Some Ideas on How to Reduce Staff Turnover

If you own or manage a fitness business, one of the first challenges you will face is recruiting the right people – it will also be one of your highest priorities.

Once you have recruited, inducted and on-boarded your new staff, the next big challenge will be to keep them. What you do not want is to spend all that time, effort, and money recruiting and training someone, only for them to leave after six or twelve months – meaning a wasted investment and having to go through the whole time-consuming process again.

Although the churn factor varies between the well-known fitness businesses, approximately 5-15% of all fitness professionals will exit the fitness industry each year or set-up their own fitness business. Consequently, a transient workforce can be a genuine concern for fitness businesses.

Therefore, we need to ask ourselves the following question:

How can business owners and managers entice their staff to stay in their roles, and continue to be motivated in them?

Notwithstanding the business targets that owners and managers may set and measure success by, it is about aiding staff to attain their personal version of success within their job or role. For example, if one of your staff considers themselves to be successful, however they define it, you will have a much better chance of retaining them. With this in mind, business owners/managers should:

  1. Facilitate Success:
    1. Markers of success will vary from person to person.
    2. For example, some people are driven by:
      1. Making money or commissions;
      2. Self-improvement or adding to their skill-set;
      3. Career progression; and/or
      4. The satisfaction they get from seeing their clients improve.
    3. Part of being a manager is elucidating ‘What does success mean to this person?’
    4. If you can do this, they will be less likely to leave.
  2. Start a Conversation:
    1. To determine what drive’s a staff member, a manager can use the same process that exercise professionals use when meeting a new fitness client.
    2. What are their fitness (career) goals and what do they want to get out of their training (job)?
    3. It is the manager’s role to support the staff member on their journey to achieving these goals.
  3. Allow for Growth:
    1. While most managers and fitness business owners are results and performance driven, it is important that staff are given room to grow and develop so they can become the best trainers they can be.
    2. Managers should be aware that staff may make mistakes or not always achieve their monthly targets. They should be utilised as learning and development opportunities, with the staff member developing ideas for similar scenarios in the future. This self-development is important, as developing and coaching others is part of an exercise professionals role.
  4. Encourage Engagement:
    1. Unless you own/manage a large fitness club/chain, where there are opportunities for progression into more senior roles, your fitness instructors/personal trainer may find themselves in fairly static roles.
    2. However, owners/managers can still help staff to feel challenged and engaged in their roles by encouraging them to continually add to their skill-set through relevant CPD and upskilling courses and training, then incorporating their new skills into the business, where possible.
    3. For example:
      1. If a staff member upskills on a new exercise technique, it could be incorporated into the training programme; or
      2. If the staff member has an interest in marketing and social media, perhaps they could contribute posts on social media or write a blog post for the business’ website.
    4. If they have leadership flair/potential they could mentor new or junior staff members.
    5. Ultimately, this will help them feel professionally challenged and also valued by the business, which makes retention more likely.
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