How to Manage Your Instructors' Emerging Talent Brands

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One of the main things that draw people to your fitness club is the awesome people who work there! An excellent instructor can quickly grow a dedicated following with diehard class attendees. So how do you manage your talent and their brand? Follow these tips for talent management in your club to keep happy members and to maintain happy instructors who stick around for the long haul.

What is talent management?

Talent management can be described as the complete scope of processes required to attract, develop, and retain the best talent. When it comes to fitness instructors, talent management is critical in order to keep the best instructors teaching classes at your health club and not your competitor’s. 
Think of these important employees as local celebrities within your gym or studio. Their name associated with a certain type of class can draw folks to your facility like flies to honey. However, it’s crucial to maintain a fair sense of perspective with even your most talented employees. If you do risk losing someone because they refuse to follow your policies and you are forced to make a decision for the overall good of the business, you will recover with a replacement. 

Talent management strategies

When considering how to attract and retain the highest performing employees, the first step is to develop a strategy. To get the ball rolling, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the goals and aspirations of our organization?
  2. How can we align our company goals with our individual staff goals?
  3. Are we a reputable company known as a great place to work? If not, what can we do to build this reputation?
  4. Are all of our policies as HR-friendly as possible?
  5. What do we have or can we offer over the competition?
  6. What metrics can we track to determine our success?

Talent management tracking

In order to track your success in talent management, you can break it down to a few key performance indicators. One example of five pillars to include in your talent management dashboard, according to digital HR company AIHR Digital, includes recruitment, performance, succession planning, learning and development, and compensation management. This reporting system provides an overview of your talent pipeline, beginning with recruitment. You can use this to analyze employee performance, your own training systems, and ensure you are providing competitive compensation. 

Tips for talent management

Recruit top talent

What does your recruitment process look like? In order to recruit top talent, you need to be willing to post in the most relevant areas and use the best sites for paid job posts. Having a competitive compensation plan is also a large part of attracting the best talent, but of course, you have to make sure you can support the payroll numbers.

Have a thorough hiring process

One way to ensure your talent is a match for your health club before they even start is to have a thorough and consistent hiring process. After reviewing applications and resumes, phone screenings are a great start. These should be followed by an in-person interview, and a second in-person interview with another leader figure. It can feel tedious to check references, but this is a crucial step. It can clue you into what type of employee you will be getting in actuality versus how they look on paper or present themselves in an interview.

Train and develop

Even instructors who have been teaching for years need thorough on the job training. Each club has different processes and systems that need to be taught and reviewed until they can be tested and pass off on all the details. Other aspects that require training include how to specifically handle member concerns if they come up in class, when and how to deliver important announcements, and any follow-up or outreach programs that are expected. Coaching and relationship building with the manager is another key component of development.

Engage and retain

Ongoing engagement from management to employees is the key to long term job success. Conversely, regular turnover is one of the quickest ways to create a bad reputation for a fitness business. Engagement should include regularly scheduled one-on-one coaching sessions or evaluations, and a daily open line of communication between each employee and their respective supervisor. Team leader meetings can also help guarantee that ongoing engagement occurs between upper management and department leaders.

Align branding (between company brand and individual brands)

Part of managing emerging talent brands is to connect with the individual and make sure your brands align. For example, an instructor may be known for a certain format of spin class, but having some required consistency from class to class will allow for an overall company brand to stand out as well. Types of music may vary from instructor to instructor, but members should feel they are getting a comparable workout with the same level of help and attentiveness by the instructor as well as the same class length.
The most important branding to match is customer service components. Teach your instructors exactly what you expect when it comes to their engagement with members, including expressing support to the company policies. Imagine how bad it would look if an instructor complained to their class attendees about your studio policies, instead of backing them and helping to alleviate any concerns.

Have a game plan for success and ongoing communication

Set forth expectations from the beginning. Have a system setup that allows for open communication between instructors and management, with consistent checks and balances placed. Always err on the side of over-communication, rather than under. This provides a written record, which often eliminates confusion or misunderstandings before they happen.
Managing great people comes with great responsibility! Following these steps will put you on track to solidifying long-lasting relationships with top talent to support membership growth.