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Motivating Staff during Difficult Times

Motivating Staff during Difficult Times

Ryan Vogt has a bachelor’s of science degree in sports and fitness management. A NASM-certified personal trainer, he is the fitness director at the Tri-City Court Club and LifeQuest Fitness Center, both private health clubs in Washington state. Vogt also is a freelance writer and presenter and a fitness consultant for the Club and Spa Synergy Group. He can be reached at

During challenging times, you must focus on your team’s strengths. What can your personal training team do to drive up the company’s non-dues revenue? If your team members realize that their efforts help the club’s bottom line, you can expect improved performance. If they know that you believe in them and they have the ability to deliver their strengths, they’ll be more focused and motivated. Here is what you can do:

Devote daily time to EMPOWER your team:

1. Education: Make those around you better. Challenge your staff to continually learn the most current industry trends, training techniques and scientific research. This takes place only when you provide an environment that includes the necessary materials, such as industry trade journals, videos, monthly fitness publications, online webinars, Web site training tools and team-training workouts.

2. Motivation: Show them your passion and learn what drives theirs. One of the best ways to motivate your staff is to determine how they like to be rewarded and recognized for a job well done. One thing that has worked for my staff is to ask them to share some of their favorite things (candy, restaurant, sports team, flower, musical group), then reward employees with them for a job well done. Dig a little deeper and connect with them on an individual level (birthday, anniversary, hobbies and children’s names).

3. Preparation: Prepare like you are the busiest/most successful club in town. Press forward like you are expecting your business to spread like a sneeze. Challenge your staff to create new and exciting programs. Take the time to market your business in new ways, such as through social networking and local networking with businesses and like-minded groups.

4. Opportunities: Deliver opportunities to grow with lectures and classes. Ask each of your staff members to develop an area of interest (diabetes, weight-loss support, marathon training) and have them deliver their findings to your club members. This can be done through lectures, incentive programs, small group trainings and train-the-trainer meetings.

5. WOW Factor: Teach your trainers to treat their clientele like kings and queens. Make clients’ sessions the best part of their day. Here are some ideas: greet them like a long-lost friend, give them something new every session, use goal-setting sheets, make them part of your family, give them a water bottle or protein shake, give them 100 percent focus, and finish with a hands-on stretch.

6. Expectations: Your staff must know what is expected of them. Make sure that your staff has defined expectations. Work with them during the slower times to define new goals and to develop new roles and strategies to reduce job confusion and lack of focus. Remember the quote: “Success is a decision, and it requires action.”

7. Reward: Look for little reasons to recognize and reward your staff. Take time to notice the little things that your staff accomplishes to make your club stand apart from the competition. Did they help a member get to their car? Did they sit with an elderly client in the lobby? Did they pick up the weight room area? Did they handle a customer complaint with confidence? Be sure to reward this behavior in front of their peers.

Take the time to EMPOWER your personal training staff. More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well and effectively. During challenging business times, your leadership and ability to EMPOWER is the glue that holds your team together.

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