How to Get the Right People in the Right Roles at Your Gym

Image of Laurie Drummond with title text reading "How to Get the Right People in the Right Roles at Your Gym"

Mike (00:00):

Ever had a coach with fine credentials, but not an ounce of personality? How about a staff member with years of experience, but no empathy? What about a coach with a great resume, but no clue how to build rapport. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. We’re going to solve your staffing problems by teaching you to hire for persona. We’re back right after this. The people at Incite Tax know you’re working long hours to improve health for the world, but it can still be hard to turn a profit. You just can’t focus on your mission without money in your account. So Incite founder John Briggs wrote “Profit First for Mirogyms” and created a system that increases your cashflow so you can be home for dinner with a thriving fitness business. Bookkeeping, profit first, cash flow consulting, taxes, whatever your financial needs, Incite can help. Join their free five-day challenge at profitfirstformicrogyms/five days to get a snapshot of the financial health of your gym. That’s profitfirstformicrogyms/five days. .

Mike (00:53):

Welcome back to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin. Toda,. I’m talking with Laurie Drummond. She’s a certified Two-Brain mentor, a veteran of the Australian Army and the CEO ofUWltra CrossFit in Brisbane. We’re going to solve your hiring problems on this episode. All right, Laurie Drummond, welcome to Two-Brain Radio. How are you today?

Laurie (01:10):

Thanks Mike. I’m good. Thank you.

Mike (01:12):

And, what time is it where you are right now in the world?

Laurie (01:15):

Well, thankfully it’s nine o’clock in the morning. Unlike our 4:00 AM start with some of the Two-Brain guys this morning.

Mike (01:23):

You start that early with the mentorship?

Laurie (01:25):


Mike (01:27):

Wow. That’s incredible. I’m at 6 pm. So I’m just wrapping up my day is you starting, we’re finishing. We’re gonna help some gym owners today. The whole goal is to help them with hiring. It’s such a huge thing. You make a mistake, it costs you a ton, you get it right, you have an amazing employee. So many gym owners say they struggle with staff. Were you always good at hiring or has it been a learning process for you or how did you come about learning how to hire.

Laurie (01:49):

Definitely not something I’ve been good at in the past. And I think we always will continue to struggle. We just get better at the things that we do. What we’re seven years into our business and still learning. And that’s what I love. That’s what I love about business. You’re always learning new tricks and tricks and tips, which is fantastic. But for me, I struggled definitely at the start, but also because I initially I used to just have the gym as a hobby. You know, it wasn’t really a business for me. It probably was, but I didn’t necessarily see it that way. It was more of a hobby. So I definitely just, I filled the gaps, filled some holes with whoever was around, whoever could cover some shifts, and then started to realize that I needed to be a little bit more savvy with things.

Laurie (02:32):

And then all I started to do really was still bandaid things. You know, there was a gap, you know, or I needed more times, so would do less coaching because, you know, I had things overseas and stuff, but, again, I was just filling gaps, little bandaid fixes, and that I guess was a massive problem. And I still see that a lot today when I’m talking to some of my mentees, you know, around the time when we knew that the summit was coming up again. And, you know, there was an opportunity to speak. This was a big issue for a lot of people at that time I found there was this theme with a lot of people that I was talking to that, Oh, I need to get new staff. Ir not only that, but they needed staff. They needed staff to grow their business, but a lot of people already had some pretty good staff in their business, but not necessarily had them, you know, doing the right job, fit for their personality or their persona or for their gyms ‘needs. So that was something that was identified to me quite a while ago. And you know, we still have that issue today.

Mike (03:35):

This is the Two-Brain Summit that’s coming up in just a little bit of time. Originally it was gonna be live in Chicago because of COVID decided to take it online so that everyone around the world can get around travel restrictions by using the internet and Laurie’s topic was going to be hiring for the persona. So we’ve got the benefit today of getting her on Two-Brain Radio, to talk to you about exactly that. And you still can buy tickets to the Two-Brain summit if you want. We’ve got some amazing speakers there, including Chris Cooper, check that out online. If you do want to do it, and you also have regional meetup options. So if you can’t make it online, you can certainly go to one of the regional hubs and with the different restrictions, you’ll be able to sit with a small group and get the benefit of in person training. So you’ve learned over the years, you said, to hire better. For years, resumes lists of qualifications, you know, all those things were a huge deal. And I remember updating my resume and adding things to it. And I know I’m good at word and spreadsheets and stuff like that. And a lot of gym owners would get a resume and look and say, wow, this guy, or this girl has 10 credentials. He or she must be great. How important do you find the credentials and job history are in the industry now?

Laurie (04:37):

I think credentials are great. But I also kinda think they’re a bit of a shiny object, you know, they do play a role and there is a need for this in different states or provinces and countries. But I think in the fitness industry, it’s not, it’s generally, it’s not the number one item and it’s certainly not the number one item that I’m looking for. So, I think how somebody responds to your job ad or who has recommended them, or perhaps did you do a, you know, an email or a phone screen? You do a little bit of a social media footprint check. So that’s me doing a bit of background check on people.

Mike (05:14):

That’s a good one that you can find a lot of stuff on there. Hey.

