Attracting and retaining staff for a thriving fitness franchise

The price of staff turnover is high - data shows that on average it costs a company six to nine months of an employee's salary to replace them

Attracting and retaining staff for a thriving fitness franchise

The price of staff turnover is high – data shows that on average it costs a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace them1. Robust recruitment processes ensure high performance, foster innovation, build a positive company culture, strengthen employer branding and minimise recruitment costs. By selecting and retaining the best candidates for the job, franchises gain a competitive advantage in the dynamic and evolving fitness industry. For franchisees, having a stable staff team means less resource is spent on recruitment and initial training. Bill Painter, Director of Development at Snap Fitness, discusses some of the challenges of recruitment in the fitness jobs market and shares his top tips for attracting and retaining staff. 

The key to finding great staff in the current climate

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that whilst the number of job vacancies has fallen since the record high of March 2022, they are still much higher than pre-pandemic2.  On average every candidate for a role is in the process of interviewing for three other roles, making it harder to recruit the best talent. During the recruitment process, candidates can drop out, be unresponsive or miss interviews. 

When there are more job openings than candidates, employers face increased competition to attract and hire top talent. Companies need to differentiate themselves as employers of choice, offer competitive compensation and benefits packages and provide appealing work environments to attract the limited pool of qualified candidates. Despite the availability of jobs, the recruitment process can be lengthy and involve multiple stages, such as screening, interviews, and background checks. Delays in the hiring process can result in candidates accepting offers elsewhere or losing interest, further exacerbating the recruitment challenges.

In a competitive job market, employer branding and reputation become crucial factors in attracting candidates. If a company’s reputation is not favourable or well-known, it can struggle to attract candidates, even when there are more job openings available.

Keeping hold of the stars in your business

Once you have hired great staff, the focus shifts to retaining them. At Snap Fitness, carrying out employee surveys has provided invaluable insight. From this, it has been possible to devise a retention plan for new staters. As with members, we focus on the first 28 days – aiming to complete a comprehensive onboarding process that allows staff to feel equipped with the skills and resources to carry out their role. Below are four key areas to focus on: 

1. Financial – ensuring a competitive salary, benchmarked against similar roles in the industry, with regular salary reviews and a bonus scheme is crucial in a competitive job market. 

2. Education – a comprehensive onboarding plan, including scheduled time for 1-2-1s and training to learn systems and processes, sets employees up for success. Snap Fitness’ online learning platform, Snap Academy, has a catalogue of e-learning courses and downloadable resources plus the option to register for webinar sessions. Offering external training can also help staff retention. Working with a provider to offer discounts to staff looking to upskill themselves means you have a well-trained workforce with a positive approach to continuing their professional development, resulting in retention. 

3. Recognition – while financial recognition is important, acknowledging the skills and potential of your workforce boosts morale. By recognising and encouraging initiative, giving autonomy to lead projects and an opportunity to demonstrate new skills, giving staff increased responsibility and accountability helps to motivate them. With a team keen to succeed, commitment and company loyalty is high. 

4. Benefits and culture – it goes without saying that staff benefits are a key component in staff retention. A competitive holiday package with increased days for long service is a popular benefit. Being aware of what competitors are offering is vital. In our industry, working from home is not always possible, but we are as flexible as we can be. Some administrative tasks, planning and target setting can be done at home, so a scheduled day to work at home each month is productive as well as beneficial for staff. Company culture is a large contributor to staff retention. As well as an end-of-year staff celebration, adding work socials and challenges is a great way to encourage a sense of community. 

If you are thinking of investing in a gym franchise, ask the franchisor to share with you their strategies for staff recruitment and retention. The success of your team dynamic will be one of the key parts that determine your overall growth and success as a business. 

1The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

2Vacancies and jobs in the UK: May 2023, Office for National Statistics

Bill Painter
Bill Painter