5 Steps to Building a World Class Team


It’s a fact that the fitness industry is notorious for high employee turnover- an unfortunate opportunity cost that can be both financially draining and emotionally exhausting. So, how do you attract top talent and foster long-term staff loyalty so your business can run on auto-pilot?

Step 1 – Build a team culture

The very first step is creating a collaborative, team-oriented culture where all members feel like their thoughts and contributions matter. Building a team culture takes time and your culture is ultimately an extension of your core values as the owner. 

You must first define your core values, your vision and your mission and then teach it to your team members. Ultimately, they will help you carry this vision forward so it is extremely important that you work every day to instill your values in your team. You can do this by sharing your vision regularly and making sure your team is aligned and on the same page. If and when problems do arise or you notice that a team member does not embody your culture then you must address it right away. Having constructive conflict is just the nature of being a business owner.

Step 2 – Systemize your hiring process

Once you've laid down a strong foundation with a thriving culture the next step is to make sure you have a solid hiring process so you can attract the right team members.  Your hiring process starts with your job posting, and in order to attract the right talent your job posting must be inviting, compelling and start to sell your business.

Here’s a quick template to follow when your write your job posting:

  • An attractive job title – This is the most important element of your overall job posting. List the name of the position and the top 1-3 things that will make the job attractive. For example, you might say, “Passionate Fitness Professional for Growing Company” instead of “Personal Trainer Wanted.”
  • An Emotive Introduction – This is a short paragraph that shares 3-5 things that the applicant will find exciting about the position. The idea is to hook them into reading the entire posting.

Ex) Empower is hiring, and we are looking for passionate fitness professionals to join our TEAM. Empower is more than a “personal training gym” - Empower is a community of fit pros and clients who are dedicated to growing stronger, healthier and happier in all aspects of their lives. If you have a vision for excellence and you are ready for a new opportunity to then read on to see if this position is right for you. 

  • Your company story - Prospective employees want to know more about your business- how long you've been in business, interesting clients or projects, how long employees stay with you (if that is a selling point), awards, accolades, etc. How can you let the applicant get to know you better?

Ex) Empower is a rapidly expanding business with a proven track record of success. Since 2005 we have been leaders in the local fitness market, and we continue to evolve and lead with a visionary approach. We have redefined fitness to mean "empowered to create and experience the life you envision" and we help clients through our unique ThinkFUN, Get Fit, Eat Well approach to fitness. Our client population is diverse in age and fitness level and all of our programs are individualized to meet the clients' needs. If you love the sound of this opportunity then we want to talk to you!

  • Sell the position - Rather than a laundry list of bullet points, only include the list of skills that are essential to the job. Provide information on work hours, pay interesting co-workers, education opportunities, benefits, perks, etc. What are your selling points?

Ex)  You will be working alongside personal trainers, health coaches, group fitness instructors, nutritionists, massage therapists, and other allied health practitioners as part of our team employee model.

You will be fully trained and we will teach you how to build a solid book of personal training clients so you can maximize your earning potential.

We continually coach, mentor and motivate you to continue evolving and growing as a fitness professional.

We also offer benefits such as a health insurance stipend, a retirement savings plan, and flexible work schedules.

  • What to expect - Provide details about the interviewing and hiring process - next steps, timeline to starting position, etc. What is your hiring process and what can potential new hires expect after submitting a resume?

Ex) If you love the sound of this opportunity then we want to talk to you! To begin the application and screening process, please submit your resume to [email protected] along with a little more information about yourself - why you would love to work with us and why we MUST have you on our team.

Step 3 – Conduct a thorough interview process

Once you’ve mastered the job posting the next step is to make sure that you have a standardized interview process. Think of your interview process kind of like “dating” a new team member – you want to gain as much information as possible before you commit.

Here are 4 main types of interviews you should consider:

  • Phone screening - Before meeting a prospective new hire in person you may want to consider a phone screening. This step can save you time and energy as you pre-screen applicants, build rapport and share a bit more information about the position. In general, you are trying to confirm that they are good candidate to carry to the next stage of the interview process.
  • In-person interview – In this step, your goal is to ensure that the applicant has the necessary experience, skill set and industry knowledge to be on your team. You should ask specific questions that relate to your clientele and see how he/she answers them.

In addition to making sure they have the knowledge and expertise needed to be successful, you can also use the in-person interview as another way to gauge how they present themselves and build rapport. While it’s important to not “judge a book by its cover” it’s critical to be intuitive about what you observe. If you have high expectations for your team members and the applicant shows up 10 minutes late and is disheveled you should take that as a sign of what is to come. Unless there are extenuating circumstances it’s fair to assume that most people put their best foot forward upon meeting. If they are already falling behind you may be in for a long road should you decide to bring them on your team.

  • Practical interview – The practical interview is designed to show you how the candidate responds in real time. You want to see him/her in action so you can learn about their training style and see how they do when asked to work with a client that may be outside of their comfort zone. Provide them with a life-like scenario and see how they do.
  • Vision, Mission & Culture interview – If a candidate has made it this far then it’s likely that you are (almost) ready to make them an offer to join your team. But before you do make sure you complete this last step. In the vision, mission and culture interview you should discuss your company philosophy, your vision and how you see their unique skill set and experience contributing to the overall good of the team. You should also use it as a time to discuss the expectations of the position.

Step 4 – Onboard and train to your systems

Now that you’ve gotten a great new hire it’s time to really roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of helping them be successful. The first few days/weeks are critical so it’s best practice to have a probationary period where they are learning your systems and how to navigate your studio. Be prepared to spend some time training them to your systems, shadowing other employees and meeting people in your studio.

Step 5 – Provide ongoing training

We like to use this analogy of a coach. If you think about a championship team and the coach that brought that championship team to the championship, how did that happen?

Well, it happened through ongoing mentoring, coaching, training, drills, trying new things, practicing the things that they needed refinement on. It didn't just happen by rolling out the balls and hoping for the best. Essentially, as the owner of your business, that's what you are. You are the coach of a world championship team so it's up to you to continue to lean into the ongoing mentorship and growth of your team so that they can continue to lead and grow with you.

One way to provide ongoing training is through regular team meetings where you tackle issues together. 

Building a world class team is no easy feat, but it is possible when you get smart and systemize every step of the process.

How do you ensure that you are bringing great candidates to your team? We’d love to hear from you so share your thoughts in the comments below.

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