Any customer-centric business requires an exceptional manager in order to provide the community with exceptional service. You need a club manager who cares for the members, staff, understands the business, and can make wise decisions on their own.
As an owner, assuming this role by yourself increases your odds of success, but you may not always have the availability or prefer to be an off-site owner. One of the appeals of a franchise owned fitness business model is that it’s an investment that doesn’t require you to work on-site full-time overseeing day to day operations.
How can you find a great club manager who will put your business first? How can you find someone who will make decisions similar to yours under stress? Check out the following tips for hiring the best club managers.
Get creative with the job interview process
According to NY Times writer Adam Bryant, after speaking with hundreds of chief executives about the best hiring practices, he’s narrowed down the three basic principles used to avoid common pitfalls in interviews: 1. Be creative. 2. Be challenging. 3. Allow your employees to help.
One approach is to get people out of the office and watch how they interact with people. Take them on a tour of the facility. Notice if they treat people you introduce them to respectfully, regardless of their title. Do they ask questions and pay attention? This will also provide the opportunity to involve your employees and get their feedback. After all, they will be working with this individual on a daily basis and their opinions should matter.
Asking unusual interview questions will help you peel the layers of the candidate’s personality. Interviewees typically come in prepared for standard questions, but it can be helpful to see how they answer surprise questions. Can they think on their feet and hold a conversation? For example, ask the question “What kind of animal would you be and why?” to learn about their personality. For a sales-heavy role, someone who describes themselves as a dominant animal, like a lion, could be a great fit. Conversely, if the role is more service-oriented, someone who describes themselves as a social animal may be a better fit.
As a secondary step in the interview process, you can challenge your potential new leaders by sharing a meal with your top candidates to get even more insight into their personalities. Pay attention to how they treat the servers and people around them. Are they polite? Do they show respect? Can they keep a conversation going with intelligent questions? How they interact with people outside of a work environment will tell you how they will act in the future with members and employees.
Look for these top traits
A great boss not only has the talent and enthusiasm to get the job done, but they connect with and motivate people. They have to stay a step ahead and take responsibility for every aspect of the operation. In the fitness industry, this can mean being able to jump from one task to another and back all day long. Think about all the tasks a club manager has to do on any given day: He or she might have to answer questions about how to properly do a squat, coordinate timely repairs to equipment, keep up with product inventory, generate leads, close sales, train and develop employees, keep the club spotless, deal with customer service concerns, make schedules, payroll, reporting, bookkeeping, and the list goes on.
While you can cover a lot of these aspects of necessary skills in an interview, the main thing you want to do is know they have the right personality to handle that kind of workload with a smile on their face. Entrepreneur.com writer and CEO S. Chris Edmonds classifies the top three traits that make a great boss as follows: 1. A genuine love of people. 2. A servant heart. 3. A commitment to their commitments.
Be willing to invest in the right person
To attract top talent, you must be willing to invest in them — and not just financially. Yes, a competitive salary and motivating bonus structure will play a huge part in both finding and retaining a club manager. However, being willing to invest your time and energy into their success in the role is critical. Set forth the communication expectations from the beginning and follow through. If you have a scheduled check-in, call once a week and make it a priority. Of course, you don’t want someone who is incapable of making a small decision without texting you first, but you also don’t want someone who is scared to reach out and ends up making costly decisions.
Another key is to follow through with your word. If you are expecting this person to not drop the ball for your members and your staff, you need to live up to the same expectation. Finally, showing your support and care goes a long way in what can sometimes be a stressful role.
When you take the time to pick the best possible fit to manage your gyms, then continue to build the relationship and invest in their growth, the end result could be a successful gym you can leave in great hands.