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How to Hire Gym Staff and Build an A+ Team

How to Hire Gym Staff and Build an A+ Team

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on February 23, 2023 — Updated on November 21, 2023

As a gym owner, learning how to hire gym staff and build an A+ team is fundamental to starting a successful gym business. Hiring the best gym employees is a key gym owner skill in our gym owner guide that can make the difference between your failure and success.

If hiring gym staff is new to you, or you are a seasoned (grizzled?) gym owner with decades of gym staff hiring experience and you can write your own guide on how to hire gym employees—either way, you will learn some nuggets of wisdom in the below gym staff hiring guide from our friends over at NPE Fitness.

And of course, let us help arm you with the best world-class gym software that has a gym staff management software product component to help you grow and manage your gym better.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

The 3 Stages to Building a Winning Team for Your Gym

How’s your team supporting you and your gym business’s growth? 

If you’re like most studio/gym owners who come to us, building a winning team is among your top challenges and priorities. 

But hiring can be hit or miss … and a bad hire is one of the costliest decisions a business owner can make. They can damage relationships with clients, and waste your energy and resources. You don’t get the return on your investment – and have to start over.  

The good news: We have a proven playbook for creating a winning gym team. Here’s what to do: 

Before You Hire, Get the Gym Staff Design Dialed In

Your gym team can make or break this year for you. With the right team members, you can grow your gym business and get time and money freedom. With the wrong gym staff members on your team, you’ll get sucked back into operations and training … making all the big decisions with everything on your shoulders.

What employees are needed in a gym?

Here’s how to design gym staff roles and responsibilities for your team. Think about strategy for growth – which duties do you want to delegate and in what order do you want to delegate them? Only then are you ready to fulfill the roles. 

  1. Head Coach. This is usually the first hire. They will lead and manage your coaches and ensure high-quality customer experience. By delivering great experiences, they will drive renewals, referrals and reviews. Learn more about how to hire a gym manager.
  1. Membership Manager. This is typically your second hire and should be an expert at sales. They own the sales and marketing pipeline. Read more here on how to get more gym memberships.
  1. Studio Manager/General Manager. This is your most important hire. This person runs the studio/gym. They own the profit/loss statement, the customer acquisition strategy, and are responsible for net client growth. They develop the team to succeed. As an owner-operator, you’ll play this role until you can afford to hire the right talent. 

This might take 1 to 5 years to get all these seats filled. The most important thing at this point is to have a vision of what your organization will look like and how you can offload your own duties. 

Read More: How to Motivate Gym Staff

How many employees does a gym have?

The average gym in the US has about seven employees. This can vary dramatically based on gym size, location, business model, and other factors.

Stage 1: Attract the Right Candidates

Before learning how to hire the best gym employees; here’s what you should NOT do. Don’t do what so many studio/gym owners do: hire friends, family, and clients. Just because you know these people and feel comfortable with them, does not mean they’re a good fit for your business.

You may not get the core value alignment, hard and soft skills required – or someone with the professional goals you want. 

The right candidates will have a passion for working with your ideal clients. They’ll want to help you achieve your mission. 

To find them, look for people who are already employed. Don’t over-rely on ads. Get aggressive about outbound–reach out to your network, build relationships, and look for skill sets and history of success on LinkedIn profiles.

Stage 2: Hire A-Players 

Hiring mistakes are costly. Plan ahead so you don’t have to hire for immediate needs and settle. The best practice is to nurture candidates and keep a database so you have a talent pipeline. 

Hire slow, fire fast. We recommend a 6-step hiring process that involves multiple skill tests, personal vision exercises, and team/final interviews. This allows you and the candidate to get to know each other, understand the role and convey the culture and values. 

Stage 3: Develop Leaders

A-players want to be challenged and grow, so you’ll need to have a career path that fits their vision and your long-term strategy. 

Every team member on your gym payroll should be assessed and supported with a formal growth plan. Celebrate strengths and identify opportunities to grow.

As you grow your gym, you’re going to need to develop gym staff leaders. These people can own key areas of responsibility, lead others, and develop other leaders within the business. That’s when you have real freedom – when you have leaders developing leaders.