Laurie (05:17):

Yeah. And that tells you a lot more about who you’re about to meet or potentially bring into your organization, which for a lot of people is their baby, you know, so you really do have to comb over who you’re bringing on into the business. Again, for me, it was something I had to shift my mindset and realize that this was a business that I wanted. And I think—and that I wanted to make it something bigger. I want it to be able to impact others. I wanted to be able to positive really, I guess, create opportunities for others as well. I think once you change that mindset and realize you do want something bigger, you understand the importance of who is coming into your business to help you do that.

Mike (05:53):

I’m going to pull out one tip just for listeners right now, right off the top. And it’s one that I hadn’t thought of when you’re looking to hire for persona, check out social media, do a little as we call it light stalking in the industry here and check. But seriously, like you can tell a lot about a person when you look at what that person posts on social media. So that is a great tip right now. If you’re taking notes, do that one, whenever you get an applicant, look at their credentials, but then go further and check out what they’re doing online. Is this person fun? Is this person mean, is this person happy? Is this person, you know, does he, or she even have a profile at all, do some checking on that person, get back to what you’re saying Laurie. That was a great tip right off the bat.

Laurie (06:30):

Well, an important part to that is, you know, we have a vision of our gym and where it’s going, or, you know, the type of service and impact we want to have on our clients. So what’s important to us is people that we’re bringing into it, that they have the same values as what you do. And I think you can see that on social media profiles, comments by other people and comments by that person, you got to make sure that your views and values align in some way. So I think that’s super important. The last thing you want is to hire somebody and then have them openly, you know, saying derogatory things or something that just doesn’t sit well with you because it does impact your business. And you can have that in your contract that they, they can’t do things like that, but then you can’t enforce things like that. So it’s who they are. And they’re allowed to say what they want as well. They should have that option, but it doesn’t necessarily align with yours. And that’s something that you need to know before you bring them on board.

Mike (07:29):

So credentials important and job history and experience are important, but they’re not the most important thing. Would that be accurate?

Laurie (07:37):

It is accurate. And I’ll tell you, I’ve done a lot of work overseas. Put some pretty amazing jobs over there. Many of them they’ve included working with people that had really, they were really highly educated. And there is certainly a need obviously for education. But what I have noticed from those particular jobs is that they don’t succeed without people around them. And it’s the people that have the experience around them that support, you know, I guess the educational knowledge that they have, they complement each other and that’s how they succeed. So I find for me, I definitely like experience. I think that is important. Credentials do play a role. Personality is huge. And I think that’s why a lot of us in the gym industry, we run some really successful internships within our business. Two-Brain does it as well before you work with Two-Brain, you go through a great internship. Um, it’s long and it’s thorough. And it’s constant. Like you’re constantly learning. We do the same thing in our gyms. That’s why the Two-Brain Coaching course was developed to help people as well, you know, onboard their staff, you know, to make sure so again, you’re teaching. They don’t necessarily have to have those skills, all the skills that you need, cause you can still teach people these things, but do they have the personality?

Mike (08:57):

To throw out two resources for listeners, one of them is a done for you hiring plan and detailed job descriptions for gym owners. That is a gigantic article on our blog. And it’s super thorough. It’ll tell you all the roles that you need in your gym, what the people in those roles need to do, what you should pay them, how to find them, the whole deal characteristics. Now that’s the quote, unquote, the hard skills. We’re not talking necessarily personality there, but that’s a great resource for you if you are looking that way. And then the other one is a blog called training coaches, how to find new coaches. And that’s one of Chris Cooper’s articles and he talks about different ways to find staff. And it’s a really, really good one for you to take a look at. Chris has talked a lot about hiring for personality and teaching the other stuff later. And Two-Brain coaching really talks about that, where you find good people and then you teach them how to be coaches. So you are going to speak about hiring the persona. What does that exactly mean? And how does that fall in line with what Chris is talking about?

Laurie (09:52):

OK, let me say so when you’re hiring a persona, I guess what you’re looking for is that that specific person, they understand the need of the customer and the client, and they can adjust their personality to the needs of that client. So they already exude qualities that you’re looking for in a person, you know, for that role. Now of course every single role is going to have the need for a different persona. You know, and sometimes in the gyms we have a staff member that carries out several roles.

Mike (10:23):

So just to jump in. So in terms of roles in the gym, you’ve got, everybody thinks coach right away, but there are also client success managers. You’ve got bookkeepers, you’ve got cleaners, you’ve got all sorts of different things that are in there in some gyms there are advertising or managing salespeople. Other gyms, there are some of the bigger gyms have like, operations managers and things like that. So there’s all sorts of different roles, not just coaching.

Laurie (10:47):

Yep. That’s exactly right. And I think the big thing is when you’ve got a role, you’ve actually got to map out, you know, when we talk about mapping out the client’s experience, which we call the client journey, OK. That is extremely important. Like that is probably the number one thing that we think is going to help us succeed with retention and keeping clients, giving them that great personal experience. I guess the same thing is with your business is that you need to know the vision of your business, but you also need to know when you think you see that there’s a gap in your business and you are hiring, let’s talk maybe about an admin role. For example, you feel the need that you need to step up into a higher value role. And you realize that some of the administrative tasks, you might not like doing them anymore.

