• AD Reassigned as Iowa Braces for Her Partner's Lawsuit

    by Emily Attwood December 2014

    Pending a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by her partner, an athletic administrator for the University of Iowa has been reassigned. Jane Meyer, a senior associate athletic director, has been reassigned to the school’s facilities management office, where she will assist with construction contract quality and compliance. 

  • Are Recent Firings at Iowa Sign of Gender Bias?

    by Michael Gaio November 2014

    The University of Iowa has lost five female coaches in five years to resignation or firings. In August, the school fired field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum just days before the start of the season. The details surrounding Griesbaum's firing are mysterious. She was the most successful coach at the school with 169 wins and 12 winning seasons in 14 years.

  • Texas A&M Construction Worker Fired Over Bama Flag

    by Andrew Brandt July 2014

    Texas A&M's Kyle Field is undergoing major renovations this summer, including the addition of about 20,000 seats and the largest video board in college football.

  • Assertiveness is Key to Running a Fitness Business

    by Rob Bishop June 2014

    You know how being physically fit and strong is supposed to make people confident and self-assured? Then please explain to us why we're an industry of wimps.

  • Common Mistakes Made by High School Athletic Directors

    by Kevin Bryant April 2014

    It would not be difficult for any honest interscholastic athletic administrator to fill up a page or two about the mistakes he or she has made and would like to avoid in the future. I've been there myself as a former athletic administrator. Reflecting on my own experiences (and mistakes), I'd like to offer a series of tips that will not only benefit novice athletic administrators, but veteran administrators, as well.

  • 5 Traits to Look For in Future Health Club Leaders

    by John Agoglia February 2014

    In the scramble of hiring to fill an immediate need, health club owners and managers often become short-sighted and concerned with addressing the small-picture issues. But, to successfully build a thriving fitness organization for the long-haul, it is important to not only hire for the requisite skills of a current position opening, but to scout for future leadership potential - to plan ahead for the growth of a new hire within your organization. 

  • 5 Tips for Club Owners to Boost Productivity

    by AB Staff January 2014

    As health club owners and managers, most readers of this blog are concerned with the overall productivity of their staff. Unfortunately, many leaders set a poor example.

  • Everything You Need to Know to Work for Rob and Barry

    by Rob Bishop December 2013

    We wrote last month about suggestions we'd offer to young prospective job seekers. That got us thinking about our column from October 2011, "19 Rules for Dealing With Generation Y Employees." It seems that rules, advice and management checklists have become a big part of our lives as owners and managers. We accept the responsibility that we often have to teach our staff members things that we used to assume everyone knew, such as how to shake hands and look someone in the eye to say "hello."

  • Three Traits to Learn About Candidates in a Job Interview

    by John Agoglia December 2013

    Hiring employees is one of, if not the, most important endeavor for any independent health club owner or manager. The approaching new year means that it is time to shore up your staff for the rush of new members (even if that rush is expected closer to February, according to many industry insiders.)

    It's important to ask your interview candidates the right questions.Like any business, having the right people in the right positions is the only way for the staff and the gym to succeed. So how does a hiring manager make sure he or she is hiring the right person for the right position? Unfortunately, this is a process that most owners and managers haven't mastered. And with so many differing methods and philosophies on hiring, who can blame them?

    RELATED: 19 Rules for Dealing with Generation Y Employees

    Interviewers can take these tips and tricks with them to the interview room to ensure only the best people become part of the fitness club's team.

    Perhaps the most important thing for any interviewer to remember is that the key to a good interview is good follow-up questions.

    Very often it is the second response that is the real answer. As many experts have pointed out, the first response that a job candidate gives to your interview question is likely rehearsed, as should be your questions as well. Rehearsed answers do not provide much insight into the candidate. The follow-up question forces the candidate to think on their feet, and can help you dig beneath the surface. As a result, candidates tell you their real story.

    RELATED: Drafting a Championship Staff

    But, a hiring manager can only determine whether or not the candidate is right for the job by asking the right questions. 

