time from the business of the business to verbalize your appreciation for the stars that you have. Then watch them shine even brighter.

Karen Woodard, president of Karen Woodard Consulting Services, has been a club owner since 1985. She is also an international author, speaker, consultant and staff trainer for the health and fitness industry, providing marketing packages, sales, service and management training. She can be reached at (303) 417-0653.

Competitive Compensation

One key to keeping your sales staff motivated is your compensation package. Do you know how yours stacks up?

You can review your plan by asking yourself these questions:

  1. How does your total annual compensation opportunity for a membership representative compare to the average per capita income in your community?

  2. Is it motivating?

  3. Is it fair to the club as well as the rep?

  4. If you were a rep, would you find it attractive?

If you can't answer yes to these questions, your compensation plan may need a make over.

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