Home » Fitli » Fitness Staffing: How to Hire and Retain Stellar Team

Fitness staffing can be tricky but with these effective strategies, you can recruit, retain, and motivate the best talent in the industry, ensuring your fitness business thrives.

According to a recent study by Willis Towers, nearly 61% of employers in North America have trouble retaining their skilled and valued employees. That’s a significant number and calls for some serious improvement in the hiring and retention strategies of businesses. Especially fitness businesses, where many instructors and trainers leave to start a business of their own. The truth is that retention starts from hiring right. 

Hiring staff is a big deal. And it’s not just because you’re looking to expand your business (although that is, of course, a considerable part of it). Your employees are an integral part of every aspect of your business—they’re the ones who help you make all of those dreams come true. Not only do they help you increase revenues but also strengthen customer relationships. 

Does hiring the right person really have a tremendous impact on your business? Why is staffing important? How do you know if the person you’re hiring will be able to grow with your company? And how can you keep them there for years, or even decades?

Well, it’s all about devising your fitness center staffing model to incorporate proven hiring and retention strategies. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Five Strategies for Hiring Stellar Staff

Five Strategies for Retaining Employees

Five Strategies for Hiring Stellar Staff 

The big question is how to hire employees for small business. Here are five strategies that will help you make sure you have the right team in place.


Craft Detailed Job Descriptions

Crafting a detailed and well-structured job description is the first step to hiring the right person. Your job description should be specific in outlining the background, qualifications, experience, and skills that you are looking for in the candidate. This ensures that only those who genuinely fit the criteria will apply, filtering out underqualified or mismatched candidates right from the start. 

You should also list down in detail all the responsibilities of the role, what they’ll be doing and how their work will help the business. By outlining the responsibilities, duties, and expectations of the job, candidates know precisely what will be expected of them. This transparency minimizes the chances of misunderstandings or misalignments down the line.

Use job descriptions that are clear, concise, and compelling. Make sure you also introduce your company culture and values so that the candidate is absolutely clear on what is expected. 

Once an individual is hired, a detailed job description acts as a guide for their initial training and integration into the team. It sets the pace for what they need to learn and achieve in the initial days, ensuring a smoother onboarding process.

Use Multiple Recruitment Resources

Relying on a single method restricts the range of potential candidates. By diversifying recruitment channels, you access a broader and more diverse talent pool, increasing the chances of finding an ideal match. It also speeds up the hiring process. With a wider net, there’s a higher likelihood of quickly finding a candidate who fits the bill, especially crucial if you need to fill a position urgently.  

Some platforms, especially professional networking sites or specialized recruitment agencies, use algorithms or expertise to match job requirements with candidate profiles. This can lead to higher quality matches and streamlined hiring processes.

Recruitment sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Career Builder can help you find qualified candidates who have the exact skills that you are looking for. LinkedIn is also a great recruitment resource. These recruitment platforms also provide insights into your job listings’ performance. By analyzing these metrics across different resources, you can refine your approach and understand where the best candidates are coming from.

Another way of finding the right person is to hop on social media. Search for fitness bloggers, fitness enthusiasts, nutrition coaches, and passionate yogis. Their profile is their portfolio and will tell you more about them than a resume. You will be able to see their skills for yourself, what they stand for, and if their values make them a right cultural fit for your company.

You can also opt for a fitness staffing agency that has a fitness center staffing model. They will also offer advice on managing interviews and other processes like salary negotiations successfully, so you don’t end up with unhappy employees!

Conduct Thorough Interviews

Your detailed job description has attracted the ideal candidate profile but the interview is the real deal. You know the basics about the candidate from the previous screening process but there is much that you still don’t know. Their motivation level, passion for the role, enthusiasm for fitness, long-term aspirations, attitude, and overall personality are a few things that a resume can’t tell you. 

Technical knowledge is essential, but so are soft skills like empathy, communication, and adaptability. By being discerning and asking situation-based questions, you can gauge how a candidate might handle real-world challenges in the gym or studio.

A carefully conducted interview involves discussing the job’s nitty-gritty, ensuring the candidate fully understands and is equipped for their potential role. This clarity reduces future misunderstandings or mismatches. Being discerning also helps in spotting discrepancies between the candidate’s resume and their actual experiences or skills. It ensures that you’re hiring someone genuine and not just a good “on-paper” candidate. 

Make sure that you determine all these things during the interview. It’s always a good idea to prepare the interview questions in advance so that you don’t miss out on anything at the moment.

Prioritize Cultural Fit

Some employers fail to realize the importance of cultural fit and skip this entirely in the interview process. Hiring people who are not the right fit can be detrimental to a business. 

Beyond skills and experience, assess if candidates align with your business’s culture, values, and mission. Conduct behavioral interviews to determine if they’ll mesh well with the existing team and the ethos of your fitness business. If the candidate’s values, work ethic, and personality align with the business’s culture, it ensures better long-term retention and team harmony.