Gym Staff Career Development

Building and developing a strong gym team will unlock more growth for your business than anything else. Once you have the right people in the right seats, aligned to the right values, your business will operate more efficiently and will grow. 

Best of all, leading a great team is exciting, and you will enjoy your business more than ever!

NPE recently hosted a 3-part workshop to teach you the 6 keys for growing a highly profitable and predictable studio/gym over the next 12 months. We recorded the whole thing and you can get access to those recordings here.

Sean Greeley, NPE Founder & CEO

Visit NPE Fitness for more expert gym growth guidance and gym staff management advice and then let us help arm you with world-class gym software that has a gym staff management software product component to help you grow and mange your gym better.

Staff Management

Get a demo and see how we can help today.

Read More: NPE Fitness Reviews

About Sean Greeley

Sean Greeley, NPE Founder and CEO, has an unrelenting passion for empowering fitness entrepreneurs to create the income and lifestyle they want. 

NPE delivers the #1 suite of business growth systems, tools, and coaching for fitness entrepreneurs to grow to 6-, 7-, and 8-figures. Since 2006, NPE has helped over 53,000+ fitness businesses in 96+ countries grow to the next level. NPE has been featured 8x on the Inc 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies, and has a global team based in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia.

Website: NPE Fitness

The Importance of Hiring Amazing Gym Staff

Gyms play a crucial role in helping individuals achieve their fitness goals. As a gym owner or manager, one of your top priorities should be to hire amazing staff members who will contribute to the success of your business. The right team can make all the difference in creating a positive and motivating environment for your clients. In this article, we will explore in detail the various aspects of hiring exceptional gym staff members, from understanding their importance to identifying key qualities, crafting effective job descriptions, conducting interviews, and implementing strategies for retention.

Fitness Income Ideas

Learn the essential steps to hiring exceptional gym staff that will help your fitness facility thrive.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

Get a demo now!

The Importance of Hiring the Right Gym Staff

When it comes to running a successful gym, the staff members you hire can make or break your reputation. They are the face of your business and serve as ambassadors for your brand. Exceptional gym staff members have the ability to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere, motivating clients to stay committed to their fitness journeys. Moreover, they can provide expert advice on exercise techniques, guide clients through their workouts, and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the gym. By hiring the right gym staff, you can differentiate your business from competitors and build a loyal customer base.

Understanding the Role of Gym Staff in Your Business

Gym staff members play a multifaceted role in your business. Their responsibilities extend beyond just monitoring the gym floor and ensuring equipment is used correctly. They are also responsible for providing exceptional customer service, maintaining cleanliness and organization, conducting fitness assessments, creating personalized workout plans, and offering guidance and support to clients. Additionally, they may be involved in selling memberships, promoting gym services, and organizing fitness classes or events. Understanding the breadth of their role will enable you to hire individuals who are not only qualified but also passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of your clients.

Identifying the Key Qualities to Look for in Potential Gym Staff

When seeking out exceptional gym staff members, it’s important to identify the key qualities that will contribute to their success in the role. Some qualities to consider include strong communication skills, a passion for fitness, a friendly and approachable demeanor, empathy and patience, attention to detail, the ability to work well in a team, and a commitment to ongoing personal and professional development. It’s also essential to assess their relevant experience and certifications, such as personal training or group fitness qualifications. By identifying these qualities, you can ensure that your potential hires have the necessary attributes to deliver an outstanding experience for your clients.

Crafting an Effective Job Description for Gym Staff Positions

Creating a compelling job description is crucial in attracting top talent for your gym staff positions. The job description should clearly outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations of the role. Start with an engaging introduction that highlights the unique aspects of your gym and why it is a great place to work. Include a detailed list of responsibilities, emphasizing the importance of excellent customer service, fitness expertise, and the ability to create a positive and motivating atmosphere. Specify any certifications or qualifications that are required or preferred. Finally, highlight any additional benefits or perks offered by your gym to attract the best candidates.

