Using Talent Management to Overcome the Fitness Industry’s Top Challenges

When it comes to running a successful fitness business, an effective talent management strategy can help you transform your people into a top source of competitive advantage. Your gym’s membership experience is critical for getting long-term commitments – and referrals – from your customers, and employees play a critical role in creating a top experience. 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 personal trainer or group fitness instructor.
Placing the right people in the right roles can help you overcome several key challenges most fitness business owners face today.

Top Challenges Impacting Fitness Center Growth


Increasing Competition

The fitness industry gives consumers countless opportunities to get in shape. The possibilities are endless – from full-service gyms to at-home fitness apps to studios dedicated to yoga, cycling, crossfit and more. Each time a new fitness center opens, it poses a challenge to other fitness centers in the area.

Employee Retention

Not only are fitness centers competing for members in today’s competitive market, but they also face fierce competition for hiring top trainers, group fitness instructors and other employees. With so many fitness centers open in any given local area, top employees have more options to switch jobs for higher pay, more flexible hours and other benefits.

The Low-Cost – or Free – Business Model

To get a leg up on the competition, many fitness centers offer discounted rate and, in some cases, even a free month to get members in the door. But the problem fitness centers end up facing is, some customers who would rather not pay for a gym membership bounce from free membership trial to free membership trial. In the long run, this can cause customer retention and, ultimately, profits to take a hit.

Mobile App Workouts

Not only are there countless competitors and low-cost business models on the market, but mobile fitness apps are also taking a piece of fitness center owners’ profits. Mobile apps enable consumers to skip the gym all together and either work out from the comfort of their own homes, outdoors or on-the-go.

Effective Talent Management Can Set You Apart from the Crowd

Rather than seeing common industry challenges as a threat, fitness center owners and managers can embrace these challenges as an opportunity to improve business operations. In particular, business owners can reevaluate their talent management strategy to improve both the customer and employee experience.

Build a Great Employment Brand

With so much competition for employees and customers, building out your employment brand is a critical part of your talent management strategy. And one of the key tools for showcasing your employment brand is your career site.
A compelling career site can help you attract top candidates at your fitness center, as hiring is just as much about getting candidates excited about working for you as it is about candidates discussing why they should be hired. The most engaged candidates tend to apply to jobs through career sites – 30% of applicants from our customers’ career sites are quality hires, the highest percentage across all sources. On your career site, highlight the benefits of working for your fitness center, including company culture, benefits, opportunities for continued training and learning – such as reimbursements for advanced certification – and employee testimonials. A strong employment brand and comprehensive list of benefits can lead to both strong hires and long-term employee retention.
In addition to helping you hire your best team, a top-notch employment brand and career site can help you attract new customers at your fitness center. When potential customers are researching new fitness centers to join and see you invest time in hiring the best personal trainers and group fitness, they’ll be more inclined to sign up for a membership with you over the competition.

Hire Top Candidates Quickly

An efficient hiring and talent management process can help your fitness center hire and onboard top candidates quickly. Follow an efficient, easily repeatable hiring process so candidates don’t get stuck waiting in certain hiring steps – or accept jobs from the competition while they’re waiting for you to move forward. Using a proven hiring process, you can review all applicants in a timely manner, interviews are scheduled within a reasonable window and no other steps in the process – such as testing, background and reference checks – are missed.

Once employees are hired, continue running all things talent management-related efficiently, starting with digital onboarding before each employee’s first day. This will ensure each employee has a productive first day immediately helping customers at your fitness center, rather than spending hours of administrative time completing HR tasks.

Encourage Customer Retention

Overcome the challenges associated with increasing competition, low-cost memberships and mobile app workouts by giving your customers a reason to want to continue their memberships for the long haul. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), 68 percent of gym members have stopped working with a personal trainer because of a poor experience, meaning hiring the best team possible should be one of your top priorities. When your fitness center is equipped with great employees, customers will get excited about coming in for their next personal training session or group fitness class. The more your employees create a compelling customer experience, the less likely your members will be to join another fitness center or opt for a mobile app instead.

Always Have Open Positions

Another way to ensure you always have top talent at your fitness center is to keep a steady stream of jobs posted on your website. Doing so can help you capture passive candidates and avoid the scramble that tends to happen when any business needs to fill an open role.



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