Graham Melstrand by Graham Melstrand

ACE is working hard to educate health clubs and fitness facilities on the value and potential impact on revenue and member retention of investing in the development of their staffs, far more than has been typical for this industry. We’re familiar with the reluctance – naturally, employers don’t love investing in workforces where turnover is high. Yet the data shows it still makes smart business sense. Touted as a strategic tool with a strong business case by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), investing in staff development offers organizations, including health clubs, the following benefits:

Increased tenure, reduced turnover. According to findings from the 2019 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation and Benefits Report, health clubs have a high turnover rate of 24% on average. To reduce turnover, health clubs can offer staff development opportunities, which keep employees engaged and demonstrate employees are valued. As an added bonus, with less time spent on staff recruitment and onboarding due to lower turnover, health clubs have more time to focus on the strategic growth of their organization.

Enhanced competitive edge. Companies eager to remain competitive should consider using staff development to upskill employees in areas that align with their strategic plans; the same is true for health clubs. For example, if a facility seeks to expand their services to include health coaching, the facility should encourage interested and qualified employees to obtain a health coach certification through the facility’s staff development program.

Attract top job applicants. To attract the best talent, organizations need to show how they outshine other employers. Organizations that offer staff development and educational offerings are vastly more competitive in attracting top talent. This may be particularly true among health clubs; the 2019 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation and Benefits Report reveals that more than 40% of health club employees did not have access to an educational assistance program.

Improved services for customers. Staff who receive regular training and education are better informed. They are aware and understand the latest industry trends and leading research, knowledge that can then be transferred and applied when these employees work with their clients and deliver revenue and other member programs.