Where to Find Top Talent for Your Gym Staff

Now that you have crafted an effective job description, it’s time to find the best candidates for your gym staff positions. There are several avenues you can explore, including online job boards, social media platforms, industry-specific websites, fitness education institutions, and local fitness community networks. Additionally, consider reaching out to personal trainers or group fitness instructors who may be interested in transitioning to a gym staff role. By utilizing multiple channels, you can cast a wide net and increase your chances of finding highly qualified candidates who align with your gym’s values and mission.

Conducting Effective Interviews to Assess Potential Gym Staff Members

The interview process is a vital opportunity to assess candidates’ qualifications, skills, and fit for your gym. Develop a structured interview format that includes a combination of behavioral-based questions, hypothetical scenarios, and technical knowledge assessments. These questions should test candidates’ ability to demonstrate key qualities, problem-solving skills, and expertise in areas such as fitness equipment usage and class instruction. Additionally, consider including a practical component, such as a gym floor observation or role-playing scenario, to further evaluate their hands-on abilities. Remember to allow candidates to ask questions about the role and your gym, as it demonstrates their interest and engagement in the opportunity.

Assessing Skills and Experience: What to Look for During the Hiring Process

During the hiring process, it’s essential to assess candidates’ skills and experience to ensure they meet the requirements of the role. Consider their previous experience working in a gym or related fitness industry, their knowledge of exercise techniques and equipment usage, and their ability to develop personalized workout plans. Look for evidence of continuing education, such as certifications or participation in fitness workshops and seminars. Furthermore, evaluate their ability to effectively communicate with clients and adapt to their varying needs and fitness levels. A thorough assessment of all these factors will help you identify candidates who possess the necessary skills and experience to excel as gym staff members.

The Benefits of Hiring Experienced Gym Staff Members

While it’s essential to consider candidates at different experience levels, hiring experienced gym staff members can bring unique advantages to your business. Experienced individuals have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that they can share with clients, providing valuable guidance and mentoring. They are likely familiar with a wide range of exercise techniques and are adept at troubleshooting common challenges clients face. Additionally, their experience enables them to handle high-pressure situations with ease and navigate any potential conflicts that may arise. By hiring experienced staff, you can instill confidence in your clients and position your gym as a trusted fitness establishment.

How to Evaluate Cultural Fit When Hiring Gym Staff

Cultural fit is vital when hiring new gym staff members, as it ensures they align with your gym’s values, mission, and overall atmosphere. Assessing cultural fit can be challenging, but various strategies can help you make the best decision. During interviews, ask questions that delve into candidates’ work styles, their approach to teamwork, and their understanding of providing exceptional customer service. Additionally, consider involving existing team members in the hiring process, as they can offer valuable insights into the candidate’s fit with the team dynamic. Observing how candidates interact with clients and existing staff members during practical assessments or gym floor observations can further aid in evaluating cultural fit.

Utilizing Reference Checks to Validate Potential Gym Staff Candidates

Reference checks provide valuable information about a candidate’s performance, reliability, and work ethic. When contacting references, ask specific questions about the candidate’s ability to work in a team, their communication skills, their dependability, and their overall attitude towards their work. Additionally, inquire about any areas of improvement or growth potential that the candidate may have demonstrated. By utilizing reference checks, you can confirm the accuracy of the information provided by candidates and gain a better understanding of their potential fit in your gym.

The Role of Background Checks in Ensuring a Safe and Reliable Gym Staff

In the fitness industry, safety and trustworthiness are of utmost importance. Conducting comprehensive background checks on potential gym staff members is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your clients and maintaining the reputation of your business. Background checks may include criminal record checks, verifying certifications and qualifications, as well as employment and educational history verification. By prioritizing background checks, you can demonstrate your commitment to providing a secure environment for your clients and instill confidence in their decision to choose your gym.

Creating a Comprehensive Training Program for New Gym Staff Members

Once you’ve assembled an exceptional team of gym staff members, it’s essential to provide them with a comprehensive training program to set them up for success. The training program should cover various aspects, including understanding your gym’s mission and values, learning standard operating procedures, receiving thorough instruction on fitness equipment usage and safety protocols, and gaining knowledge of your gym’s service offerings. Additionally, training should include customer service skills development, conflict resolution strategies, and effective communication techniques. By investing in a robust training program, you can ensure that your gym staff members are prepared to deliver outstanding service and meet the needs of your clients.