Laurie (11:29):

Maybe you’re not a very organized person or you’re time poor, or you’ve got lots of family things going on. So you are talking to your mentor or you just come to the realization, I need an admin. You need to map out that admin’s journey. So you need to know what their roles and tasks are. And yes, we give templates, you know, but I think that’s the best thing that having the mentor too. When you can use your template, but when you can actually create all the tasks to fill your needs and not just cookie cutter style, we don’t just go, Oh, these are all the admin roles. That’s our tasks that I need. Cause you might not need all those. So you can, you know, don’t be afraid to change what those tasks are and add some different, I guess, roles into the job description for that person as well. But you need to understand there’s three categories we look at about a persona in a person and one is, you know, we’re looking at how they think, how they feel. And then what are the barriers to the specific job role? I don’t know if that makes too much sense just yet.

Mike (12:34):

It does, but keep going and we’ll jump right into it. And again, referencing this, this job descriptions template we have here, I’ll just give you an example for administrators, you know, they love details. They’re precise, tidy, and organized. They always know what time it is. They take instructions, follow checklists. They know how to use general office equipment and software and so forth. It goes on and on like that. Coaches are a little bit different. Coaches don’t necessarily need to know how to use the billing software. Some of course do. Coaches are much different in terms of what they need to bring to the table. And they’re looking at like empathy. And like you said, connecting with clients. Some clients need a screaming coach who says, you know, motivating and very aggressive, or other clients need like more of a cajoling kind, you know, leader. It’s different for every client. So the ability to all your clients have different personalities. So the ability to modulate your own personality to interact with those clients is a huge one. Step back into what you were talking about there with those three elements.

Laurie (13:30):

I love those checklists. They’re fantastic. And they are part of what we’re talking about here. So that is definitely the first section when mapping out, you know, the role of the journey of that specific role. And so when I talk about how do they think, how did they feel and what are their barriers, thinking, or, sorry, not just thinking, but it’s their brain and how they operate. So those characteristics that you just mentioned for the administrator and the coach, they are probably more in that top end of the brain, how the brain thinks and the characteristics that we need, but then we need to understand how they feel. So, you know, do they work well in a team? Do they work well solo? And we need to ask them these sorts of things. And I guess, look at their history on how they’ve operated previously.

Laurie (14:12):

Are they loyal? You know, what are some of the other, you know, values that they have as well, because that comes down to feeling, can we trust them? Are they committed? You know, the other thing is, I guess, are they open to change? Are they willing to learn all those sorts of things? And then the other things, what are the barriers as well to, you know, like an administrative role or coaching, and this depends from country to country and province to province, because I know the wages here in Australia are high compared to some of the States in the U S and definitely in the UK. But for example, you know, the admin role, is it, you know, is it I guess someone that flexible hours, so someone that can come, you know, the school hours.

Laurie (14:57):

So is it suited to a single mum, for example, or a single dad, or, you know, a uni student, because, you know, they’re doing full time uni as well. Generally the administrative role would be a lower paid role. So that’s also going to be a barrier for some people. You know, they might be, again, if they’re a single parent, they’ve got other responsibilities. So that’s also a barrier for that role, but does it affect your business? So you map out all these things. And I guess if you did a little workshop of all the people that have applied for the job, you start to learn more and more about them before you even interview them. And I think, as I said earlier, for me, I like to do a little bit of a screen first and you know, many of us when we are putting a job ad out, depending on what the job is, we don’t just say, send your CV or your resume to this email address.

Laurie (15:44):

And let’s just crack on. You know, if it’s an administrative role, we might say, I want you to upload your CV to this Google drive and then send an email, responding to these few questions and you might do a little test or something like that. And then you give them, yeah. So you’re just doing that little test. Like, can they follow instruction? Are they organized? Did they meet the timeline? How do they spell, what’s their English like, can they structure some good, decent sentences. And, I think that’s important because they’re representing your business.

Mike (16:18):

It really is and like I’ve used that in previous careers, when I was running media stuff and getting writers to do things, I would send them instructions. And the whole point of the instruction was just to see if they could actually do it on time. And if they couldn’t, you know, they’re not going to hit a deadline ever. Right. So I love that idea and that works for certain roles, but that persona doesn’t thrive in other roles, which is super interesting. And a good example is like Chris Cooper, Two-Brain founder, he can come up with more great ideas in 10 minutes than I’ll have in a month. But what he relies on is his staff and he’s hired specific people to fill in the details behind. So he comes up with an idea and they build the structures around that, where he’s recognized what the strength of his personality is, and then filled in other people around that. And I’m definitely one of the other side where I like to build and details and do all that kind of stuff. And I don’t have as many good ideas. So that’s a fascinating one again, guys, if you’re thinking of, so again, roles, you can find these ways if you’re hiring to create small tasks and get some information on the persona that you’re dealing with. So, you know you have the right person for the role. That’s a great one.

Laurie (17:18):

Yep. And then of course, you know, with the phone screen, your understanding their the phone call mannerisms, and of course, if they’re doing some sort of lead nurture role or they’re an administrator, or they’re following up with people, you want to know you their language and how they speak. And, that’s again, representing your business. And then obviously the social media to understand their values and things like that. So some of the characteristics, I guess, make a good persona. Like that’s something that we kind of know what they are, but what should we avoid is probably a better question.

Mike (17:51):

Let’s start with that. And we’ll get into some ideal ones after that, but talk about like, I would love to know, you know, let’s focus maybe on what we can focus on whatever roles you want, but in terms of coaches, like other specific things that in a coaching role that people should just right away back away from?

