I’d been asked recently, “What are your thoughts on ways that I can improve the personal training department in my club’s business”? I took what I know from my experiences, and then I asked a colleague (Charles DeFrancesco, NFPT’s Director of Continuing Education and longtime club owner) what he could add to the list of suggested emphasis for the club owner/manager. Here’s some of the few that we came up with:
Start with a framework for trainer standards
Be clear in what you expect from your staff and trainers. What do you expect in terms of education and experience? This will most certainly vary from one club to the next. But establish the framework. Stick with it and build on it. I don’t believe that all trainers should be certified by one company or another. In fact, I think that would be very limiting in the bigger picture. But, if you say that your trainer should be certified, than do the work to assure that they are.
As a club owner, you are almost as responsible for this as the trainer in your club is. Be diligent about it. From my vantage point, I see the impending risk and possible outcome for clubs that don’t verify and don’t assure the maintenance of the trainer’s certifications. Now of course I’m going to speak in the context of certification on this point, it comes natural to me – but don’t let that in itself be limiting to the bigger message. In all things business you should set the expectations and hold others (and yourself) accountable to those expectations.
Provide in-house education
This will attract serious employees and can even provide a source of profit from employee hiring. If you’re running education classes for your trainers than it says that you mean business. It says that you care about the professional development and continuous improvement of your trainers. This may even assist them with the CECs that they need to maintain their certs. So, not only are you keeping yourself and others “sharp” and helping them to grow, you’re assisting cert maintenance efforts. AND you’re attracting members who love to see that you are more than a gym. You’re an education center! A win-win situation for all!
Don’t sell your training staff short
Pay your people what they’re worth. Pay them well and they’ll want to stay. There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the biggest costs of doing business in clubs is the cost of turnover. It’s just too expensive to keep turning over and training new employees. You may not see the upfront expense in all that turnover like you would with an immediate increase in pay. But in the long term, back-end expense of consistently playing catch up with new employees gets costly over time. Soon enough the expense will surpass the cost of just paying your people well to begin with.
These are just a few ways that we believe you will serve yourself, your staff and your members well. Let us know if you implement these and tell us how they work out!