Nurturing a Positive and Supportive Team Environment Among Your Gym Staff

Creating a positive and supportive team environment is crucial for fostering collaboration and camaraderie among your gym staff. Encourage team-building activities, such as group workouts, team challenges, or regular staff meetings, to promote open communication and a sense of unity. Provide opportunities for staff members to share their successes and challenges, fostering a supportive culture where everyone feels heard and valued. Recognize and reward outstanding contributions from your staff, reinforcing a positive work environment. By nurturing a cohesive team, you can maximize productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction among your gym staff.

Implementing Performance Reviews and Feedback for Continuous Improvement among Gym Staff

Performance reviews and constructive feedback are essential tools for continuous improvement among gym staff members. Regularly scheduled performance reviews allow you to provide feedback on strengths and areas for development, align goals, and address any performance concerns. Ensure that performance reviews are conducted in a structured and objective manner, focusing on specific performance metrics and behavioral examples. Encourage open dialogue during these sessions, allowing staff members to share their thoughts and suggestions for enhancing their performance and the overall gym experience. By fostering a feedback culture, you can motivate staff to continually grow and deliver exceptional results.

Retaining Top Talent: Strategies for Keeping Amazing Gym Staff

Retaining top talent is crucial for the long-term success of your gym. Implement strategies that create a positive and motivating work environment, such as offering competitive compensation packages, providing opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance. Encourage open communication and establish a culture of trust and collaboration. Actively seek input from your staff regarding their needs, concerns, and ideas for improvement. By investing in the development and well-being of your team, you can foster loyalty, reduce turnover, and position your gym as an employer of choice in the fitness industry.

Dealing with Challenging Situations: How to Address Performance Issues with Your Gym Staff

Addressing performance issues is an inevitable part of managing any team, including your gym staff. When faced with challenging situations, it’s essential to approach them with empathy and a problem-solving mindset. Schedule a private meeting with the staff member involved to discuss their performance concerns, ensuring that the conversation remains constructive and focuses on specific examples and measurable expectations. Collaboratively develop an action plan to address areas for improvement, setting clear goals and providing the necessary support and resources. Regularly follow up on progress, providing ongoing feedback and recognition for positive changes. By handling performance issues effectively, you can help staff members improve, ensuring the overall success of your gym.

Recognizing and Rewarding Outstanding Contributions from Your Gym Staff

Recognizing and rewarding outstanding contributions from your gym staff is not only a powerful motivator but also an essential retention strategy. Acknowledge exceptional performance through various means, such as public recognition during staff meetings, personalized appreciation messages, or incentives such as bonuses or additional perks. Celebrate milestones and achievements, whether they are personal or team-oriented, to foster a sense of accomplishment and highlight the importance of everyone’s efforts. By recognizing and rewarding outstanding contributions, you reinforce a positive and high-performing culture within your gym.

The Role of Ongoing Professional Development in Improving the Skills of Your Gym Staff

Ongoing professional development is an essential component in enhancing the skills and knowledge of your gym staff members. Encourage and support their participation in workshops, seminars, and industry conferences to stay up to date with the latest fitness trends and research. Provide opportunities for staff members to pursue additional certifications or specialized training courses that align with their interests and the needs of your gym. Consider hosting in-house training sessions or inviting guest speakers to provide unique insights. By investing in ongoing professional development, you not only empower your staff but also elevate the quality of service your gym can provide.

Building a Strong Employer Brand to Attract the Best Candidates for Your Gym Staff Positions

Building a strong employer brand is essential for attracting the best candidates for your gym staff positions. Highlight your gym’s unique selling points, such as its positive culture, commitment to employee development, and focus on client success. Leverage social media platforms, your website, and industry-specific networks to showcase testimonials from satisfied staff members and clients. Use your online presence to share stories that exemplify your gym’s values and mission. Ensure that your gym’s reputation as a great place to work is well known within the fitness community. By building a strong employer brand, you can attract exceptional talent that aligns with your vision and helps your gym thrive.

