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The 5–7–9 of Hiring, Staffing and Retaining Quality Staff Members

Daniel Carlin Frey started his career in the restaurant industry but later moved to the fitness industry after helping his trainer build his business. Frey has several fitness certifications and is currently working on building a personal training business as well as looking for a fitness center to purchase. For more information, go to:

Five Hiring Tips

  1. Hire personality, not skill. When hiring, you can always teach and perfect someone’s skills. However, you can’t teach someone to have a good personality. You should look to hire a staff member who has the personality that best suits your club, then train that person in the skills that are needed for the position you want them to fill. By finding someone that fits your club and has the right attitude, you’ll better serve your members.
  2. Hire people that look the part. Your staff is an extension of you. You should look to hire people that take pride in how they look. A staff member should dress appropriately and fit in with what you want your club to be.
  3. Hire people who see your business. Ask important questions when you interview people for a position. Make sure that the person you hire “sees” your business the way you do. Candidates should be shown around the club. During this tour, see what they point out as potential issues and what they compliment. Also, be sure to pick up garbage and place weights back when you see things out of place, then see if they stand there or help. This will give you an idea of how they will act when they are hired.
  4. Don’t just fill a position. Only look to hire long-term staff members. In the long run, it will cost you less to wait to hire the right person than it will cost you to hire the wrong ones. Hire only people who are looking to work long term and move up the ladder.
  5. Recruit from every industry. Look for your new staff members anywhere you are. Restaurants are always a great place. You need hospitality at your front desk staff, and these are the people who make it their livelihood. Never be afraid to ask someone what his or her goals are.

Seven Staffing Tips

  1. Put your aces in your places. Experienced staff members should always be in the most important places. You should look to have a mature, responsible person at your front desk because they are the first person that your members and potential members will see. They should be focused on your business and not reading magazines or on a cell phone.
  2. Cross training. Your facility should never be understaffed. Everybody can do more than one job—your front desk can work the shake counter, and your sales team can work the front desk. This way, you’re never stuck working a position, and everyone learns to respect all positions on staff.
  3. Always train. Training is key to having a good staff. If you train the staff in the aspects of their jobs, then they will know how to do it the way you want.
  4. Outline expectations. The staff should know what is expected of them at all times. Before you hire someone for any position, be sure that you outline what you are expecting of him or her in the position that he or she is applying for.
  5. Allow for people to see growth. If a staff member does not see growth then they will not want the job. Explain where staff can grow both financially and in their career at your club.
  6. List new positions. Let the staff know when a new position becomes available. Your staff members may be interested in the position for themselves or they might choose to bring in someone they know. Let the staff be your recruiters.
  7. Incentives for new staff. If you let your staff members do your recruiting, then give them a benefit for their success. Give all staff members an incentive for recruiting when a new staff member lasts for a period of time of your choosing.
Nine Staff Retention Tips
  1. Talk to your staff. Great ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes we see too much of the four walls we are in and stop seeing the things that need to change. Your staff members should be encouraged to share their ideas. Listen, and let them change things.
  2. Listen to your staff. Your staff members are your eyes and ears. They speak to members and interact with potential members, so let them discuss your club with you and what they feel should change.
  3. Create a review system. Review your staff so that they know where they stand at any time. Set up a system where every three or six months you sit down with staff members and show them where they exceed your expectations and where they are not meeting them. The more they know about how they are doing, the better chance they will work to improve.
  4. Create an incentive system. Cash incentives are great, but find things that staff members will like, too. Staff members are more inclined to work for surprise incentives. Just make sure that they are worth the effort.
  5. Be in the business. When you’re at work, take some time and work. Paper work is important, but so is the work your staff members are doing. Take time to work with your staff every day.
  6. Say hello and goodbye. Take the time to say hello and goodbye to all staff members. Saying hello to members is important, but show your staff they matter, and you’ll gain more than the effort costs.
  7. Remember the little things. If it’s a staff member’s birthday, take the time to make it a big deal. Notice the little things, and the staff will do the same. What’s important to them should be important to you.
  8. Praise in public, and reprimand in private. If you have to reprimand a staff member, do it in private. It’s not for the rest of the staff to know about. When you have to praise, do it in public. Let the staff see you praising them. Others will be encouraged to work for the praise.
  9. Remember, you’re a staff member, too. You may be the owner or the manager, but you work for your members. Be sure you never get the king attitude that you have a divine right to lead. You are there because you own or manage the club. The staff will make or break you in your day-to-day operations. Make sure you remember they work for you and you work with them.
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