Today's blog post is written by guest author, Sheena Bull. Sheena is a social entrepreneur, personal trainer, and the founder and owner of a full membership gym. Sheena is also the author of a book called "Unleash Your Fitness Freak: It Starts With A Trip To The Gym,” about her experience starting a gym in a small community.
Have you been read about the idea of turning your customers into "raving fans"? Many gym owners and managers focus energy and attention on customer satisfaction, sales strategies, advertising and promotion. However, as a gym owner, you must realize that without a passionate staff, all of your other efforts might be in vain.
Your Employees Are Your Diamonds
Turning your employees into raving fans is one of the most rewarding aspects of owning a business. Not only will your staff be loyal and dedicated to the company, they will also treat customers with care and concern. All the advertising in the world cannot replace the type of connection your staff will have with your customers when they are excited about where they work.
How do you turn your staff into raving fans?
It is actually not that difficult, but it may require a paradigm shift in the way you perceive employees. In the Industrial Age, management was top down – you listened to your superiors without question. Then about 30 years ago, a transformation happened. Society transitioned into the age of the Knowledge Worker, and people were no longer so willing to follow instructions, just because they were told to.
Now work places are run on teamwork, and leaders need to inspire and motivate, not dictate. If you're the type of manager who feels superior to her staff, you may struggle with some of my suggestions. Like learning any new skill, it may feel awkward at first, but soon you'll wonder how you made things work doing anything else.
Give Your Team Opportunities to Celebrate Together
1. Give your staff a reason to jump for joy.
Pick one aspect of your business where you really want to shine, and then focus on excelling in that area. Involve your staff in this decision. If you are already the best at one aspect of the fitness business, like having the best personal trainers, make sure your staff is supporting this vision. Hire the best personal trainers and let them know they are the cream of the crop, and that they will be a good fit. Your employees will be proud knowing that your business is a shining star. This pride will be shared by your customers, who will be proud to recommend your business to their friends.
2. Reward your staff regularly for their hard work.
Don’t make this a once a year staff appreciation dinner, instead, support your employees all year long. Many times it's the little things that count. Bring a coffee to a staff member who can’t get away from their desk. Give a protein bar to the trainer who has been booked for five hours in a row without a break. Find out what each of your employees enjoys, take them out by themselves, and get to know them better.
Celebrate all those moments that matter to human beings, and competition among your staff will be replaced with collaboration.
Teams that Play Together, Stay Together
3. Do fun physical activities together.
Find a hiking trail nearby and get together on a weekend or after work. Or maybe your staff would like to go on a cycling adventure, a yoga retreat, or a fun run? Choose events that encourage team building and not just competition. Plan to eat together during or after these adventures, as that is when the real bonding takes place. Remember the family that plays together: stays together – same for employees.
Collaboration Instead of "Staff Meetings"
4. Take the ‘meeting’ out of staff meetings.
Just the word “meeting” causes many people to switch their brain off. Make your staff get-togethers fun, educational and about them. Your team will be excited to show up if they are going to learn something new, be supported in their opinions, and feel that they are contributing to a successful business.Ask your employees about what they want to learn, and bring in guest speakers who will interest your team.
I've also found that personality tests are a simple and fun way to get to know each other. The Franklin Covey Company is a great place to look for tests and information on working together as a team. Deepak Chopra has great information and quizzes in his numerous books.
5. Don’t make everything about fitness.
This may be counterintuitive, but remember that your members and clients may be reluctant exercisers. If you are only about one thing – sweating and building muscles – it can be tiresome to the average consumer who is not so motivated. Encourage your staff to expand their knowledge base outside of exercise physiology and the newest diet fad. This takes some effort, research, and planning, you'll create an interesting and diverse group of loyal staff along the way.
How do you manage your staff?
Being a good leader is about compassion, building trust, and providing security for your team. Have fun implementing a few or all of my suggestions and watch the magic that will happen between your staff and among your customers.