Hiring amazing gym staff members is a critical aspect of running a successful fitness business. Understanding the importance of hiring the right individuals and the various factors involved in the hiring process enables you to build a high-performing team that enhances the experience of your clients and contributes to the success of your gym. By prioritizing effective recruitment, training, development, and retention strategies, you can create a positive and motivating environment where your gym staff can thrive and take your business to new heights.

Hiring Gym Staff & Salary Expectations

Hiring the right gym staff is crucial for the success of your fitness center. From personal trainers to front desk employees, the team you assemble will have a direct impact on your customer experience and overall business health. The salary you offer should be competitive to attract qualified candidates. In addition, keep in mind that some roles might also require commissions or bonuses based on performance. Always research current salary benchmarks in your area for each position to make sure your offers are competitive.

Gym Staff List

When planning the staffing for your gym, consider a variety of roles to ensure smooth operation. These can include:

  • Front Desk Staff
  • Personal Trainers
  • Group Fitness Instructors
  • Cleaning Staff
  • Sales and Marketing Team
  • Nutritionist or Dietitian
  • Manager or Operations Director

Read More:

Gym Staff Requirements

Staff requirements will vary by role, but generally, all employees should have a positive attitude, excellent customer service skills, and a passion for fitness. For specialized roles like personal trainers or nutritionists, certifications and qualifications become crucial. Always verify these credentials and consider running background checks for added security.

How to Hire Personal Trainers for Your Gym

Hiring personal trainers requires particular attention since they directly influence your client’s health and satisfaction. Look for trainers with accredited certifications, experience, and a specialty that fits your gym’s focus. Conduct practical interviews where they demonstrate their skills and always check references to gauge their professional history.

What do gym employees do?

Gym employees handle various tasks depending on their roles. Front desk staff manage check-ins and customer queries, personal trainers provide fitness training, and cleaning staff maintain the cleanliness of the facility. Sales and marketing employees focus on attracting new members and retaining existing ones.

Does a gym need to be staffed?

Most gyms need to be staffed for at least part of the day to provide assistance, manage operations, and ensure safety. Some modern gyms offer 24/7 access with minimal staffing during off-hours, but they often have security measures in place to protect both members and assets.

How do you recruit employees for a gym?

Recruitment can be done through various channels like online job portals, referrals, or specialized recruitment agencies. Consider promoting the job vacancies on your gym’s social media channels and website to attract candidates who are already interested in your brand.

What staff is required in a gym?

The staff required in a gym often includes front desk employees, personal trainers, group exercise instructors, cleaning staff, and a manager. Depending on the size and type of gym, you might also need salespeople, customer service representatives, and specialized coaches.

Can you have a gym without staff?

It’s possible to run a gym without staff using automated check-in systems and security measures. However, this model might not suit all types of gyms, especially those offering specialized services like personal training and group classes.

How many employees does a gym usually have?

The number of employees a gym has can vary widely depending on the size, location, and services offered. A small gym might operate with as few as 5-10 employees, while a larger facility could require 50 or more staff members.

What age do most gyms hire?

Most gyms hire employees who are at least 18 years old due to insurance and liability reasons. However, the age requirement may differ depending on local labor laws and the specific responsibilities of the role.

Do gyms need to be supervised?

Supervision is usually recommended for safety reasons, especially during peak hours when equipment is in high demand and the risk of accidents is greater.

What are people who work at gyms called?

People who work at gyms have different titles based on their roles, such as personal trainers, front desk attendants, or gym managers.

How many members does a gym need to be successful?

The number of members required for a gym to be successful depends on various factors, including overhead costs and membership fees. A small, specialized gym may require fewer members to break even compared to a large facility with high operating costs.

How can Exercise.com help my staff manage my gym?

Exercise.com offers a comprehensive software solution that can significantly aid your staff in running your gym efficiently. From managing schedules to tracking member progress and handling payments, the platform streamlines many aspects of gym management. This allows your team to focus on delivering excellent customer service and growing the business. Exercise.com is the professional solution for any gym owner looking to elevate their business; book a demo today to find out more.

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

Get a demo now!

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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