How to Keep Great Employees

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Managing turnover is not exactly fun, and it’s certainly not a timesaver. In fact, it’s the opposite.

But in the fitness industry it happens over and over and becomes expected. Many times I’ve walked into my local gym and been greeted with new faces at the front desk and new faces on the floor training. It’s not like walking into new territory necessarily, but the rapport I had with the staff is all gone. Sharing a joke with a familiar face while standing bleary-eyed in a gym at 5am is…well, it’s kind of nice. It’s a good welcome. Furthermore, clients notice when a business can’t hold their people. Seriously. Clients notice.

Most everyone reading this has quit a job. What made you leave? Did you not like the manager, get pay that was a joke, have difficult co-workers? A lot of people can relate to those things. But, let’s dig deeper. What about that one job you really hated to leave but felt you had no choice? What did you need that the job simply did not offer?

So, moving beyond those most-often cited reasons for leaving, we’re going to cover a few ways to hold on to great employees. It might just translate into holding on to good, paying clients. Clients who then won’t have to follow their favorites to their new place of employment at a different gym…

Make employees partners

You don’t have to be on the stock exchange in order to give employees a piece of your company. You can do it simply by listening to their concerns and, better still, ideas. Seeing something they came up with incorporated—doesn’t matter how small— into the business can give people a sense of partnership. A sense that they aren’t just there filling shoes and following pre-existing protocol. They’re helping the business evolve and in doing so, investing themselves and taking ownership.

Help them retain their work/life balance

24499281_sNo one wants their best employees going home thinking, man, there’s got to be more to life than this. But that’s one of the many unflattering thoughts that pop to mind if someone feels they are always at work or that management trivializes the things they value and the non-work-related commitments they have. Flexibility is a varying concept with different possibilities for each business. It’s up to management to figure out different options to be offered like shorter work hours, extended lunch for errands, or maybe even longer hours in exchange for a day off. Those are just a few sample ideas. What might work best is to check in with employees and ask their thoughts on the subject.

Help employees gain applicable new skills

Few people want to simply find a job and stagnate, learn zilch, and never be assigned a new duty. I’ve heard people say that their talents and skills weren’t being used in their current jobs. Each time I heard it, the person was on a current mission to find other employment.

Methods to helping employees grow will vary from business to business. But in finding a way to do this, try starting with taking stock of all the tasks that go into running your business. If you are overwhelmed in an area, that might be your first opportunity to give an employee a chance to step in. Or ask about the clients they work with if they are personal trainers. There might be a chance to start a new fitness class if enough people have expressed interest. You won’t know if you don’t ask!


Tanisha Rule has a BA in English and is a former Mad Dogg-certified Spinning instructor. She taught indoor cycle and boot camp and has now combined her passions as a full-time writer for the health and fitness industries, check out her site at If she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found happily training for an endurance event, likely after having said, “This is my last one for a while,” because there is no finish line; there is only progress.