BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE: 5 STEPS TO BECOMING THE GOOGLE OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY
05March/2015

BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE: 5 STEPS TO BECOMING THE GOOGLE OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY

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BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE: 5 STEPS TO  BECOMING THE GOOGLE OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY

By Nic Monteforte

For four years running, Google has been named the best company to work for by Fortune magazine. Here are five steps from Fitness Business Experts’ Nic Monteforte to develop significant desire among potential employees to help you become the top dog of the fitness industry.


STEP 1: VALUE YOUR PEOPLE – AND SHOW IT!
Google's creative and innovative corporate culture helps its employees thrive. They work hard and they play hard. In the Google culture, it's all about treating people with respect, encouraging them to be their best and supporting their creative development. They are overtly family-focused, providing their employees with flexible working hours as well as additional – and unique – benefits such as on-site medical services, travel insurance and emergency assistance (even during personal trips), additional time off for new parents (with extra spending money) and free legal advice. They encourage freedom and interaction, and their culture reflects a true understanding that a business is only as good as the people in it. In their own words: “It’s all about removing barriers so Googlers [their employees]
can focus on the things they love, both inside and outside of work. We’re constantly searching for unique ways to improve the health and happiness of our Googlers. And it doesn’t stop there – our hope is that, ultimately, you become a better person by working here.”

STEP 2: EMBRACE AND ENCOURAGE A TEAM MENTALITY
For health clubs and fitness businesses, the key to creating a truly desirable workplace starts with having a clear motto and vision. Understand that a successful business does not have to give up on having a purpose in order to make money! The key is to ensure your team understands this. Encourage them all to be creative and put forward their ideas on how the motto and the vision can be achieved. As a leader, you have to be encouraging and receptive to all ideas. You don’t have to take them all on board, of course, but you do have to genuinely be open to hearing what your team suggests. Challenge and develop your staff by introducing all-round roles in the club. This means moving away from the solo roles, such as sales and reception, and moving toward roles that encompass working across all or multiple areas within the club. This strategy ensures variety for your team members, but also allows everyone to feel part of one whole club. Allow and encourage your team to participate in exercise during their work time as this reinforces and demonstrates the fact that fitness is important for everyone.

STEP 3: HAVE A CLEAR AND DISTINCT CULTURE
A strong and unique club culture will build pride among your team members, and this will be directly reflected in how people behave in the workplace. When it comes to recruitment and attracting the right people, a definitive club culture is important because it allows potential recruits to see what they could become a part
of. It also allows you to identify what attributes will and won’t work within your culture and, therefore, interview with these factors in mind. Unfortunately, overhauling a club culture is not an easy task. In order for success, however, it requires you – as owners and leaders – to be really clear on what you want to change and why. The process then needs to be slowly executed through a clear strategy that involves all key stakeholders. There will almost always be push-back from existing team
members, as this is the typical response when people are asked to step outside their comfort zone. In order for your club to truly stand out in this crowded industry you need to develop a culture that makes people talk about your club.


STEP 4: FIND (AND CHOOSE) THE RIGHT PEOPLE – EVERY TIME!
Referrals are always the best place to achieve this. In saying that, many of my most successful employees came from within the member base because they were already advocates of the business. Using employment services that specialise in recruitment for the fitness industry is also a great option. Ideally, clubs should employ a mix of newly qualified fitness professionals and trainers, as well as established individuals who have some degree of experience. This blend will ensure you have the technical experience to support the needs of your member base, along with the eagerness of the new recruits who are often hungry and keen to make a
difference. Without both, your club will be out of balance in meeting the needs of your members. Of course, it can be expensive to employ the wrong staff, so you want to ensure that you hire the right people – every time. One way to do this is to find out if the applicant feels like they have something to prove. For example, did they fail their HSC and therefore want to prove to the world they can be successful? Or did they transform themselves after previously being overweight and now have a desire to help others achieve the same? Are they competitive by nature? Most importantly, did they make you laugh or smile a lot in the interview? These
are the factors you should want to know about, because that level of passion and motivation stems from qualities you cannot teach someone on the job.

STEP 5: UNDERSTAND MONEY IS NOT THE ONLY MOTIVATOR
The truth is, if people feel valued and appreciated then they are far more likely to come on board and to stay for longer. Sure, remuneration plays an important role when attracting or keeping the right people but there are lots of other non-financial strategies that you can provide to employees: miniholidays, technology/gadgets/devices, vouchers and massages – just to name a few. Remuneration is usually more important in senior roles; however, if someone can see the potential to grow within your business then remuneration can often be negotiated. Often personal development programs are an effective way to secure or retain a good employee, particularly when remuneration is a sticking point. A good quality reward structure can also be effective. To get a favourable applicant over the line during the interview stage, one strategy is to provide the applicant with the names and contact details of some of your star team members. This way they can source their own references, direct from the employees. Be sure to word up your team members beforehand so the applicant isn’t contacting them unexpectedly.

About the author: NICOLE MONTEFORTE, BPE (Human Movement)
Nicole is the co-founder of Fitness Business Experts, a company specialising in fitness industry recruitment and helping clubs achieve new levels of success. Nic was the first female director of the world’s largest health club chain – Fitness First. During this time Nic grew the state’s clubs from four to 40, and these 40 NSW clubs (of 350 total clubs worldwide) contributed to 40 per cent of Fitness First’s global profit. In 2010, Nic founded Fit ‘n’ Fast Australia and led the company as
chief operating officer. Here she pioneered a number of industry-changing concepts including offering cheap, no-contract memberships as well as selling membership online and via Facebook. Nic has also been the direct line manager for a staggering percentage of the people who now lead Australia’s most successful fitness companies including Goodlife, Virgin Active, Anytime Fitness and Fitness First. Nicole can be contacted via www.fitnessbusinessexperts.com.au



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