How to Keep Gym Employees Engaged (5 Tips)

How to Keep Gym Employees Engaged (5 Tips)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on June 28, 2021 ā€” Updated on August 24, 2023

You can keep gym employees engaged by respecting your staff’s time, recognizing your team, making your gym a team environment, being a good leader, and hiring the right gym employees. The problem of how to keep gym employees engaged is one that every gym owner has come across. Check out this guide to learn how to motivate gym employees.

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  • After you’ve chosen the right employees for your gym, you still need to train and lead them effectively.
  • Respect your employees’ time, and listen to them when they have concerns.
  • Providing opportunities for your staff’s growth will benefit your gym in the long run.

Admit it — every single one of us, at some point or another, has slacked off while on the job. Whether we just phoned it in for a shift or put in the bare minimum effort for weeks at a time, we all know what it’s like to completely lose our on-the-job motivation. Maybe we felt unappreciated. Maybe we were just bored. Whatever the reason, as a gym owner or manager, knowing how to keep gym employees engaged is an important part of your job.

It can be challenging to motivate gym employees, but providing a respectful, reliable workplace environment and the right tools to do their job (such as the best online gym management software system) is a great start. Keep reading to learn more about how you can keep your gym employees engaged.

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Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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Gym Employee Engagement Tip #1 – Recruit The Right Employees For Your Gym

For better or worse, your employees will be the face of your gym, so make sure you hire the right kind of people to represent your business.

Of course, you want individuals who have the appropriate expertise for the job, but when looking at candidates, don’t neglect soft skills. People who are flexible, motivated, and have good manners will enhance any workplace, regardless of their position within it. Other soft skills, such as negotiation, persuasion, and public speaking, can be developed with time and training (and if you’re smart, you’ll take the time to do so with your staff).

When you recruit individuals who are a good fit for your gym, it’s that much easier to prioritize employee engagement because your staff is already motivated and enthusiastic. You simply have to recognize that and channel them towards an appropriate goal.

Gym Employee Engagement Tip #2 – Be A Good Leader For Your Gym’s Staff

Leadership is a delicate balance. Some supervisors want to be friends with those under them, but then struggle when it’s time to provide discipline. Other supervisors approach their duties from the perspective of a drill sergeant or even a tyrant and are therefore never able to bring out the best in their staff.

As the boss (or manager, or supervisor, or whatever your gym owner title happens to be), you are there to inspire and motivate your staff, to unite them under a shared vision, and to make the difficult decisions that will steer the company. You must provide accountability, but without micromanaging. You must be confident in yourself yet able to admit when you don’t know something. If this all sounds rather impossible, it only goes to show how difficult it truly is to be an effective leader.

Leadership, like any other skill, must be learned and improved upon. Seek out educational resources to help you grow as a leader for the benefit of your gym and your staff. When employees know they have a leader they can count on, they are more motivated to give their best effort.

Gym Employee Engagement Tip #3 – Make Your Gym a Team Environment

“Teamwork” is a buzzword that is thrown around so often, it sometimes feels as if it’s lost all meaning. However, everyone knows the real deal when they see it. Conversely, they can identify situations where teamwork is sorely lacking. Any workplace, fitness businesses included, will have difficulty uniting their staff under a shared goal if the workplace lacks teamwork. But when employees feel they are truly part of a team, they feel connected to something larger than themselves.

To foster a team environment in your gym, you must lead by example while promoting the following:

  • Put egos aside
  • Show support, respect, and commitment to all staff members
  • Listen actively and communicate clearly
  • Be willing to both teach and learn
  • Be ready to help out however is needed, even if the task is not your responsibility

Gym Employee Engagement Tip #4 – Recognize The Individuals Who Make Up Your Gym’s Staff

Teamwork is important, but so is taking the time to see your staff for the individuals they are. Each one will have unique strengths that can benefit the team, and a great way to keep employees engaged is to nurture and reward those special traits.

For example, you may have one employee who is great with kids and another who has a passion for data. By providing opportunities for each to shine in their particular area of interest, you’ll show that you value their uniqueness while also keeping their work interesting and challenging.

Gym Employee Engagement Tip #5 – Respect Your Staff’s Time, Both In And Outside Your Gym

Everyone has probably had a boss, teacher, or coach who seemed to think you had nothing better to do with your day than being ordered around. Adopting this attitude is a surefire way to lose the respect of your employees, and it will likely make them start looking for work elsewhere.

To keep your staff engaged, it’s crucial to understand that they have a life and priorities outside of the gym. Simple things (like not changing work schedules at the last minute, promoting a good work-life balance, and making every effort to send employees home on time) go a long way towards showing your staff that you respect their time.

Even when your employees are on the clock, demonstrate that you value their time. No one wants to spend their day doing pointless busy work or to feel that they have to work twice as hard due to bottlenecks or inefficiencies in gym operations. This is where tools like gym management software can help. One of the benefits of fitness business management software is efficiency and ease of use, and this helps employees feel they’ve been given the tools they need to efficiently succeed at their job.

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The Bottom Line: How To Keep Gym Employees Engaged

Motivating your gym’s employees can admittedly be a challenge, but it need not be that difficult. Provide the best work environment you possibly can, as well as opportunities for employee growth, and your staff will be proud to represent your gym.

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

Exercise.com can help make day-to-day operations easier for your employees. Book a demo to find out more.

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 SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). 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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