Laurie (18:09):

That’s a great question. What should you not? You know, again, this is really going to depend on the person because everyone’s, I think your team is a mish-mash of different personalities that complement each other. So I don’t know if there’s specific qualities. I think that woud they might offend people if I say what they are, but I wouldn’t necessarily go into specific qualities, but I mean, things like tardiness, they need to be on time. You know, if you’re supposed to be there 15 minutes earlier, if you’re not prepared for the workout, if you can’t brief it in line with the directions that the head coach has placed out for you, if you’re not open to feedback in the first evaluation, if you’re not, and I guess biggest quality for me is if you’re not helping the business succeed, or you can’t help us grow as a team and a business, then you’re definitely not the right fit.

Mike (19:02):

So there’s some of the qualities that you kind of hit on there, like you know, an arrogance not willing to take feedback would certainly be a bad one. Laziness or a lack of preparedness or an unwillingness to invest and follow procedures. And again, as business owners, we try and give people a wide court to play in right where you can do all the stuff and find the best way to help the client within these boundaries. And when you start to step outside our policies and procedures, that’s a problem. So someone who’s not willing to get in line with that is an issue. And I’ll give you one example, a situation I had. It was a female coach, and she talked over people even in the interview, the first interview that we had, she was constantly interrupting and talking over people. And I knew that that was not going to go over well with our clients because our clients don’t come to get talked over and lectured about fitness and physiology and sarcomeres in the anatomy of the quads. No one cares. And that’s like, so right away, that was sort of that combination of arrogance and a little bit of not being able to interact with people. So that’s kind of what you’re talking about on phone conversations. How do people interact? And the empathy, I think is a big one in that one, and this person did not have empathy. So that was interesting.

Laurie (20:11):

Yup. You know, and also being able to adapt, you know, if you’re talking about coaches, cues to different people, or one of the big things is are they able to, you know, put a modification in that still warrants the same stimulus that the head coach has set out for the class? You know, all those little things are important, but one of the most important things for me is do they make my members feel safe in that gym?

Mike (20:38):

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Laurie (21:23):

That’s personality, definitely. For me, that’s certainly my view. I mean, there could be other opinions and that’s good too, but for me, it’s personality. Someone needs to feel comfortable around them. You know, you don’t want to be doing back squats and then feel like eyes on you and feel uncomfortable if someone’s a bit creepy or I don’t want anyone ever feeling like that. And I think that’s happened previously. And it’s, you know, something that you need to action on straightaway. And I have fired someone previously who has made members feel uncomfortable through looking at them inappropriately in the gym and texting them and messaging outside of the gym. However, using that person’s role within the gym to try and I guess, draw that member in saying, why don’t you do a school session with PT knowing that that member is, married or, you know, taken, or certainly not interested either way. It doesn’t even matter. It’s out of line, it’s unprofessional as certainly unacceptable. And if it makes the member feel bad and unsafe, and that sort of, you know, message got out to other members, no one’s going to want to come to your gym in a position like that? So for me straightaway, I had to fire that person.

Mike (22:40):

So I was thinking originally in terms of sort of safety and just like the fitness sense where people are thinking of, you know, will I injure my back on this deadlift? And that’s certainly one element of it, but this is a whole different thing. And it’s becoming increasingly important as we, you know, we start to kind of examine the way behaviors and so forth safety in terms of like, this is a safe space, that’s what you’re talking about. So it was like inappropriate behaviors, you know, whether it’s like someone who’s like sexually inappropriate staring at people, inappropriate advances because we have a professional relationship. And, you know, we all know people who have gotten married in a gym setting, but there are certainly lines that you do not cross as a coach. So that’s what you’re talking about and that safety really comes from just being, I guess, we’ll call it an honorable person.

Laurie (23:23):

Yep. And I’ll tell you what, as a leader, I guess, for all of the business owners, you know, as a leader that was, you know, we did a bit of a vet with this person in the first place and had the skills and could do some really good skills that I was like, Oh my gosh, we’re going to be able to grow our specialties. And, you know, the thought of having to fire that person, I thought, Oh my goodness, we’re going back. And I didn’t really want to do it, but I knew I had to do it. Thankfully I had a mentor that said, crack on, let’s do it and responded to me at 10:00 PM at night, which was fantastic. And we did, we made it all happened within the space of 12 hours, which was, you know, which was overnight. And that was fantastic. And we did take a little step backwards, but you know what, the person that fulfilled that role, you know, and every time that, you know, a coach has moved on or we’ve had to move a coach on every time we’ve gotten better at hiring. And we’ve always seen our gym grow so much more because new people are keen, they’re keen to learn, they’re malleable, so you can, you know, guide them. And they, you know, they’ve got all this energy that just always brings you up a notch.

Mike (24:29):

If you didn’t fire that person, you’d have to think that at some point, you know, it would poison the well, right where someone would, you know, maybe, maybe one person doesn’t notice and three do or something like that. But all of a sudden inappropriate behavior, the bad apple kind of ruins the whole pile and everything goes wrong. I think you were absolutely right to take action. I think the same is true, stepping slightly away from staffing, but the same is true where we tell clients regularly to fire weed clients. Where you have people at your gym that are just not good people. They’re not a good fit. They’re bringing you down and yeah, maybe you need that membership and you really want that, you know, that revenue, but the person is ultimately going to cost you stuff long term. And so that’s what you did here and by doing so and taking action swiftly, your members obviously understood that this was a safe place and that kind of behavior wouldn’t stand.

