Recently brand and insights firm Club Intel published a study where they came up with an interesting concept to describe the kind of service you need to offer as a fitness business owner. The study, entitled The Peril, Promise and Reality of The Fitness Industry, looked at the effect the pandemic has had on the industry and its future direction.
In their predictions for the future of the industry, among other things, is the concept of the “Digital Twin.” Dystopian as this may sound, it’s actually quite a smart and very relevant description of where the industry needs to go.
So what does it mean?
Basically, “The Digital Twin” is a digital replica of a physical object or system. For a fitness business, this means the digital replica of your brick and mortar offering. By offering a package that allows members to get the results they desire anytime, anywhere, fitness business owners have a far better chance of success in this current moment.
However, to deliver this effectively, you need the right team in place. Before we get into how you should hire and who you should hire, let’s take a closer look at why you should hire.
Skip ahead to:
- You Need to Be "Anytime, Anywhere"
- 3 Areas You Need to Get Right In Your Hiring Process
- 4 Types of Gym Employees Who Will Power Your Hybrid Success
You Need to Be “Anytime, Anywhere”
There are two key reasons why you need to be “Anytime, Anywhere.” The first is about making sure your business is ready for whatever may come in the near future and beyond. And the second is about competing in a transformed industry that is highly competitive.
Future Proof Your Business
The reality is lockdowns are going to happen again and again and again until a global vaccine arrives. To counteract this, you need to make sure your business is ready for anything that comes down the line – be it a lockdown, another globe stalling pandemic, or whatever else 2020 wants through at us.
One of the real key takeaways from our report on the impact of COVID-19 on the fitness industry was that gyms and studios need to be aware of the industry shift and be ready to combine both onsite and online into their offering. The convenience of streaming workouts at home can no longer be denied.
For example, Hong Kong is a particularly interesting snapshot of where the industry is headed shortly. As you can see from the graph, online bookings were much stronger when a second lockdown occurred in July of this year. They were ready for this and were able to continue to deliver a service despite the restrictions – you need to be prepared too.
Compete in a Highly Competitive Market
The American magazine The Atlantic has been publishing a fascinating series in recent months. Entitled Uncharted, it looks at the world we have left behind due to the pandemic, and one particular entry into the series looked at how fitness has been changed forever due to COVID-19.
One of the most notable points in the article is when the writer looks at the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the transition to digital fitness. The “haves” are the venture capital-funded fitness empires of Peloton and Equinox, while the “have-nots” are the scrappy, upstart local operators who are using Zoom and other technologies the best they can.
This article showed that higher-end fitness enterprises can now extend their reach worldwide with well-produced and engaging content. According to the Atlantic article, Equinox, which owns Soulcycle among others, launched Variis, a multidisciplinary digital fitness app that hosts “dynamic, multi-camera shots and concert-grade lighting.”
The lesson to be learned is that the market is competitive, so it’s essential to have a hybrid offering that will compete and hire the right team to deliver it.
3 Areas You Need to Get Right In Your Hiring Process
A big challenge for any business owner in any industry is hiring a person who has the skills you need and hiring a person who will fit into your team smoothly. There will always be a case when a new hire doesn’t work out. Recent research shows that 28% of new hires leave within the first 90 days.
So to make sure that you get the right candidate who suits your team and crucially your team suits them, here are three areas you need to get right in the hiring process.
Write an Eye-Catching Job Post – That Makes Your Values Clear
The way we hire people has changed a lot in recent years, primarily due to the internet. There has been a rapid increase in job board companies in the past couple of years, with Indeed, Monster, Ziprecruiter, and Nexxt among the most notable – you can find a list of the top 10 here.
It’s never been easier to get your job notice out there. However, as we all know, when a process becomes more accessible, it always leads to increased competition. To make your job posting stand out, you need to write eye-catching copy while still communicating your organization’s value.
According to hiring software company CareerPlug, here are the critical elements of an effective job description:
- Job Title
- Company and Culture Description
- Job Position Description
For more information on writing a great job description, please take a look at their expert advice on writing a job posting.
Have the Right Systems in Place
Not every gym will have a well-resourced HR and hiring department to look after getting the right people in. In larger fitness enterprises, this is the norm. For smaller operators, however, there is a tendency not to put many resources into this area of the business. However, even independent gym owners can be successful with the right systems in place.
The objective of any fitness business, big or small, is to hire quality staff and have low turnover. This is the only way to build a successful team and, ultimately, a successful business. The first step towards doing this is to have someone dedicate some of their time to this. A manager in your gym or studio with experience in the industry is probably the best person for the role.
In this role, the person needs to think about hiring the ideal candidate and making sure any candidate for the position has a great experience with your company in the hiring process – they could be an ideal candidate for a role down the line. This means following up on applications and replying to inquiries – we have all been in the position where our job applications have gone unanswered, and it’s an awful feeling!
