Functional Training Zones

How to on-board your new trainers to ensure they understand your business culture

On-boarding new trainers takes time and resources, but it is essential to scaling quality and developing a cohesive organizational culture. As a studio owner, you know that high staff turnover leads to attrition of clients and increased costs in new employee acquisitions. More importantly, however, your organization’s reputation and brand is diluted when the client experience is inconsistent because of either high turnover or staff that is not unified around a clear vision.

According Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of Linked-in, “A strong culture is critical to companies that hope to scale, but truly strong company cultures emerge only when every employee feels that they personally own the culture.” Reid believes that a strong company culture is not authority, but a true articulation of how your employees work at their best, grounded in a shared mission. It should be understood and built by everyone and that development should begin in the earliest days of your business. How do you lay the foundation for that culture in your on-boarding process?

Onboarding best practices should include: identifying and communicating company values, immersing new hires in your community, and nurturing behaviors from staff that prioritize your organization’s well-being over individual interests.

Successful onboarding requires first clearly communicating your organization’s mission, vision, and values throughout the hiring process and orientation and in all company literature. Beyond just teaching the technical guidelines and studio methods, the orientation should paint the broader picture of what the organization stands for. It should not just inform but excite and motivate new hires to embrace the opportunities in front of them. In order to achieve this, it is essential that leadership not only deeply understand the principles and values of their organization, but be able to communicate them in a way that inspires.

Just as clients won’t stay simply because they love you; your employees won’t stay just because they admire you. Retaining both clients and staff long term requires building a strong and cohesive community that is clearly defined by you, but has a life of its own. This is especially important if you plan to scale your business. To create such a community and ensure its resilience, leadership must intentionally lay the framework and cultivate it through systems and strategic practices. These should include welcoming new staff into the team, introducing them to clients, and ensuring they are fully integrated as a part of the whole. Dependable team members versed in your culture who sense that they play a role in something larger will enable your business to thrive.

Throughout employment, it is vital to continue the indoctrination of staff into company culture. Particularly important is to identify and encourage the decisions and behaviors that place the good of the organization as top priority. Remember that people are incentivized not by what we say or what we do, but by what we reward. As an organizational leader, take time to evaluate the behavior that you are encouraging in staff and ensure that the rewards you give are aligned with the behaviors you want to foster. For example, if you want to encourage a culture where continued education and learning is highly valued, reward staff with opportunities to enhance their skills and improve their trade. If you want to encourage entrepreneurial spirit, reward staff with the opportunity to lead new initiatives and projects.  While many companies offer standard gifts in services or bonuses, this can be a unique opportunity to create rewards that reinforce the mission of your organization rather than give mere generic tokens of appreciation.

It’s not always easy to hold true to your values when dealing with staffing needs or a perceived crisis. The temptation to quickly fill a position or keep a wrong fit can be strong, but those short-term gains can lead to big losses for not just your company, but the vision you are striving toward.  



About the Author

Elisabeth Kristof and Lee Vallely are owners of RedBird Fitness LLC. RedBird is a movement education method based on 35-years-experience in the industry and includes a premier fitness studio in downtown Austin, a national Pilates teacher training program and an online platform RedBird’s distinct, science-based methodology emphasizes precision movement, proper alignment and a deep mind-body connection. Women and men who immerse themselves in the RedBird method grow progressively leaner, stronger, more agile – and even more courageous – as their commitment deepens. To learn more about our programs, visit Lee and Elisabeth are also content contributors for the Association of Fitness Studios.