Laurie (25:12):

Yeah, absolutely. We’ve done that quite a few times too, but I tell you just thinking of another staff issue that I’ve had previously is, and it’s a quality that absolutely doesn’t align with my values. And is an automatic dismissal for me as well, is someone that starts talking about other staff members behind their back, especially to the members, you know, I don’t think they’re doing that right. I don’t believe in our nutrition program. It’s they don’t do it right. Or that’s not the right thing. Or, and they, again, it’s definitely poisoning the well. And that has definitely happened to us. And we’ve lost members for it. We lost many members because we allowed that person to stay on longer. But the moment that person left, gained all new members back, you know, better quality members.

Laurie (26:00):

And again, don’t have that issue, but all these things that we’re afraid to do is to not, and I’m not going to say fire staff members. Cause that sounds terrible, but it all comes down to hiring the right person for the job. And I’m a big believer that, you know, you just because you have a staff member that’s got you from point a to point B. It doesn’t mean that that staff member can take your business from point B to point C and vice versa. We can’t always grow them as well. And sometimes it just, we come to an end and so be it. It’s probably the best for both worlds that they crack on their way. And we go our way as well. And I think that’s a massive rule for me, but being able to identify that he’s important as well.

Mike (26:39):

Well, it’s interesting that we’re hitting on morals here a lot. Like some of the stuff we’re talking about is like, is less about coaching credentials and things like it’s more about morals and, you know, being a good person and so forth. And the one you pointed out is a great one. I think, I believe Ben Bergeron wrote about this in the CrossFit Journal a number of years ago. And he said something about how it’s really important for leaders and especially in a gym setting to speak up when someone’s speaking behind someone’s back. Because if you don’t the implications that you’re OK with that. And members who hear someone talking about someone else will then assume that they’re going to, as soon as they leave, you’ll be talking about them. And so that’s a really important one. And you’re talking again about, you know, human courtesy, kindness, being a solid upstanding person who just isn’t going to do, you know, crappy things for lack of a better term. So it’s fascinating how that shows up more and more again, we’re not because we can teach someone to squat, but we can’t teach them how to be a nice person, you know?

Laurie (27:32):

Well, see that goes back to understanding your gym’s vision and your gym’s values. OK. So if you know your vision and values and the direction that your business is going, you know, the roles of staff that you need, and you understand the journey of that role. So writing out all the tasks, who’s responsible for what and you understand that as well, then you are going to be hiring and then, and then going through that hiring process of, you know, getting their resume or CV, I’m not sure what you guys call it over there. So getting a look at that, then doing some sort of screening, then having an interview, maybe it’s two interviews, maybe, you know, your head coach, if it’s a coach in particular, excuse me, your head coach might do the initial interview.

Laurie (28:20):

And then you do the second interview or you do the first interview. And then the whole team does a little bit of a workout together to see what they’re like, you know, this also comes down to, are you hiring from within, or are you hiring from outside? And both of them have pros and cons to them. So one of the things that we do for people coming from the outside, you know, if we need to fill a position fast, sure. That’s maybe a bit different, but generally we’ll take the hit and we get the potential new staff member into the gym and give them a free membership for a little while and get them amongst the members, see how they interact. Because after, you know, and then I guess the interview process with them is not asking them a whole heap of interview questions, you know, just be normal, I guess.

Laurie (29:13):

As if you were an I’ve done this before, I’ve just taken them out for a coffee, let’s meet at the cafe and just have a coffee. And it’s, you know, when you’re in a comfortable and casual setting like that, and it’s just the first interview, it really depends if they’re admin or a coach, you might do it at the gym, but, you know, I want them to be comfortable. I want to talk all about them, get to know, you know, what they’ve done previously and, you know, get them in that comfortable state where they let their guard down just that little bit and they can be who they are. And then I start asking them a few questions that starts to form, you know, I guess it allows me to evaluate where this person’s going, what they want and how they would fit within our business.

Mike (29:58):

So this gets into how you’re identifying their persona, because you can’t really get that from a resume, you know, not much. You can get a little bit from social media, like you said, you can get much more from a phone call where you hear their, you know, their vocal inflection, their tone, how they interact, whether they listen for pauses and interrupt you. You can certainly get even more than that, like on a zoom call. A lot of us are dealing with that right now with COVID restrictions. Seeing eyes and faces and reactions is a big deal, nothing beats in person. And that’s why we always like clients to come into the gym and talk to us in person when we’re meeting them for the first time and prescribing stuff. So you’re talking as opposed to just having an interview, going up for coffee with the person, just hanging out and chatting. In that coffee, do you bring up like gym and career and lifestyle goals and hiring stuff? Or do you just kind of shoot the breeze and see what happens? What’s your plan?

