Friday, 28 November 2008

State of the Industry – Instructors

Many people in the fitness industry recognise that one of the major issues is the low remuneration and recognition of instructors. Yet only a few seem to be doing anything about it.

Sure, instructors need more money, but in a vocational profession, they also need more fulfilment, and to make a difference. And if they can prove that they are making a difference in people’s fitness and in their club’s member retention, more recognition and money will come along.

An Instructor’s Epiphany – Rob’s story
At the start of this year I resolved to take control of my own future and to really try to help more members at our club to be more active, more often.

After muddling through a couple of spreadsheets, I built a list of 100 members who I knew well, and noted their last visit date. I wanted to try to make sure 80% of them had always visited the club in the last three weeks. I would see how the numbers looked every 2 weeks, and get in touch with the people who were in my danger list. Every time I exceeded the 80%, I’d add a few more names to my spreadsheet, a mix of new joiners and other members that I knew. Before long I was keeping an eye on over 200 members.

The gym manager (who has worked here the longest) wasn’t too bothered about the numbers or the fact that I was making a real difference to members returning to the club. Being a naturally outgoing person, I find it easy to connect with the members; after all, they pay my (meagre) salary. If you always say “Hi” when you see people in the club, it’s easy to call them or e-mail when they’re not coming and ask what they’re doing, or when they’re coming next.

A couple of the other instructors saw what I was doing, and started copying me, which was great, because their members noticed and liked it too. And while my direct boss still wasn’t interested, the operations manager found out what I was doing, and now I’m being promoted to gym manager, and my old boss is looking for a new job.

Our club is more successful, members are fitter and more motivated, I have more responsibility, and I’m earning more. Which is nice all round, I think!

It may be that some instructors need a little coaching to get this model to work, and some gym managers will no doubt need a little help looking through the data, but these are relatively small hurdles in the grand scheme of things.

*More People, More Active, More Often – the FIA mantra

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