Make sure that the candidate believes in your company’s mission and shares the same work ethic as your other employees. For example, if your company culture promotes flexibility, you must look for candidates who are positive, self-motivated, and believe in teamwork. The right candidate will enhance the work environment but the wrong one will only create disruptions for others.

Don’t Rush the Process

The urgency to fill positions can sometimes lead to hasty hiring decisions. However, a more deliberate, unhurried approach often proves beneficial in the long run. You want to ensure that you’re choosing the right person and not just finalizing a candidate for the sake of filling a vacant position. Do your homework, take your time, and choose someone who’s ideal on all fronts – skills, experience, and personality. 

Great hiring takes a good amount of time and effort. Especially in the fitness sector, it’s crucial to verify claims made by candidates. By not hurrying, you can conduct practical assessments, workshops, or trial sessions, ensuring the candidate possesses the skills they claim.

Background checks and speaking to previous employers or colleagues can offer valuable insights into a candidate’s work ethics, professionalism, and character. This step, often skipped in a rushed process, can be a game-changer in making informed decisions. Not rushing also allows you to plan a robust onboarding process. Investing time in training new hires ensures they integrate seamlessly into your team, contributing effectively from the get-go.

Five Strategies for Retaining Employees

Fitness business owners face many challenges when it comes to keeping their staff happy. Here are five effective strategies that you should incorporate in your fitness center staffing model for retaining employees:

Offer a Good Work Environment

There are many ways to ensure that your employees stay happy and loyal. One of the most effective ways is to provide a good work environment. Creating an atmosphere where employees feel valued, safe, and motivated can significantly impact their job satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty.

A positive work setting with clear communication and manageable workloads, can mitigate stressors, ultimately making your employees feel more fulfilled and less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.

An environment that respects and encourages a healthy work-life balance demonstrates that the company values its employees’ well-being. Such environments often feature flexible work hours, remote working options, and understanding management. When a company is known for its exceptional work culture, it becomes a magnet for top talent, creating a virtuous cycle of attracting and retaining skilled professionals. 

High turnover rates can be expensive due to recruitment, training, and the lost productivity during transition periods. A good work environment, by fostering retention, can save significant costs in the long run.

Don’t Lose Track

While providing a positive and flexible work environment is important, there should also be ground rules and procedures in place for employees. They should be aware of what is expected of them and what results they should produce at the end of the day. This calls for establishing policies that outline daily work activities, modes of communication, monthly goals, paid or non-paid leaves, and compensation. 

These policies also provide a roadmap for how various situations are to be handled. Whether it’s about leave approvals, promotions, or grievance redressal, having a policy in place means there’s a predetermined way to approach these situations, reducing uncertainty.

Clear organizational policies lay the foundation for a consistent, fair, and transparent work environment. Their presence, or absence, can significantly influence employee satisfaction, trust, and, consequently, retention. 

Offer Growth Opportunities

One of the worst things that an employee can experience is being stagnant in their career. They want to know if they can grow their skills or climb to a higher position at your company.

Offer development and advancement opportunities that align with the company’s vision and goals for growth and success over time (like training courses, workshops, or facilitating a fitness certification). Offering growth opportunities signals to employees that the organization is willing to invest in their personal and professional development. This not only boosts morale but also fosters a deeper sense of belonging.

Incorporate Feedback

In a dynamic work environment, employees seek not just remuneration but also personal growth, validation, and avenues to improve. Feedback fulfills these needs, leading to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

Constructive feedback provides employees with insights into their strengths and areas that need improvement. With this knowledge, they can focus on honing specific skills, leading to personal and professional growth.

Regular feedback mechanisms also ensure that potential issues are addressed in real-time rather than festering. Addressing concerns promptly can prevent minor grievances from turning into major reasons for an employee’s departure.

Reward and Recognition

Your fitness center staffing model should also include rewards and appraisals for best-performing employees. Recognition is the most important part of your retention strategy. Your employees want to feel appreciated when they are doing their job well. Always try to recognize the exemplary performance of your employees. This could be in the form of an appraisal, a one-to-one positive feedback meeting, or publicly highlighting their efforts on the office board or your social media page.

Rewarding your employees will make them always perform above the bar and stay with you for years to come.

In Summary

When you’re running a fitness business, it’s tough to keep employees happy. You want them to stay, but the reality is that many trainers would want to start their businesses.

Keeping employees happy is no walk in the park. Employee turnover is one of the biggest challenges for fitness businesses. But retaining employees start from hiring right. Here’s a quick recap of how you can hire and retain a stellar team. 

  • Craft detailed job descriptions outlining candidate requirements and your expectations.
  • Use multiple recruitment resources including social media.
  • Deep deeper during interviews to determine things that otherwise can’t be known through resumes.
  • Make sure that the candidate’s values align with your company culture.
  • Don’t rush the process and take your time selecting the right candidate.
  • Offer a good and positive work environment
  • Establish rules, policies, and procedures to let them know what’s expected of them.
  • Offer development and career growth opportunities.
  • Provide feedback
  • Reward and recognize your employees’ efforts