3 Hiring Tips to Make Your Fitness Center More Inclusive

Are you looking to attract and retain new members at your fitness center? If you’re having trouble attracting new clientele, it might be because many Americans are uncomfortable working out at a fitness center. In fact, a recent study found that 49% of Americans who gave up on their fitness New Year’s resolutions did so because they feel intimidated at the thought of going to the gym. Additionally, 46% worry about being judged at the gym.
How can you ensure you’re doing everything possible to make your fitness center feel safe and inclusive to all members? Hiring the right employees can play a big role in getting members excited to continuously return to your gym. We’ve pulled together some key hiring tips below.

Build an Employment Brand Focused on Inclusivity

A strong employment brand can help you hire the right employees that align with the culture and core values of your fitness center. If you make it clear that your fitness center fosters an inclusive environment for all members, you will be more likely to attract candidates who are motivated to help any and all members achieve their fitness goals. For example, Planet Fitness has a slogan “Judgement free zone.” Your fitness center can take a similar strategy to reach job seekers and prospective members who are looking for an inclusive place to reach their fitness goals.
Your inclusive environment should be highlighted in your job descriptions, on your career site, on social media, and anywhere else candidates and potential members might come into contact with your fitness center’s brand. To attract quality candidates, your employment brand should also include strong job descriptions, a compelling career site, defined career paths across roles, employee testimonials, a comprehensive list of benefits and continuous job openings. By building and maintaining a strong employment brand, you can reach engaged applicants who are interested in growing their careers at your fitness center.

Send Personal Trainer Candidates Prescreen Surveys

When recruiting personal trainers, a critical step in the hiring process is having candidates complete prescreen surveys. With prescreen surveys, once a personal trainer submits an application, he or she will automatically receive an survey that can gauge his or her fit for the role. Once complete, the surveys are then automatically scored, so only the strongest applicants get moved to the candidate stage of the hiring process.
Using prescreen surveys, you’ll have your first opportunity to ensure prospective personal trainers will fit with your inclusive culture – and you’ll have the chance to expand on relevant questions during the interview process. In the survey, consider asking questions related to potential scenarios with members. For example, “What would be the first step you would take with a new personal training client who is anxious to get started?” Or, “How would you approach a member who isn’t necessarily a personal training client but looks frustrated trying to figure out a piece of gym equipment?” Depending on the multiple choice answers personal trainer candidates select for each question, you can automatically determine who should move on to the interview step in the hiring process.

Offer Group Fitness Instructors a Trial Run

Once you’ve completed the interview stage with a group fitness candidate, consider offering the candidate a trial run before officially extending an offer. Add an extra class or two to your schedule, led by a trial instructor – and observed by one of your group fitness staff members. Your staff member can observe how the candidate interacts with class attendees – especially keeping an eye on how he or she responds to new members who might be struggling or have questions. For example, a new member might be unsure of which equipment to select for the class and your group fitness candidate should be friendly, approachable and willing to help.
In addition to your current staff members shadowing trial runs with group fitness candidates, also ask members for feedback on the class. Firsthand feedback from members can go a long way in helping you make the right hiring decision – and keeping your members happy. IHRSA found that while happy fitness clients tell four to five others about a positive experience, dissatisfied customers tend to tell nine to 12 others about a negative experience, so the last thing you want is for members to have a negative experience with a new group fitness instructor. And if you receive positive feedback, you can move forward with background and reference checks, along with any other final steps in the hiring process.
Offering an inclusive environment at your fitness center is just one of many ways to stay competitive in the continuously growing fitness market. For more information on how to build the best team possible at your fitness center, download our eBook, “Overcoming the Fitness Industry’s Top Challenge: Competition,” below.



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