It’s a great feeling to hire a new yoga teacher. You’re excited, he or she is excited, the students love the new classes and everything is going great.
And all of a sudden, your teacher decides to leave.
This isn’t uncommon at yoga studios, where teacher turnover is can be fairly high. Teachers tend to work at numerous studios and might leave yours if they get a class that offers more money or is closer to home. When they’re connected to multiple studios, it’s hard to get them to develop a special allegiance to yours.
There are lots of yoga teachers out there, but the great ones are harder to come by. Did you know that two percent of yoga teachers have been practicing yoga for less than a year, while 25 percent of them have only been practicing for one to two years? When you find them, it’s important to hold on to them.
Here are four ways to retain your best teachers at your yoga studio.
Incentives for Longevity
You could offer a raise when the teacher has been with you for six months, again at a year and again every year after that. If the budget doesn’t allow for a raise that would be especially enticing, you could consider some of these other incentives:
- Discount memberships for a friend or family member
- Gift cards to local or online businesses
- Free yoga clothes, mats or accessories from your studio shop every six months
Reward long-standing teachers with the first choice of class times and formats. Give them the first opportunity to teach special workshops.
After teachers have been with you for a certain length of time, you can also give them other opportunities to earn, perhaps with a percentage of each membership they refer.
Free or Discounted Continuing Education
Invest in your teachers so they’ll stay invested in you. More than 90 percent of yoga teachers are always interested in attending additional training programs, retreats and classes. This could mean paying part of their fees for a workshop or specialty yoga certification, like pre-natal yoga or yoga for children. You could also offer to reimburse the entire cost if they teach the class at your studio for a year after the training.
If it’s an expensive training, you might offer to reimburse a percentage of the cost every few years. They pay for the training up front on their own, and after a year of teaching the class for you, you pay them 10 percent back. After two years, give them another 20 percent. You set your own limits or guidelines according to what the studio can afford.
Form Partnerships with Local Businesses
This is an easy way to offer perks you don’t have to pay for. For example, you could make an agreement with a local dentist: the dentist’s employees get a free membership to your yoga studio, and your teachers get free cleanings once every six months. This helps both businesses, and it adds up to a good financial savings for your teachers.
You could work out something similar with a wide variety of businesses in exchange for free or heavily discounted memberships. Think about what your teachers need that they’re currently having to pay for: accountants, massage therapists, child care, chiropractic care, cleaning services and more
Get to Know Your Teachers
This seems almost too easy, but it goes a long way. Teachers want to feel valued and welcomed as much as your members do. Send them birthday cards and little gifts. Tell them “thank you” on a regular basis. If a member compliments a teacher to you, make sure you share that with the teacher.
Yoga teachers are usually independent contractors that you might only see a couple of times a week, but you still have the opportunity to be a good boss. Listen to their concerns, back them up when they make a decision (and if you disagree with the decision, speak to them about it later in private) and lead by example. Care about your teachers, and your teachers will care about you and your studio, maybe even enough to stay with you for the long haul.
Teacher retention can have a big impact on student retention as well. For additional retention tips, get your free copy of our guide, Five Simple Ways to Improve Student Retention.