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June 24 2020

Part 1: Develop a culture of education and growth


It’s time to stop blaming millennials for their “work ethic” and “sense of entitlement” and start taking responsibility as business leaders for maximizing their potential. No way around it, employing millennials is key to the success of any fitness business. As the PEW Research Center sites, this generation as making up over one-third of the current workforce (56 million).

This generation gets a bad rap for being lazy and entitled but the truth is they just don’t respond to the antiquated leadership styles that have plagued corporate structures for decades. This can be a tough pill to swallow for aging managers still operating on a “back in my day” mentality, but the workforce is evolving alongside the industry. This means business owners and managers need to either catch-up or close-up.

Harnessing their full potential means managers must adopt an evolved leadership style and environment to bring out the creativity and value that this group of bright minds has to offer. If done right this can have a massive impact on the work culture and longevity of staff that trickles into positive member experiences and a high performing fitness business.

Remember that this group grew up with parents (some of you) telling them they could change the world and thankfully they are perfectly naive enough to be willing to do it.

Below is the first of 3 keys every business should keep in mind in order to harness the power of Millennial staff. Keep your eye out for Part 2 coming soon!

Key 1: Develop a culture of education and growth
“If you’re not growing you’re dying.” Millennials have been exposed to this message made famous by Tony Robbins for decades and grew up in the height of this new era of information access. The result is that many high-performing millennial employees put more stock in education and growth potential over income and sales bonuses (not that they hurt).

They want to know they work for an organization with leaders that value them and want to see them grow. They want to learn and improve, but it doesn’t happen on its own. The fitness businesses that pour into them with the most mentorship and continual education are likely to keep them for a long time to come. This means continually improving your 60-90 day onboarding process and developing a mentorship program that keeps them engaged beyond the minutiae of daily work.

This takes far more time than just teaching your front desk staff and new trainers the basics to get started, but the payoff is having to spend less time and money with staff turnover.

Plenty of research studies on this workforce have also shown the lack of daily motivation tied to money and financial rewards. This could mean opting out of traditional bonus structures and sales incentives gyms are known for. Instead, rewarding them through financing new certifications, paying to bring in outside education, and giving them experiences (like traveling to seminars as a team) could have a much greater impact.

Much like sales, though, you can’t fake it. Success in developing this kind of culture has to be a genuine core value of the leadership and business as a whole. The long-term payoff is a highly motivated team that doesn’t mind grinding out long days and going above and beyond for something they believe in.

Check back for part 2 coming soon!