How to Empower Your Health Club Managers and Engage Your Employees

You work hard to recruit and hire the best staff for your club. But if you don't have a strategy to engage and empower staff once they're on board, employee retention will suffer.

One of the consistently reported challenges to managing a health club is finding and retaining quality staff—and even more challenging can be hiring effective managers.

If your tireless recruiting has paid off and you now have a promising management team, how do you make sure they stay and grow with you?

The key is empowerment.

Enable Your Health Club Managers to Take Ownership

Empowerment starts with clear communication, continues with nurtured relationships, and carries over to the next generation of your management staff.

Enabling your managers to take a level of ownership of their contributions to your team will allow them to be more motivated, productive, and engaged in your club. As each individual is motivated by different things, it’s important as an owner or senior manager to get to know your managers and what methods of coaching and recognition will lead them to feel most empowered.

During his IHRSA 2016 session, "Strategic Culture: Three Keys to Creating a High-Performance Culture," Rob Lewis of RBS Holdings, LLC said, “Professional development and career progression are among the most important things for employees when looking at jobs.”

Lewis explained that owners and managers often only communicate the end result, when what is more important is to communicate the behaviors that produce that end result.

Communicating your health club’s mission, vision, and values to your managers, and enabling them to pass that along to hourly staff and club members, will keep your club culture alive and thriving.

“Employee engagement is reflective of a good culture,” Lewis said.

Clear Communications Set Employees Up for Success

Another industry leader—Allison Flatley—offered her expertise in keeping your staff engaged in her 2016 IHRSA Institute session, “Staff Hiring, Training, and Retention.”

The IHRSA board member discussed the importance of clearly communicating job responsibilities, what the expectations are, how and when employees will be evaluated, where to find the tools they need to succeed, and how they can overcome obstacles.

Whether you’ve just hired a brand new manager, promoted a stellar employee, or have a seasoned staff of fitness professionals on your management team, these are essential elements to fostering a sense of empowerment. Flatley also suggested using Gallup’s Q12 survey to help assess the level of engagement in your staff and identify areas for improvement.

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Carolynn Jordan

Carolynn Jordan previously served as IHRSA's Member Communication Specialist—a position that developed outreach for IHRSA members to gain knowledge on how to best use their benefits and stay engaged in the IHRSA community.