Laurie (30:53):

Yeah, always start. And I do this with my staff quarterly anyway, I take them out for brekky. So it’s lots of bacon and eggs. Yes. Fantastic. And I do the same thing and the first kind of caution of the conversation is always just, you know, shoot the breeze or chew the fat as we like to say. And I just want to chat with them and get to know them better. So if I’m constantly talking about the gym and everything that I want, I’m not really learning about them and who they are. So it’s just finding out how’s things going, how’s your partner or your kids. And do you have kids and how’s uni going? And I know that you’ve moved out into this particular suburb. Are you guys looking to buy soon, blah, blah, blah. How’s work. If they’re doing work. It’s just finding out more about them.

Laurie (31:32):

One of the questions I always like to say, what are your dreams and goals? Like, where do you kind of see yourself in three to five years? What is it that you want or you want to be? And that is a big question. And it’s important. If you’ve just been talking to them about them, they’re starting to feel comfortable now to share that with you. And I’ve learned that, you know, when you let, if you can get their guards down, they will come to you about just about anything and everything, which is fantastic, because then you’re on the forefront, you know where they’re going. And you know if they’re going to be part of your business or they’re going off to do their own, or maybe that’s a great opportunity for you to then go, well, this person’s a bit of a go getter. Maybe I need to create some opportunity within our own business for them and for us, because this person’s got what it takes. And you start to learn all those qualities about that person. You know, if they’re driven or if they just, this is a stop gap for them until they can go off and become an engineer or whatever that is, which is also OK.

Mike (32:32):

These are two questions here related. Have you gone out for these coffee meetings, with potential staff members and hired some and not hired others? Like, has it gone both ways? So has there ever been a meeting where you sat down with someone and you just, weren’t quite sure about it based on, you know, first interactions or whatever resumes or whatever. And then that person just hit it out of the park and it was, you’re like, wow, I need to hire this person. Or did it ever go the other way?

Laurie (32:58):

So my current head coach and my previous admin, they were two. So the admin lady, I took her for a coffee and I was like, I love this girl. I love her personality. She’s going to be amazing at retaining customers and reaching out to anyone, she’s organized. She was timely. She was friendly. She was amazing. She was like, boom, she’s got the job. The head coach right now. He came from outside as well. And by the end of that interview, I knew he was the right fit. And he’s been with us for three years now. And he wasn’t the head coach at the time. He was a coach and he only took on head coach about a year ago and has done amazing things. I knew he was the right fit straightaway as well.

Mike (33:37):

Some of the characteristics earlier, what were some of the things specific to him, if you don’t mind sharing that made you start to think this is the perfect fit. Like what did he do or say, or even just like what happened that made you feel like that.

Laurie (33:48):

Personality, both of those cases were the personality piece. He, the head coach, for example, he wasn’t a CrossFitter for example, he was just not just, he was a gym guy and he’s managed another gym somewhere else, like a, what we would call a globo gym or whatever, which, but I like the idea of getting outside in, I also like the idea of bringing people through, but whenever you get someone from outside, they’ve got different ideas and views and they’re creative and it can really impact and improve your business because you have never thought of it that way, because we’ve always been so specific in the way that we think, well, we’ve only been touched and influenced by certain, you know, methods or processes. But so for him, I guess his experienced what he had done. His energy was good for me.

Laurie (34:40):

He was, Oh, he’s kind of like as anal as I am, I suppose. And so was the admin, you know, they like things specific and very good. And, yeah, I just knew it was just this feeling that I had, that this person is the right fit. And then, like I said, then I got them into the gym to do a couple of classes, to, you know, mingle amongst the others, do a staff workout together or a staff event, you know, social things. So you get to see how they interact with the others and what other people think. And there, my other staff’s opinion always matters to me as well.

Mike (35:15):

Fascinating. So you’re, you know, interacting with these people and just, you have a sort of a feeling out process where you know, you talk to them about everything and getting more specific, getting, you know, really letting them just show who they are, bringing them into the gym, have a workout with them. See if your other staff members like them, like, is this person going to be like oil and water? Or is he or she going to mix in nicely? Or are we shaving reps anywhere in the workout?

Laurie (35:39):

That’s just me now. That’s just me. So I can still be number one. I’m definitely not number one. They’re always waiting for me and encouraging me to finish it. But one of the things is what I will say is I do still ask some hard questions. So I start off, you know, and just get to know them first and even is it worth asking them some hard questions because I have had, you know, you asked me if I’ve had good people where I’ve known on the spot and then have there been people where I’m like, Oh my God, absolutely not. And I have had the absolutely not a couple of times to the point where I, we really needed somebody and this person had great qualifications and seemed good, but there was something that just wasn’t sitting and it was, you know, it was his personality.

Laurie (36:25):

He had this arrogance that I wasn’t sure with. So got him in. And I paired him up with one of the other coaches to do a partner workout together. And the other coach didn’t give me very good feedback. Then I allowed him to have a two week membership just to see, and then we would make the decision. And then he just didn’t gel. He was, I guess he was so arrogant and couldn’t take feedback from any of the other coaches, didn’t really form genuine relationships. It was all surface and very clear. You could see that. I’m gonna absolutely not. That is not happening. So that was easy. But one of the hard questions that I like to ask people, put them on the spot there as well is, how do you think you can help our business grow and/or increase revenue?

