// Who is responsible for the quality of your staff?

Findings from the 2010 AFIS 

Who is responsible for the quality of your staff?

The 2010 Australian Fitness Industry Survey produced by Ezypay provides club owners and managers of Australian fitness clubs with insights into club operations, staffi ng, sales, marketing and fi nance along with the thoughts, feelings and perceptions of the members of their clubs.

In this series of articles, a panel of leading industry professionals discuss some of the major outcomes from this year’s survey results. The survey outcomes showed that over 48 per cent of club owners/managers found finding quality staff to be an issue of concern.

The 2010 AFIS expert panel included;

Grant Gamble (GG) • Owner – Bodywise
Justin Wilshaw (JW) • CEO – Contours
Gayle Brimble (GB) • Training Team Captain – Australian Institute Fitness
Megan Craw  (MC) • Business Manager – Christchurch City Council, NZ
Jamie Hayes (JH) • Managing Director – Healthy Inspirations
Edel Kilmartin (EK) • Director of Operations – Curves
Justin Tamsett (JT • Managing Director – Active Management
Simon Hall (SH) • CEO - Marketing Manager – Ezypay
Celeste Kirby-Brown (CKB) • Sales & Marketing Director – Ezypay

GG I personally believe the quality of staff is the responsibility of club owners and managers. I think the RTOs have a responsibility to produce the best candidate possible, but as I see it I’m looking to hire on four principles – attitude, character, personality and emotional intelligence. They are the four things I can’t change. I can help refi ne their skills as a PT and a membership consultant, but it’s the hiring cycle where the problem lies; a lot of people are hiring out of desperation – it’s driven by the ‘burn and churn’ mentality.

SH When working for the YMCA NZ we operated a more consistent approach to membership sales over the year. This resulted in a number of membership consultants developing their skills and experience and not burning out. This eventually saw them working their way into other positions and two are now club managers.

GB At the Institute we engage with ‘career partners’ – a selection of clubs. One of the expectations they have is that someone is going to come fresh from a course and be a great PT. The reality is, as an RTO there is only so much we can do; someone can miss sessions or arrive late, but if they sit that fi nal exam and are competent at a base level we have to issue a certifi cate. The industry needs to have an approach of hiring on not only qualifi cations, but attitude and personality as well.

EK We advise our franchisees to employ based on pride, passion and personality and to then empower them through training. We have our own quality training within the Curves University which all our staff are required to attend. They must attain this level before they are placed in front of a member.

JW We are taking our staff down a more traditional approach, but all our staff members are required to have a Certifi cate III in Fitness. We counsel our franchisees and tell them that while it is tough to fi nd quality staff, it is worth going through the pain to find people with all the correct attributes. Then it’s totally the club’s responsibility to motivate, to develop, to train them and to keep hold of those quality staff.

JH At Healthy Inspirations our focus is weight loss, and the Certificate III just doesn’t cover it. We have our own training, which at the moment doesn’t require them to have a Cert III or Cert IV. I think globally the challenge of fi nding good staff can be looked at in reverse with staff finding a good manager.

JT The majority of owners don’t have any human resources background – and clubs need that now more than ever. So, what can we do to improve? We need the structure, education and management tools to manage people and manage HR.

GG I think one of the big problems is the PT side of things; the employed versus the contracted system. I’ve changed from contract trainers to employed trainers so I have more control. I can mandate that they attend training and follow protocol. I think the number of contracted trainers does cause a whole lot of problems and is a big pressure point in clubs.

GB That’s why you find a lot of long term ‘employees’ changing careers and training to become personal trainers. They come into the industry and say ‘I’m not earning as much but, man, I’m enjoying my life’. A lot of Y generation, however, are coming in and saying ‘I want this, I want that, I want it now and I want a massive pay increase’ – their expectations are not the reality of what a business can provide. They then find it too hard and go onto something else.


2010 AFIS
The 2010 Australian Fitness Industry Survey discussion series covers critical fitness topics including, staff quality, social media, membership fees, retention and growth and the concerns around membership contracts. To see this article in full and view the full series go to www.fitnesssurvey.com.autnesssurvey.com.au

• PP54-55