    While the questions will differ from one gym from another, and there will, of course, be job and company specific questions, a hiring manager will want to learn several traits about a candidate during the interview process:

    Gauge the Candidate’s Self-Awareness Level
    Does the candidate really understand where he or she is in the career track? Does he or she know what they can bring to the company? Again, follow-up questions will help you delve deeper into the candidate's understanding.

    “If I were to call up your [most recent supervisor, best friend, older sister],what would he or she say about you?”

    Understand the Candidate’s Ability to Adapt, Learn, and Innovate
    Most health clubs operate at a quick pace with new members, programs, and innovations - or are at least regularly making changes. It is vital to know that everyone working on the team not only keeps up, but is the type of person that wants to keep up. 

    “How has your current position evolved over the past year and how have you acquired the skills to adapt to the changes?”

    How Does He or She Fit In?
    Hiring the job applicant who, in addition to the required job skills and qualifications, exhibits the best fit within your organization's culture, is the best way to ensure long-term happiness and productivity for both the employee and the health club.

    “How do you feel about becoming friends with your coworkers?”

    RELATED: Train Your Staff to Be All-Stars

    John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications and provides marketing strategy and content services to companies in and out of the fitness industry.

  • A Little Recognition Goes A Long Way in Keeping Employees Happy

    by John Agoglia November 2013

    One can learn a great deal during a cross-country flight.

    In fact, on my trip from Boston to San Diego for the iClubs Conference, I learned quite a few things thanks to JetBlue.

    You can learn a lot on a cross-country flight. Agoglia's inspiration came courtesy of JetBlue airlines.The first thing I learned came while flipping around the 36 DirecTV stations available on the flight. Apparently, many people are still looking for the 10 (or eight or six) minute shortcut to six pack abs; at least that's what I gathered from eight infomercials on at the same time. And those that aren't looking for a six pack are probably interested in eating, according to the other six infomercials on at that time.

    But perhaps the best lesson learned was from JetBlue directly, and it is something that almost every independent health club owners can probably learn from as well.

    Just prior to closing the doors before take-off, an airline official came on board to make an announcement. No, we weren't being delayed and there was nothing wrong with the airplane, instead the airline official had a different message: He had jumped on the plane to commemorate one of the flight attendant's 10th anniversary with the company. It was a simple act, but it was a nice gesture to make in front of other employees and a plane full of passengers.

    RELATED: Train Your Staff to be All-Stars

    In today's job market it is rare for employees to stay with one company for that long. It is more rare for someone to stay at a health club for that long. But, what is most rare, is that club owners and managers go out of their way to acknowledge employees in front of their co-workers, let alone the members they serve every day.

    Studies show that a majority of employees say that they are more appreciative and motivated from acknowledgement of a job well done than they are money, yet club owners are faced with high employee turnover and struggle for ways to keep their best and brightest employees without breaking the bank.

    RELATED: 10 Ways to Provide Raises in a Challenging Economy

    Perhaps health club owners can learn a thing or two from JetBlue on how to not only keep customers happy and loyal, but keep employees happy and loyal as well.

    By the way Sarah, the flight attendant celebrating her anniversary with JetBlue, was congratulated by just about every person on that flight. I wonder how many would make that connection without something as special as being recognized publicly for a job well done.

    Tips on Implementing an Employee Recognition Program

    1. Don't just make it about monetary goals. Let employees know that you value them going above and beyond to keep members happy. Recognize attendance, anniversaries and personal achievements.

    2. Set up different levels of recognition and standards by which to judge employees. Allow other staff members, supervisors and members have input, helping to legitimize and expand the reaches of the program.

    3. Make sure that everyone on staff knows when an employee receives recognition. The "fame" will keep not only the employee receiving the acknowledgement happy, it will encourage others to attain it as well.

    4. Let the members in on it. Mention the employee recognition to members. Post it on your website, include it in member newsletters, tweet it and post it on your Facebook page. This will build a connection between members and employees.

    5. Stay consistent. Nothing will sap the morale you're trying to build among your health club employees than dangling a carrot and not delivering in the end.

    John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications in and out of the fitness industry.