Mike (37:11):

That’s a good one because you’ll know right away, if someone, what kind of person that you’re dealing with, because we talk about the intrapreneurial model at Two-Brain, which if you don’t know that it’s staff members who work in your business to grow their own programs and generate revenue for you. And that’s like you said earlier, are these people go getters? So if someone says, Oh, I have four ideas for specialty programs, and I want to try a kids program. I want to do a nutrition thing. I have four clients that are already ready. You know, that whole thing. Then you know, that person’s one direction. If the person’s kind of shrugs a little bit and just kind of wants a coaching schedule for $20 an hour and come to the 9:00 AM class, you know immediately what that person’s persona is. That’s a great question.

Laurie (37:53):

Exactly. And you know what, you also know if they know about your business, have they done their research to know what specialties you have or what what the background of the business is. And, you know, even if they are that person that just wants to come in and coach, because they are, you know, pilot, an engineer or, you know, anything, they’ve just got a full time job somewhere else or anything like that, that’s OK. There might be a space for them and that’s what you want. But most of us are looking for someone that has the mindset of growth they want to grow, whether it’s both personally and professionally, and that they’re willing to help your business grow and move forward too, because our business is never going to stay the same. We want it to grow. We want it to develop an advance and have we got the team on board to take us there? And if you’re not advancing, that’s probably one of the first places I would look is, have I got the right staff in the right jobs? Or is it just me? And is it time to get someone in, you know, for two to three hours to make sure I can develop a great client journey and give, at least give my customers a great experience so I’ve got retention, which is also fantastic. But definitely staff is the most, you know, it’s a bit of a make and break for your business.

Mike (39:02):

Yeah. And it’s really interesting because staffing is traditionally looked at as a cost. But if you get the right people in an intrapreneurial role, especially in the 4/9ths model that Two-Brain teaches and that person is generating revenue and taking home 44% of it, staff isn’t a cost. Staff becomes such an asset because they’re generating, you know, up to two and a half or three times or more what they’re being paid. And the gym is thriving. They’re thriving. Everyone’s happy. Now, again, like you said, that’s not to say that there isn’t a role for hourly people because there certainly is in some business models, but it would be a mistake to try and get a person who just wants an hourly wage to try and grow. And it never works. Right.

Laurie (39:38):

And I remember a mentor that I used to have a few years ago, Anastasia. And I said, I can’t afford to hire someone else. She goes, Laurie, you need to spend money to make money.

Mike (39:52):

I could hear her saying that too. She’s direct.

Laurie (39:55):

She was very direct and matter of fact, which is great. I work well to that. And I was like, right. I’ve got no comeback to that. Have I?

Mike (40:02):

  1. Got it. Let me ask you, that was a great question. Do you have any other hard questions you could share with our listeners that might give them some stuff to do? That was a great one.

Laurie (40:09):

Yes I do. Actually. What’s a couple of other things that I say is, so after we’ve broken down some of the barriers and I know their hobbies and dreams, ask the harder questions, some things like what happens if another staff member doesn’t seem to be treating you well, what would you do? And then something like, well, what would you do if a member was complaining about another staff member outside of hours or in the class, you know? So I’m really kind of assessing their loyalty. Everyone has the values that are close to them. One of my big ones is loyalty. I’m loyal to people. I’m loyal to my business. I am loyal to my staff and a hundred percent, you know, would support them in any decision that they make, unless they are completely wrong, obviously, but you are loyal to them. And I would expect that they are the same for us and including their fellow staff members. And I think I want to know how they would react. And have they ever been in a position like that as well? If someone was to make a complaint to them you know, would they stand up for us or would they just let us know? Or, you know, what’s their method of responding to those sorts of situations.

Mike (41:18):

Yeah. You get a little bit of problem solving in there, but you also get a little bit of you get to see people’s moral compass and kind of how they navigate squidgy situations. Really cause somebody, I’m sure you’ve had some great answers and you’ve probably had some other answers that were like, yeah, that’s not going to work here.

Laurie (41:35):

And so like, if it was an admin, for example, I would say to them, so we don’t do discounts here. So if someone, you know, you’re talking to somebody on the phone and they say, Oh, but I’ve got my husband and my three kids want to do it as well. Will you give us a discount? How would you respond to something like that? You know? Or, can I get it? We don’t do refunds. If they haven’t given you sufficient notice or something, but someone’s gone and said, Oh, can I have a refund? And then I put them in different positions. OK. Well, what if I were to ask, you know, I’ve just been in hospital and this happens, you know, it’s some crazy story that’s just happened. Do you give them a refund then? Sometimes there’s a reason is sometimes there’s a, you know, a case by case reason, your standard policy is no, but this person’s genuine giving you a genuine story. What would you say to that? So I like to see again, you’re assessing their moral compass, but you’re also assessing how they deal in those sorts of situations. And you’ll start to see them squirm because they like, Oh my gosh, what’s the right answer. And again, they can learn these things. Remember that.

Mike (42:36):

Yeah. And you want to know what do they have good judgment, you know? And like, there are situations like, you know, maybe you do need to give this person a refund. And like, we always have black and white policies, but every, so often something comes along where maybe there is an exception and that’s fascinating. So those are some really good questions guys. Again, as you’re taking notes, those are some really solid questions you can use to just assess the person that you’re dealing with, who they are, how they think, what they do. And what were the three things you said again, it’s how they think?

Laurie (43:06):

How they think, how they feel and what are the barriers.

