From our Fitness Founders series, Mehdi Elaichouni of Carpe Diem Jiu Jitsu Singapore shares his rationale for his staff mix.
The daily pace of operating a new gym can range from slow to hectic. As your business grows, you could suddenly realize that the daily workload has become too much for one or two people to manage. Some of the signs that you need to start hiring are:
- Feeling constantly overworked
- A drop in work quality
- Loss of passion for the business
- Spending too much on daily repetitive tasks
You might even decide to hire staff to run daily operations before you open, freeing you up to manage the business. Now, the question is whether to hire full-time or part-time staff.
There is no official definition for full or part-time staff, but a good gauge would be that part-timers work less than 30 hours a week while full timers work between 30-50 hours a week.
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- Full-time gym staff as dedicated investments
- Part-time gym staff for a lean but efficient workforce
- Assemble a hybrid team
- Keep an eye open for talent
1. Full-time gym staff as dedicated investments
Gym owners perceive full-time staff as more loyal and dedicated, because they usually plan to be working with you for a longer time. This means that you can invest in training them to upgrade their skills and capabilities. It will also be easy to schedule shifts and assign tasks since everyone holds the same hours. On the flip side, full-time staff can be a big cost on the business if you don’t actually need many hours from one person. It also removes flexibility when it comes to scheduling classes.
2. Part-time gym staff for a lean but efficient workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic and great resignation has caused a massive growth in the gig economy. Gig workers have more job fulfillment, time to pursue their passions, and enjoy work-life balance. This growth also provides a pool of flexible talent to business owners. It is less expensive to pay a part-time staff member for fewer hours of work, which will make it more affordable to hire more experienced professionals who can get the work done better and faster. Hiring part-time staff is a great option when you need a lean but efficient workforce. However scheduling can be a logistical nightmare. There is a worry that part-timers may be less dedicated, and could also be working in other gyms. This can be overcome as you build up trust and respect within the part-timer team.
3. Assemble a hybrid team
I started Carpe Diem with one full-time operations staff and a portfolio of part-time coaches that brought a variety of Jiu-Jitsu styles to our class curriculum. As the business grew, I brought on a second full-time operations staff to share the workload and expand our capabilities. The plan is to convert part-time staff to full-time as they start meeting full-time hours. It is more cost effective for the business, but you will also need to convince them to take on a full-time role. No matter what type of staff you decide to hire, keep in mind that you should have a staff retention strategy to keep turnover at a minimum.
4. Keep an eye open for talent
Great jobs are difficult to come by, so is great talent. Always be on the lookout for talent, especially once your business is profitable. If you meet a unicorn that could bring massive benefits to your gym, you can afford to make a small investment in the hire. Start by giving them one class a week to teach, or a few hours getting involved in the gym. This prepares your business for expansion, and also benefits your existing team with someone to learn from.
Consider your needs and budget when staffing up. If you’re unsure of the number of hours a job takes to complete, start with part-time staff. As the hours get close to a full-time role, convert a suitable staff member. Try to keep a good sized part-timer portfolio so you can elevate people to take on bigger responsibilities when needed.