Here at Zen Planner, we are proud of our culture. In fact, we thrive off the fact that we are a team made up of unique and passionate individuals, surrounding each other with positivity and goal setting to achieve all that we set out to do in this life. Yes, we’ve been ranked on numerous lists of best companies to work for. Sometimes, our CEO rides his mountain bike through the office, and there’s never a shortage of puppies running around to put a smile on your face. It’s safe to say that this culture we’ve created is alive and well.
But creating culture doesn’t just exist for corporations and office jobs. Your culture is your brand, no matter what type of business you operate.
And this article isn’t about us; it’s about you.
Creating a culture that embraces your beliefs, values, and goals, applies as much to your clients as it does to your employees. To create a culture is to create a physical and mental environment of like-minded individuals who align with your goals as a business owner.
As a former sales rep, and current onboarding coach, I often hear business owners express their concerns for changing something within their business. Maybe they know change needs to happen, maybe not, but mostly they are afraid of the process. They’re afraid that their customers won’t like these changes. But what if we can make adjustments for improvement? To get to the end goal of creating the space you’ve always imagined, accompanied by the attitudes to go along with it?
Culture is the core of how we function; surround yourself with negative thoughts and you will probably think that way too. Surround yourself with motivation and you’ll probably work harder. Surround yourself with positive thoughts and you’ll probably start to feel that anything is possible.
Let’s talk about improving and maintaining the culture in your workplace.
1. In three words, how do you sum up your business?
What does your organization represent and stand for? Beyond getting a good sweat on — how does your gym/studio/school plan to help change people’s lives? Authentic values that support your beliefs and business purposes, also give people something to identify with when choosing from about a million options of finding the right workout facility.
2. Your staff – do they represent these beliefs and core values?
When your employees stand by these values, there’s less need to micromanage, more room for creativity and intrinsic instincts to get the job done. Make your team feel valued with perks and fun offsites – if they enjoy where they work, there will likely be feelings of reciprocity throughout the facility to both you, and your members, making everyone feel appreciated. Remember, as the boss, you have the ability to set the example for your team.
3. How do you show off your culture and put it into action?
Do you just talk about it or do you take action to enforce this culture? No matter what type of facility you own, I think we can all agree that one of the goals is to make it a place where people want to spend time and train at.
- One of my favorite things about the gym I go to is the sense of purpose and support. There’s a “goal chalkboard” for everyone to write on – a simple reminder when working out, and a sense of accomplishment when completed. Some of these goals include competing in an athletic competition, and some of them include just being able to sit Indian-style. Support everyone’s goals no matter their level of fitness.
- They know my name. All of them. The owners, the staff, the other members. I am welcomed when I walk through the door. I am asked about my weekend, my workday, and feel as though I really do belong to this gym. Personal touches go a long, long, long way in this industry.
- Show that you care. Ask for customer feedback, plan with your team about what could be improved and what you should maintain. Implement changes to show your members and staff that you’re listening and what they have to contribute is important to you in creating the best business possible.
4. It goes beyond the workout
Perks, while great, only go so far with staff. Create a sense of community and friendships within your space to make everyone feel like they’re a part of something more. Events are a great place to start. Holiday parties, summer BBQ’s, and even baby showers with funny “competitions” to break the ice (ex: men completing an obstacle course with a watermelon Saran Wrapped to their stomachs at the baby shower!) Live by a body of water? Set up a group rate for paddle boarding, pick a date, a meeting spot and an RSVP date. Over time, members will get to know members, staff will get to know members, and before you know it, you’ll have created a little family of gym-goers.
Everyone wants to be a part of something in life. When culture exists, community exists and trust exists. These things will be far superior to any standards because no matter what problems arise (which unfortunately, will exist in all businesses), culture will withstand the test of time and problem-solve far better than any set of rules and processes. A great culture will attract the best employees (Zen Planner can attest!), increase retention rates of members and staff and improve performance of employees, and even improve member’s training efforts because they enjoy being a part of your culture.
Start with small changes, and improve greatly. “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon
Now that you have actionable ways to improve staff retention, get ideas on how you can better improve member retention by addressing churn warnings signs. Get your copy of our free guide, Member Churn Prevention & Warnings Signs.
Zen Planner is a management and billing software for boutique fitness businesses.
We help gym, school, and studio owners streamline their day-to-day tasks so they can get back to doing what they love — helping their members. Enjoy all the features you need to manage your fitness business, including robust reporting dashboards, automated payment processing, skills and belt tracking, attendance history, and online retail.