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The top staff retention strategies for a small business

staff retention

Did you know that the fitness industry can see an annual personal training turnover of up to 80%?

Yes, it’s true! The shocking thing is, though, that’s just the stats for personal trainers. Who knows the high turnover for cleaners, administrators, security guards, and additional staff in a fitness center.

While that might not apply to you, it’s something you should definitely think about and focus your attention internally on your employees as well as externally. You might have seen some employees of yours leaving your business for a wide range of reasons. 

One recent reason that employees might have departed from companies in the fitness industry is the COVID-19 pandemic, making them more scared to work in a place full of people in one go.

Whatever the reason is, you don’t want lots of employees leaving your business. To reduce the chances of this happening, you’ll want to implement effective employee retention strategies so you can have a good employee retention rate. 

In this article, we will look at what a staff retention strategy is, the benefits of good staff retention and some staff retention strategies you can do today. 

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What is a staff retention strategy? 

A retention strategy is a personalized plan that focuses on your employees and helps give you ideas on how to retain employee loyalty so they don’t leave. The ultimate goal of this type of strategy is to stop employee turnover rate, prevent attrition and increase employee engagement within your company. 

These staff retention strategies can be carried out for a period of 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. However, if you plan to have a staff retention strategy, you should review it and modify it frequently to stay relevant in your business. 

Why do employees leave? 

Before you can know about the benefits of a staff retention strategy for your company, it’s important to reflect inwards and look at why your employees might leave your company. Having an idea of why your employees might leave can help you formulate a strong staff retention plan. Most of the time, your staff might leave due to the following:


Sometimes your employees might choose to leave your company if they feel like their salary is adequate or they’ve not had a fair pay rise throughout the years they’ve worked for you. Similarly, they might not have felt they’ve got enough perks such as a holiday bonus or for the loyalty they’ve had through you.

Overworked and unsupported

COVID-19 has taken it out of many of us; it’s caused many people to take up new roles or do multiple roles in addition to their jobs. Without you realizing your staff might have been working for you long hours to cover other staff who have COVID-19, or they could be running errands after their shifts for family members who have had it. Moreover, in busy periods like straight after the new year and building up to the summer, they might feel exhausted and suffer from burnout. 

Lack of opportunities to climb the ladder

How do you treat your staff? Sometimes many people might choose to leave your company if they don’t feel like there is room for growth in their job role. You might want to think about the type of training you offer for your employees, the different salaries, and job roles they can progress to. 

Work-life balance

This point is slightly similar to the last one regarding appreciation. When it comes to your staff in a fitness business, you have to be empathetic and compassionate. Sometimes if employees don’t feel like they can manage work alongside their personal commitments, they might leave. Therefore you might want to think about reviews of hours, child care facilities, different types of leave, and more to accommodate your employees’ lives. Doing this will make it easier for them to enter the workplace.

Lack of employee recognition

Everyone likes to be praised for their top talent, and if your employee’s efforts go unnoticed, it may motivate them to leave. This is such a prominent problem that even a Fortune 500 survey mentioned around 36% of global employees find this the main reason they leave a company. So think about how you praise your team!


Once your team gets into the swing of their work routine, they may become bored after time. Their work might become monotonous, and the lack of stimulation in their shifts might stop them from wanting to work for you. A good idea to make them enjoy working for you is by giving them perks, taking them out for staff meals, parties and maybe putting them on a rota of duties to give more variation in their work.

Lack of company culture 

Sometimes people want to work for the greater good and feel like they’re part of a community other than just a place that pays the bills. The same way you try to build a fitness community for your members, you might want to build for your employees. People look for friendships and fun at work also.

Desire to make a change 

How do you respond to your employees’ suggestions? The way you or your managers listen to them and take them on board can influence whether they choose to stick with you. If your staff feel like they aren’t being heard or their suggestions aren’t being taken on board, they might leave your company. 