So if you are a smaller operator that can only assign minimal resources and employee time, consider incorporating fitness hiring software into your business. Not only will it help you get the best person possible, but it will also keep your hiring system organized – so those who don’t get the role still have a positive experience with your company.
Onboard and Empower New Hires
After meeting lots of different candidates, you have now found a person who is ideally suited to the role – job done right?
Let’s go back to the statistic we talked about at the beginning of this section – 28% of new hires leave within the first 90 days. Why do you think that is?
The answer mostly lies in a flawed onboarding process. In some instances, when a new employee is hired, they are given minimal training and left to their own devices. A classic example in the fitness world is when a fitness instructor is also expected to sell memberships – without the adequate sales training needed.
An onboarding process is key to your employees’ success. Think about it in the context of your members. A poor onboarding process means members are doubtful to stay as they are never fully welcomed into the gym, you haven’t set any goals together, and they end up feeling directionless. This will be the same for a new employee who joins your team. Set out goals for them, let them know exactly what’s expected of them and what they should expect from the company.
Check out this great article to find out more about creating an effective onboarding program for new hires.
4 Types of Gym Employees Who Will Power Your Hybrid Success
In the past year, we have done lots of research to write content that can help fitness business owners first bring their gym or studio online and then create a hybrid offering that will future-proof their business this year and beyond. On top of that, we have talked to numerous fitness industry experts on The Fitness Founders Podcast to get their insights on COVID-19’s impact on the industry.
From this, we have identified what it takes to be successful with a hybrid offering. But to be successful, you need to have the right skills to deliver and compete in the market. The four key roles you need are:
- The “All-Rounder” Fitness Instructor
- The One-Person Production House
- The Social Media Expert
- The Accountability Manager
The “All-Rounder” Fitness Instructor
In a podcast we recorded with retention expert Dr. Paul Bedford on the state of play with retention now, and in the future, he made a fascinating point about the difference between in-studio fitness instructors and online instructors. Basically, it’s similar to theatre actors and film actors. Both are performing the same skill but are taking a different approach.
This point was echoed by Barry And Shay from Fitness Career Mastery when they joined us on the podcast also. As experts in training instructors, they know an online trainer needs to have the right pitch, tone, and presence to successfully deliver a class. While this skill can be taught (check out Barry and Shays excellent course here), when hiring in future, remember instructors will need the skills to perform in front of the camera just as much as in front of an audience.
The One Person Production House
One man who doesn’t pull any punches is WTF Gym Talk owner Stuart Brauer, and when he came on our podcast for a second appearance, it was no different. When discussing the dynamics of online workouts and the quality you need to offer, he made an excellent point. In his view, while members may be forgiving about production quality, in the beginning, they won’t be after a while. If your online experience’s quality is the same on Day 1 as it is on Day 20, you’re in trouble.
While camera and lighting technology has become readily available to the masses and recording and editing has become a much simpler process (check out our how-to guide here), you likely don’t have a degree in video production. As we discussed in the middle of this article, brands like Peloton and Equinox raise the bar for production quality, and eventually, this standard will be the norm. In the long run, hiring a person to take care of the production process to produce an excellent product consistently will be well worth the investment.
The Social Media Expert
Digital isn’t an entirely new concept in the world of fitness – social media has quickly become the best way to reach an audience and promote your business. This has been accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic. A recent Harris Poll found that between 46% and 51% of US adults were now using social media more often. To engage with an audience and grow your business, you need to reach people where they are.
Now that you are filming digital content begin using it for more than just teaching classes. Your content is a great promotional tool for your business, as is getting someone in to create and execute an effective social media strategy. The competition will be fierce in the coming months, so a social media expert will help your business cut through the noise.
The Accountability Manager
In one of our most popular episodes of The Fitness Founders Podcast, Gym Launch founder Alex Hormozi joined us to discuss his views on driving revenue online. A key point he made was about what makes one online offering different from the other. According to him, most online offerings are mainly the same, but one factor can make a difference – accountability.
Keeping your members accountable is so important, especially with an online or hybrid offering. You aren’t going to be seeing your members in person as often as before. Therefore it’s going to be easy for them to stray off the path. As Alex said, people pay for you to pay attention, so it’s worth having a person on your team responsible for this. It’s their job to make regular accountability calls and ensure members keep on track to hit their goals and get the results they want.
As the fitness industry changes, so will the types of roles and skills needed to make a fitness business successful. Digital technology is here to stay and is only going to be more critical in the day-to-day running of a business – so you will need the right people on your team to take on this challenge.
While you may not be able to hire all 4 of these people immediately, begin making plans to build your team according to the type of hybrid fitness business you want to develop. Also, keep in mind that upskilling members of your current team can be a great way to fill any gaps in your expertise.