In the quest for more club membership sales, improving retention and or increasing profit, the fitness industry now clearly understands that hiring the right people for your club is 80 per cent of the battle. We now know that if we do this right then the club will perform well, but if we do it slightly wrong, then chances are we'll face continual frustration with performance and people issues.
In his powerful book Good to Great, author Jim Collins summarized this as one of the key factors in creating a 'great' organization when he said, “Get the right people on the bus, and get them in the right seats.”
To profit from all this insight, you must take action. Unfortunately, hiring right is not like searching for computer software and then using it. It has bigger payoffs than introducing the right software, but it is also harder to implement because there is no 'off the shelf' system a good hire.
However, there are lots of resources to help you create your own system, yet to ensure you continue to hire right, you must track the results of your employees and continue to search out more resources to continually refine your system of recruitment.
Here is a seven step system that has proven successful in attracting the right people:
Advertisement – Ensure that your ad qualifies all potential applicants by providing sufficient information about the job. It should also include qualifications, shifts, skills and compensation.
Method of Application – Empower one of your team to handle the initial enquiries with a series of simple questions. This will give you another perspective on determining if this is the right person. If you can accommodate it, encourage applicants to e-mail their résumés as this can save even more time.
Application Form – Use a comprehensive application form that all applicants complete. In doing so, you will be able to gauge their writing skills, and by asking the same question a number of ways you can determine if the applicant is exaggerating any of their experiences.
Initial Interview – Make the first interview more of a “get to know you” chat. This could be done with the centre owner or manager and you could do it over coffee, on a golf course or even during a workout. Your goal is to determine the type of person they are and their general attitude. Remember, you can teach anyone the skills of the job, but attitude is very difficult to change or train.
Involve Others – To test their specific skills for the role, involve other team members. This is an objective judgment on performance (i.e., they can or cannot do it), use your existing team members to help assess them. They will give you another perspective on your applicants in regard to skill level and attitude. Even more importantly, by involving your team they feel a sense of participation and therefore accountability over the success of the chosen applicant.
Trial Shifts – Always have your applicant come in and try the job out! Give them some specific tasks to do (e.g., have them walk the gym floor and meet 10 members and learn something about each of the members). Give them no other instructions and see if they take the initiative. Also, you can look at their body language when talking with members - are they smiling and do they appear to be warm and welcoming? This is an important part of the process, because it enables you to evaluate them in the actual environment that they will find themselves in.
A Workout – Have one of your personal trainers take your applicant for a high intensity workout. The purpose of this is not to determine how fit they are, but rather to see how they respond under pressure. You might look to see if they complain when under physical stress. Do they listen to instructions when under pressure? Or do they go further and challenge themselves?
By following these simple seven steps, you place your applicant in a number of different settings and environments. In turn, this allows you to determine what your applicant is really like. The key component is to be consistent with all applicants and avoid compromising your business needs.
The bottom line is to hire correctly and your business will prosper.
Justin Tamsett was a health club manager and owner since 1993 and has seen many people change their life through exercise. He is now a small business consultant sharing tools to profitably run small to medium size business and an international presenter at key fitness conferences around the world. He is also a corporate speaker on ensuring work-life balance with an innovative YENO Wellness Quotient. You can go to his blog www.JustinTamsett.com or follow him on Twitter @JTActiveMgmt as he strives to lower the health care costs for Australia!
JT's recommended reading:
Good to great by Jim Collins
Interviewing Skills by Tim Hindle
Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell