Affiliate Gym Retention Ideas

Building and leading a team is one of the most difficult aspects of any business. In an industry as personal as fitness, a strong staff is paramount. Your staff, from full-time coaches to front desk specialists, are often the first impression for your athletes and prospects. Beyond that, your staff members have the opportunity to change lives and create massive impact. When considering such importance, a thorough examination of your staffing process is crucial, especially hiring and ongoing development.

Recruiting and Hiring

The hiring process is your gym’s first line of defense in which your culture and long-term strategies are safeguarded. Successful hiring systems usually begin by recruiting highly qualified candidates. These candidates can come from a variety of sources, from athlete referrals to online job boards.

Depending on the position, you may find the most success in recruiting people who are already members of your community. Zen Planner Customer Advocate and box owner Phil Morton outlines this recommendation, “Those members who are passionate about the community often make the best coaches and undoubtedly fit the culture. Our General Manager is one of the best parts about our gym, and it’s because he was already a passionate member of the community.”

Learning and Development

Your gym’s learning and development plan may have two primary components, onboarding and ongoing development. The best way to ensure your new staff members follow operating procedures and understand the culture is to have documented systems in place.

Once your staff members are onboarded, show them you care about their development by investing in continuing education and mentorships. Phil Morton outlines this recommendation in a previous Zen Planner blog, “Every process at our gym is recorded with video explanations and flowcharts. The idea is that anyone could join our team and immediately run the gym using this guide. A thriving box will typically have these documented systems that establish clear expectations. Another common element of successful affiliate gyms is staff development and trust. Many gym owners don’t feel comfortable giving others responsibilities, and we actually struggled with this too. You have to be able to trust other people to do certain tasks.”

Simply put, the ingredients of a winning team are firm hiring practices and a commitment to ongoing development. The overarching theme of these ingredients is unwavering care – care for your customers, your staff members and your community.


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