// Stand on principle when hiring staff

In order to build and retain a first class team of staff, you must first be confident about the core values of your business, writes Michelle Adams.

Country music star Aaron Tippin sings, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ This couldn’t be truer in the world of hiring staff. On Average, management spends 70 per cent of its time managing people instead of managing its business. If there were a way to decrease the time required to manage your staff, would you do it? What if all it required was for you to know what you stand for?

Having a deep connection with the core values and mission statement of your business, as well as the culture that you are trying to foster within your company, should be the driving force behind all of your hiring. Why not simply hire individuals who possess all of the knowledge and skills that you require? While that may seem like an immediate solution, the fact is you can always train knowledge and skills, but you can not train someone to have the same passions, beliefs and values as your company.

Here are the nuts and bolts of successful hiring:

  1. Know who you are as a company. Have a well-defined mission and vision statement as well as a set of core values that you are not willing to compromise on.
  2. Have a clearly defined job description for the position you are trying to fill. This will immediately weed out those individuals not willing to go the extra mile for the company.
  3. Ensure that your hiring process reflects the aforementioned statements.
  4. Unless you do it yourself, allocate responsibility for the hiring process to a member of staff who is focused on incorporating your core values, mission and vision statements, required job knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile into job descriptions and recruitment process.
  5. Pre-qualify your applicants. This will save you precious time and money by avoiding interviewing unfit candidates.

Cost associated with hiring is not limited to the actual interview process; it includes everything necessary to get your new-hires up to par and ready to go!

  1. Set them up for success with a comprehensive training program. Be sure they have the knowledge they need to successfully interact with your members, as well as knowing who to go to /where to go for day-to-day needs. A successful first client-trainer interaction can mean the difference between a one-off training session and a life-long client. This has several financial implications on the bottom line, one of which is the cost of hiring. How much money is lost for each of your trainers that completes their in-house training but never makes it to the gym floor – $500-$1000? And the revenue lost from losing a potential client? Endless!
  2. Objectively measure new staff members’ skills and knowledge. This way they will know exactly what they need to improve on in order to successfully complete their training.
  3. Constant and open communication. Trainers need to feel that they can go to anyone for help. We have all heard the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. The same thing holds true for a trainer. Encourage your current trainers to coach or mentor the newest additions to your team. This not only speeds up the ‘getting to know you process’ but also establishes a referral system within the department.
  4. Implement a scheduled review and evaluation of the trainer and their performance. Do not forget to include in this how you (as a department or overall club) can help to improve the trainer. Frame it as a ‘what can we do to make you better?’ session.

So, once you get the right people on your team, how do you keep them there? There are several ways which will work for both you, and your team member. One of the main things you can do is invest in your trainers and allow them opportunities for growth and advancement. The other key method is to offer bonuses and rewards for reaching certain goals. A reward doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary – it can be as simple as a verbal acknowledgement in front of colleagues during team meetings, a trip to a continuing education seminar or convention, or maybe a gift certificate to the movies or a spa. The point is to do something to acknowledge their hard work, because whatever we reward, we get more of. Happy hiring!

Michelle Adams, BS, MPH, CSCS
Originally hailing from western Massachusetts, Michelle has over 12 years experience in personal training. She is a certified strength and conditioning specialist as well as a certified sports performance coach with USA weightlifting. Michelle is also a professional figure athlete, a spokesperson for General Nutrition Centers and currently serves as head of personal training at the renowned Gainesville Health and Fitness Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Club Network • Spring/Summer 2010