Mike (43:10):

Let me ask you before we close out here, barriers, what kind of barriers have you seen people have come up in these conversations, that you’ve had that you’ve been able to work around or barriers that you were just like, these are insurmountable?

Laurie (43:25):

Single parents, school hours. I’ve got to go and, you know, university, there’s always, you know, those exams come up every quarter and all the staff is stressed out and they’re doing their exams. Things like I’ve got a, you know, uni placements or job placements that all the uni students have to do. They’ve been big barriers that we, we just work around and it’s all about communication, right? The more information they can give you and time you guys can make plans and that’s no biggie. Things like people going overseas, fighter roles. There’s a lot of people that have, you know, or they’ve got a job such as flying fly out, or, pilots, people that, you know, work away, you know, ad hoc, all those sorts of things. I think they can, you can still work with them. Shift work is very hard to work with, to have a consistent roster. But is that something for that specific role that you are offering? Can you work around those barriers? Cause that’s important. Cause the admin, you can’d have a fighter worker for an admin role.

Mike (44:30):

Yeah, that definitely sense. And here in Canada. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia, but Canada summer is like a precious season. Right? Cause you have such brutal winters. So when summer rolls around, there’s that whole, you know, loyalty personality thing is this staff member going to vanish for two or three months and leave us hanging because the gym still runs. You know? So that’s an interesting one where you’ve got to find those barriers and work around them or not, or look for someone better. So as we finish off here, imagine a listener is out there looking to hire a staff member two weeks. And this is always a struggle for gym owners. Some people are better at it than others, but most people don’t know how to do it. What advice would you give that owner to help her find the next great person for the business?

Laurie (45:08):

If you don’t want to go on a road trip with that, someone, that person that you’re interviewing, then they’re probably not going to be the right fit for your business. But I would say if you understand the type of person you need and the average day in a life of that role, then you’re going to hire right. And if you hire right, you’ll save time, money, and energy.

Mike (45:27):

So I’m going to give you a reference guys, in our archives, Kaleda Connell talked about vision and mission statements. If you want to start thinking about that, if you don’t have one of those, you need to get one because that’s going to guide your hiring process, go back in our archives and find the show with Kaleda Connell. We’ll put it in the show notes. It’s a great one that will help you figure out what you’re all about. Does not have to be complicated. But when you know what you’re about, then you can find out who you need on the team with you. And you brought up that is such a great point. I had a different version of that. It wasn’t a road trip, but I always thought if I don’t want to go out for coffee with my coaches and not about fitness, like just hang out with these people. I probably shouldn’t have them in the business because why would my clients want to hang out with them? And that’s yeah, that is a really interesting one. Has anyone ever grown on you where you’re like, I don’t want to hang out with, I wouldn’t go on a road trip with this person. And then later on they kind of came around?

Laurie (46:15):

Yes. And that is because I didn’t know them well enough or I didn’t do enough with them. Again, this has been a learning process and I find that regular catch ups with the staff has changed that. And that allows me to learn. And I guess now that I do a coffee date first you know, do something more social with the potential staff member, you know, you get to learn and know them better, but you’ve got to keep it regular and you’ve got to meet with them regularly and do social things, not just gym things. And then you get to understand them better and they grow on you.

Mike (46:46):

And then you want to go out on a road trip. Has hiring become easier as you get better at it. You’ve been in, you said seven years. I think you’re just about, you said to celebrate your seventh anniversary. Congratulations on that. Does hiring get easier?

Laurie (46:58):

Yeah, I think so. I used to get nervous about losing somebody and now I realize that every single person is replaceable. Even though you might not want to lose someone in particular, they are all replaceable. And every single time that I’ve lost someone, although it has been hard at times, a lot of times it has always been for the better. And I think just know that it will be better if you get someone new in cause they’re motivated and they’re malleable.

Mike (47:23):

And the fascinating aspect of that is that when you say everyone’s replaceable, that even includes you and the CEO roles, because we teach our business owners to replace themselves in just about every role as they move up in the business. So it’s like, I was a coach. Now I’m the CEO. And I’m going to hire a CEO now I’m the business owner. And there’s all these different sort of ascension things that you can do to move up out of different roles. So Chris has written about this in detail, everyone in your business, including you is replaceable, which is a fascinating thing, but that’s how you grow as an entrepreneur because like Bill Gates doesn’t make computers anymore.

Laurie (47:55):

And they also know more than you sometimes, which is fantastic.

Mike (47:59):

Well, that’s the other thing is that you want coaches that are better than you are, right? You want to hire people better because as a business owner, it is not your job to be the best coach, unless that is your absolute perfect day task. If it’s not, you need to hire a better coach, hire a better administrator, hire people that are better at it than you are, because the thing that you’re good at is running the business in total.

Laurie (48:20):

Or going on your holidays.

Mike (48:21):

And that’s what a lot of us want to do. So Laurie, thank you so much for taking time out of Australia morning to talk to us. I really appreciate it. Will you come back and join us down the line again?

Laurie (48:31):


Mike (48:31):

All right, thank you so much for your time and I’ll see you guys next time. That was Laurie Drummond on Two-Brain Radio. Did this episode help you out? I hope so. What are you struggling with right now? We’d love to hear from you and offer some help. Send your feedback or show ideas to Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. There’ll be another great episode this Thursday. Be sure to check it out.


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