Science of Sports Performance

12 Tips for Managing Employees in a Training Setting

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]I have spent many years working at various gyms across the country, as well as countless time reading business based articles and living the actual experience of working for managers and owners of all types. I have personally worked with dozens of other trainers in similar situations, and have experienced and heard all the issues employees have with their employers. This is a list of things you, as an owner or future owner of a facility, should keep in mind when hiring, managing and maintaining employees.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”1. A Paycheck Isn’t Everything” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Yes, employees work FOR a paycheck. That’s the whole reason they are there, because they need to provide for themselves, their family and lifestyle. But that’s not the only reason. Personal development and experience are huge reasons employees often take jobs in this industry, because they want to learn something they can use at their next position or eventually open their own facility. If you don’t want them to leave, make their job one they love.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”2. Value your employees home-life and time” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]This one is the most under appreciated aspect of managing employees: understand that your employees want time to unwind and be away from the job. Respect that time, keep work related activities confined to the walls of the facility as much as possible. Trainers inherently work long hours, it’s the nature of the industry due to the split openings of other peoples schedules. Try to maximize your employees time at home instead of maximize their face time at the gym. They will be happier and more refreshed, you will get a higher quality trainer, and everyone wins. Side note: employees that want to be home more often are not lazy, understand and respect that their life does not revolve around the facility![/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”3. Value their input on your business” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Your trainers usually spend as much or more time training and handling the service of your facility as you do. If they have input on how the company can improve and ultimately become better and more profitable, allow them the opportunity to voice that with an open mind, and reward them if the feedback results in positive changes to the company.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”4. As you evaluate them, have them evaluate you.” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Employees can give great feedback if given the opportunity. Managers are very quick to point out what their subordinates are doing wrong, but unwilling to look at themselves and where they can personally develop. Do not be a boss thats unwilling to listen to critical feedback, and worse, don’t justify being a poor boss, manager and leader because you write the checks. Value the feedback they give you, it will only help your industry.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”5. Small perks go a long way” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Many gym owners NEVER worked at a private facility. They went straight to opening one themselves and never experienced the grind. Those who did know it’s a tough job being a trainer or strength coach at a gym, and small perks are appreciated beyond words. Buy them lunch one day, throw them a bonus check after a good week, let them go home early to spend time with their family or just refresh for the next day. These small, inexpensive things will go a LONG way towards creating employee happiness and cohesion. It may not positively contribute to the bottom line immediately, but reducing turnover and having energized, motivated trainers ALWAYS contributes too the bottom line over time. You want your employees to work WITH you to create a better company, little things help build that bond.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”6. Empower them to lead, teach and learn” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]One of the biggest mistakes coaches make in teaching others is they want those employees to learn “their methods.” If you are aiming to build replicable robots, this is a great method. If you are trying to build a great coach that can contribute, teach them the underlying concepts of what you are doing. Encourage them to research and try new protocols to become a progressive training company, and even lead a staff teaching session on what they found. If you are doing the same training you did 3 years ago, its time to rethink your philosophy.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”7. Make the job fun, productive and effective, not a grind.” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]This one is not always possible we know that. But don’t require excessive gym time if it can be avoided. Offer to cover a class so they can go home early some day, show you are willing to put the work in as well. Burnout in this industry is a big issue, and one reason is the expectation that trainers work open to close. Break this cycle and figure out your scheduling in a smarter way. And yes, working split shifts burns people out as much as working open to close straight.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”8. View the job from their perspective” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Instead of making a list of job demands and things you want done, view the job from the perspective of the person you are asking to perform those things. Is it possible to do it all with quality results? Are they being compensated fairly for the list of things you are asking for? Are you increasing compensation as their list of job demands grows? Is there a true opportunity for advancement if they do a good job?[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”9. Do not give them reasons to leave your gym for something better, give them reasons to stay.” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]The benefits and perks of your job need to outweigh the benefits of another job or even starting their own facility. Having someone at the gym for 50-60 hours a week plus weekends, while only paying hourly during training sessions or a low salary, as a 1099 with no benefits is quite literally the opposite of giving an employee a reason to stay, beyond a paycheck. And very large percentages of gyms in the country do this! Break the cycle.  Offer a REAL opportunity for advancement, in both title and pay.  If you don’t, someone else will..[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”10. Lead by Example” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Don’t give an employee work you are unwilling to do yourself. Delegation is one thing, dropping junk work onto a subordinate is another.  No explanation needed here.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”11. Do not expect your employees to work as much as you do.” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Expect quality work when they are there, rest and recovery when they are not. An unrested employee cannot give quality training, and your business depends on that. It’s your business; employees ultimately are hired to provide future value for you and your business. Viewing them as a tool to get you where you want, rather than an asset in which you can both benefit from, will ultimately lead to your own personal and business setbacks. If you think having high turnover and unhappy, unproductive employees is a good business model, I implore you to do more research on this topic.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_heading main_heading=”12. If they quit, its you’re fault.” heading_tag=”h4″ alignment=”left” spacer=”no_spacer” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”inset” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″ sub_heading_style=”text-decoration:underline;,font-weight:bold;”][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]This one is a fact, and most people don’t even realize it.

Reasons they might quit:

They got a better offer somewhere else.

Why were they looking for other jobs?

They were working too many hours.

Did you really need an employee there for that many hours?

The pay wasn’t good enough.

Could you have paid more and just didnt want to? Is your current pay structure leading to a high turnover at the position?  Or can you truly not afford more? This industry can be low margin, but you can increase your total value to the employee in other ways besides pay. Some benefits, days off, continuing education budget.  Did you offer a true opportunity for advancement?

In fact, the #1 Reason people quit their jobs is their boss.  Be the guy people WANT to work for, that takes care of their employees and in return gets an energized, motivated person. Not the one who justifies every action, comment and responsibility as “thats what you get paid for”, where employees dread work and go just to collect a check.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]This isn’t to say all employees are perfect.  I have run across many bad trainers, and moving on from them for better ones is completely justified.  With some people, you could give them everything and then some, and they will still be unhappy.  In addition, these are things that should be earned over time, after a level of work and trust has been put in by the trainer.  Giving a guy a day off after two weeks on the job doesn’t make much sense.

But before moving on, find out WHY they are not working out, and if its something you as management can address as a company or leadership flaw.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Steve Olson

Steve Olson is a sports performance coach with a special interest in program design and periodization. He believes training is planning and tracking, and uses many different but effective methods of training for the short and long term development of athletes. He has trained Athletes from youth, high school, collegiate and professional, and utilizes different periodization models, training systems and modalities for each to maximize the athletic return from that athlete. He is also the owner and founder of Excel Training Designs, and can be reached at steveolson2202@gmail.com

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