How to Maximize Staff Retention

Staff fist bumps with members - how to maximize staff retention

If you want to retain people, you need to ask, “What do you want now?”

With your clients, this is done during Goal Review Sessions. But you can’t overlook your staff.

In this article, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Mentor Brian Strump gives us five ways he’s kept his staff around for years.

A 3-column table with staff names, date of hire and length of service in months.
Are you tracking staff retention?

Top 5 Ways to Keep Staff for Years

I’ll never forget when my mom told me this: “It makes such a difference to work for a boss who acknowledges your hard work instead of one who doesn’t.” Ever since I hired the first person to work with me, I’ve remembered those words. 

There are a number of reasons people will leave jobs, and while we have lost a few good folks over the last 17 years, I feel we have also done a great job at keeping the best people on our team long term. 

You can find many books on teamwork and team building, and I likely took a few pages out of them to bring together my ideas about how a team needs to work together for the benefit of all parties—the business, the staff and the clients. 

Here are five things you should consider to help keep your staff for years to come.

1. Love/Loathe Lists

People will do their best work if they enjoy what they are doing. When we groom staff to take on more responsibilities, I introduce the “Love/Loathe List.” Staff members make lists of all their roles and tasks and rate them from 1 to 10: A “1” means they’d be happy to never do the task again, and “10” is assigned to something they love. Your goal is to work with each person to maximize the work they love and minimize the work that drains them.  

2. Create Opportunities for Growth

If staff see a ceiling on advancement, they will eventually start looking for greater opportunities elsewhere. While learning new things requires time and brings challenges, you want staff members who are looking to take on more and grow with your company. If you cannot provide opportunities for growth, or if the staff person is not willing to grow as the business evolves, you might find the business has outgrown the person and a mutually beneficial relationship no longer exists between them.

3. Offer Meaningful Work

While the financial security a job offers is important, it’s not the only aspect staff consider. Many people work higher paying jobs and are miserable, and no amount of money balances the sense of dread when they get up every morning. While the goal must be to exceed your staff members’ financial needs, it’s also important to focus on hiring people who will find the work you offer meaningful. Staff who feel they are making an impact in the world and in individual lives are valuable assets.

4. Grace and Patience

I’ve been hiring and firing staff since 2004. After my daughter was born in 2012, I became an exponentially better leader of people. A baby forces you to have more grace and patience, and treating your staff people well goes a long way. Tip 1: Don’t react to something immediately. Tip 2: As much as you will want to treat each person on your staff the same, you cannot. They are all different people with different pasts and different needs. Be patient, listen, and respond to each person according to his or her needs, personality and communication style.

5. Expect Mistakes

This one might be the most important on the list. Unless you’re working in life-or-death situations, you need to accept that mistakes happen and failures are not fatal. Someone will sleep through an alarm clock and open late. Staff members will forget to bill a client, and they will sometimes fail to get that document in the mail on time. Life happens. When it doesn’t go as you wanted, planned or instructed, relax and breath. In “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath, they tell you to expect “potholes.” Obstacles are unavoidable in business, but they also give you opportunities to overdeliver to clients after mistakes. So the next time a mistake happens—and it will—ask yourself and your staff members, “How can we make this better?” Then help them learn from the error so it doesn’t happen again in the future. 

Other Media in This Series

“The Dream Manager”
“What Does Your Staff Really Want?”
“Stellar Staffing: Owner Gets COVID, Gym Marches On”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.