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Benefits of staff retention strategies for businesses

Now you have an idea of why your staff might leave, let’s look into why having a solid staff retention strategy can help your business:

Reduces the stress on HR

High staff turnover is a stressful time for the human resources department. They have to spend a lot of time looking at the reasons for leaving, looking for new candidates, posting job descriptions, and interviewing them amongst all of their existing work. 

Lower hiring costs 

If you have an effective staff retention strategy, it’s less likely you will have to spend more money on hiring. You won’t need to pay any agencies, overtime to the HR team, or anything else to keep your business up and running. It will ease the hiring process.

Stronger work relationships

Staff retention strategies are all about saving your staff and keeping them with you for as long as possible. Many of them cover topics such as staff engagement, appreciation, and ways to keep them loyal to you. As a result, this can make your staff appreciate you as an employer and the workplace.

Increase productivity 

If you’re constantly focusing on where to improve and how to make your staff stay, this will be incredibly productive for your fitness center. Doing this, you will get to know about your staff’s interests, what motivates them, and areas where they would want to change as a result. 

If your strategy covers this, then you can play to their strengths and make them feel like they want to come to work. This allows you to keep experienced employees in their positions instead of training new employees and taking 1-2 years to get there. Plus, it takes new hires a while in a job to adapt to their work environment and their co-workers, so the amount retained can save your business’s productivity. 

Less work-related stress

As highlighted earlier, staff might leave your fitness business due to a lack of appreciation, overtired, overworked, bored, unsupported, and more. If you have a retention strategy that focuses on your team’s best interests, then it’s more than likely they won’t feel any of this. , As a result, it can cause you less stress an employer saving you on any recruitment or HR worries

6 key staff retention strategies 

If you haven’t got a staff retention strategy in place, then you should think about including the following initiatives in your plans:

1. Career development

A lot of people like to progress in their field, and lack of career development is a common reason why 49% of millennials choose to leave their profession. Always look for ways to let your employees grow, whether you provide them different salary levels or role responsibilities depending on how long they’ve been with you.

2. Health benefits

If you are a fitness club owner or have a business in this sector, you should want the best for your staff as you do for your current members. Perhaps consider implementing a health and well-being package with private healthcare or gym facilities in it. If you provide incentives to achieve their fitness and wellness goals, you could have higher employee morale and employee satisfaction in the workplace. 

3. Work-life balance

At some point in their lives, every professional has personal matters that can conflict with their working lives. In your retention plan, you should consider providing wellness benefits to your employees like flexible work, remote work, generous leaves, parental leave, childcare, and more. 

4. Retirement plans 

As a gym owner, you will want to make your employees feel special and more than just a number. If you build a retirement plan into their contract, they will feel more appreciated and prioritized. The most effective ones will help your employees stick with you, allowing them to think they’re putting more behind their savings, making them want to stay with you in the long term.

5. Stay interviews

Stay interviews are an effective technique to help you make a robust retention strategy as you go along. If you’re not familiar with this technique, it’s basically interviews or questions you directly ask employees. 

For instance, you can ask them about what they like about working, what they don’t like about working at your company, what they hope to achieve, how to make them have better job satisfaction and a range of other questions. These interviews can be so valuable and save you a lot of time in the long term. 

6. Effective communication 

If you can streamline your communication in the workplace, it will allow your employees to feel heard. It’s more than likely that doing this will allow your employees to feel comfortable confiding in you and sharing any opinions they may have. They will also ask for help when they need it, which can save a lot of their stress from building up. 

In summary

To conclude, these are just a few staff retention strategies you can implement into your business. As a fitness owner, it’s important that you cover all potential areas your employees might leave, like their salary, lack of growth, lack of company culture, desire to change, boredom, lack of recognition, work-life balance, and lack of opportunities and more. 

Once you’ve highlighted the areas where you could lose your employees, it’s important to look inwards and build them into a retention plan. Doing this will allow you to increase productivity and save money within your company.

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Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

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