5 tips to retain health club employees

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Health club owners spend tons of time and tons of money on member retention. However, almost as costly, and rarely thought about, is employee retention.

As the economy continues to warm up and companies are poaching employees from inside and outside of their industries to fill the pipeline, employee retention rates promise only to get worse. Even as the economy was in the infancy of its turnaround in 2011, turnover rates for all industries hovered around 13 – and in the service industry those rates were far higher where the average is 30 percent, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The number of employees leaving companies is expected to continue growing globally as “employee turnover rates over the next five years are predicted to rise from 20.6 to 23.4 percent and the number of global departures in 2018 will stand at 192 million,” according to the Hay Group.

But just because employees may leave your health club, doesn’t mean they have to. These five tips may help you keep you from having continually to replace your staff.

  1. Hire the right people. You’ll have a much higher retention rate if you hire people that fit the culture of your company in the beginning. clearly — both to yourself and to the candidates. And then be sure the candidate is a fit, not only for the job, but for your company culture.
  2. Fire people who don’t fit. Sometimes even when you think you are hiring the “right” person you may get an employee who doesn’t fit. Maybe they have attitude issues or they don’t fit the corporate. No matter how effective an employee might be at their actual work, one who is a bad fit is bad for your club’s culture and will eventually do more harm than good at your health club.
  3. Pay a fair wage. We all want to get the most for the least. Your members try to get the best deal possible and wait for promotions on personal training, enrollment fee discounts and more before plunking down their hard-earned money. But, even though you may want to save some money on your payroll, treat your staff right and pay them fairly. Also have a plan for regular employee reviews so employees will know where they stand.
  4. Recognize and reward employees. Raises are nice, but a pat on the back may go just as far. If an employee goes “above and beyond” don’t just let them know it, let everyone know it. While employee of the month walls are a bit pase, recognizing associates through social media, club announcements and a tangible reward (gift card, award, etc.) can keep your employees from bolting.
  5. Provide growth The ability to learn and grow is extremely important to employee loyalty and happiness. In fact, a 2013 Workforce survey showed that lack of opportunity to learn and grow lead to high-turnover intentions. An investment in your employees will bring returns in the way of them being invested in your health club.

While the costs of employee turnover are hard to quantify for your health club, and go beyond the expenses of advertising, interviewing and training new employees, by keeping your staff in light of new opportunities in a growing economy will reward both the club and its employees.