• Safeguarding Youth Sports Programs Against Embezzlement

    by Emily Attwood October 2013

    On a sunny Saturday morning, as parents gather along the sidelines and chatter idly while their children warm up for a morning of soccer practice, the last thing on anyone's mind or lips are questions about the financial records of the organization.

  • Train Your Staff to Be All-Stars

    by AB Staff October 2013

    Independent health club owners will tell you that the most important part of their job is hiring the right people. Those hires are the ones who keep the club humming along while the owner is free to work on the bigger issues – even if those “bigger issues” include occasionally fixing a sewer backup, audio issues on the treadmills or even stocking a cooler.

    But, while independent health club owners and managers spend time interviewing candidates for a variety of positions, they often forget -- or don’t really know -- what to do with them once they are hired.

    Even Tom Brady wouldn't succeed without a good playbook. Don't expect your employees to make it on their own, either.As we pointed out in our April blog, Drafting a Championship Staff, it’s crucial your club gets the best talent to take care of members and run the day-to-day operations. However, without the proper coaching and playbook, even the greatest prospect will never be an all-star.

    The Society for Human Resource Management and Aon Consulting did a study that discovered the top three reasons employees voluntarily leave a company. They are:

    • To advance their career with greater opportunities for training and career development
    • A better compensation and benefits package
    • Poor management

    I know when I was running clubs, keeping a training staff was one of the biggest obstacles faced. We would bring on a person who seemed like a superstar, but for too long we relied on them shadowing someone or reading a checklist to get them trained. And sometimes that was enough. But more often than not, it led to a lot of minimal output and little movement up the ranks. In fact, in the two-plus years I managed one club, we only had two people move up to a management position — and a lot of turnover.

    Was it their fault? No. It was mine and the ownership. We focused so hard on bringing in people that had a great resume, fit our corporate culture and could do the job, that we lost sight of the future these people wanted and were capable of attaining. Unlike the most successful teams (think the Patriots in the NFL), we didn’t have a playbook in place to help them grow and that was counterproductive.

    Why didn’t we? Why don’t so many independent club owners? Well, it takes time and money to develop the systems to effectively train people to do their jobs. And, it takes even more time and money to take that employee and train them to be a future leader in your organization.

    According to industry statistics, the cost of losing an employee can ranges from 50 to 150 percent of that employee's annual compensation when you consider lost productivity, time spent looking for a replacement and training of the new employee.

    But, if you can develop your great hires into great employees –and even better great leaders – it will be worth every penny.

    Three Keys to Developing All-Star Employees

    1. Develop an operations manual (playbook) for the entire facility.
    2. Develop a training protocol for every position - and include cross-training so every employee knows the responsibilities of others.
    3. Find the budget to keep your staff educated by sending them to continuing education classes and industry events (The upcoming iClubs Conference, for example.)

    The cost of training and keeping good staff is far cheaper than finding new superstars.

    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.


  • How to Help Personal Trainers Improve Their Sales Skills

    by Rob Bishop October 2013

    Looking for a good laugh while walking through your gym? Approach one of your personal trainers and ask, "How much does personal training cost?" Enjoy the show as your trainer stumbles all over the place, trying to pull words out of thin air. Then consider what you would think if you were a member asking that basic question and receiving that bumbling response. Not good, right?

  • Retro Fitness CEO Eric Casaburi Talks Undercover Boss

    by Paul Steinbach May 2013


  • Fitness Franchise Owner to Appear on 'Undercover Boss'

    by Michael Popke — AB Managing Editor April 2013

    The Emmy-award-winning reality television series Undercover Boss - which allows upper-level managers to perform job duties on the front lines to explore how their companies really operate and where improvements can be made - has included senior execs from Hooters, Roto-Rooter, NASCAR, Boston Market and Yankee Candle.

  • Athletic Departments Apply Disney Principles to Game Day

    by Paul Steinbach January 2013

    A young boy attending an Arizona State University football game last fall slipped and skinned his knee. Nothing unusual about that, except for what happened next. An usher at Sun Devil Stadium flagged down Sparky, the ASU mascot, and introduced him to the child at a first-aid station. The costumed character promptly cleaned the wound, applied a bandage and escorted the boy to field level for a photo.

  • Colleges Seek Third-Party Help in AD Searches

    by Paul Steinbach November 2012

    It has been dubbed the "Wonder Blunder." A botched concert promotion, in which the budget-weary University of Hawaii paid a $200,000 deposit for an on-campus Stevie Wonder concert that never happened, led to the August dismissal of athletic director Jim Donovan, who was first contacted about the potential event back in March. But the "blunder" was only the beginning of the Rainbows' woes.

  • Athletic Departments Navigate Nepotism Policy

    by Paul Steinbach April 2012

    Confusion over who actually hired Brian Ferentz in February to serve as an assistant football coach at the University of Iowa resulted in more than one headline punctuated with a question mark.

  • Universal Truths in Fitness Facility Management

    by AB Staff February 2012

    We may be showing our age here, but we regularly invoke Bill Murray from Groundhog Day, the 1993 film in which his hapless weatherman, Phil Connors, relives the same day over and over until he gets things right. At one point, contemplating whether he is "a god, not the God," Murray says, "Maybe He's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long He knows everything."

  • How High School ADs Can Rein in Questionable Coaching Behavior

    by Michael Popke December 2011

    The final months of 2011 brought almost weekly stories of high school coaches misbehaving.