Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty

Quick Summary

Certification websites such as the Crossfit directory can expedite finding qualified trainers. Holding higher level events and inviting these people to your gym a few times throughout the year will help develop those relationships and make it stress free to grow.  

How to Find and Attract Talent to Your Gym

The cliche in the title really speaks for itself. If you wait until the need arises, especially a need you know is inevitable, it will be too late to make the proper and informed decision. You’ll be scrambling to meet that need which will often lead to hasty and uninformed decisions. Hasty and uninformed decisions lead unsustainable practices within your gym which leads to the Earth spinning off of its axis and hurtling into the sun (probably). 

Maybe it’s not Earth destruction level, but finding and hiring the right coaches and employees for your gym is critical to your success, the gym’s success and, most importantly, your athletes’ success. If you are growing or want to be growing, hiring on new coaches is a definite need that will arise in your near future. Here are a few things that we recommend to help dig your well before you are thirsty. 

How to find a good coach?

First, get your job opening out there and keep it there regardless whether you fill spot or not. There are specific fitness coach websites that can be helpful to get your job out there (FitnessJobs.com and SportsCareerFinder.com) but don’t overlook simple opportunities like Facebook and Craigslist. Talk to your other coaches, your athletes and definitely promote your opening on social media. 

If you are a CrossFit gym, make sure you take advantage of CrossFit’s directory of Certified L-1 (and above) trainers. Use https://trainerdirectory.crossfit.com/ and make sure you fill in either the city requirement or the zip code requirement to find coaches in your area that you can reach out to directly. We recommend taking a few minutes to find what you can on LinkedIn and other platforms to see if they would be a good fit for your box. 

How to pick the right coach?

If you have the time, look at each applicant’s resume and any other information provided. Weed out the obvious outliers and then do some research on the ones that made the cut (LinkedIn & other social media). Take the ones who have made the second cut and find one more way to narrow down the candidate pool to the folks you’re truly interested in. 

We recommend creating a task that they must perform to finish the application process. An example of this could be to reply to them and say “Hey APPLICANT, thanks for your application. One of the things we pride ourselves on here at CrossFit FitCross is our ability to be excellent coaches and to be excellent communicators. To finish your application, please leave me a quick ~1 minute voicemail demonstrating your understanding of the snatch lift in a way that would connect with someone who is new to CrossFit.” This will ensure that the only people you’re interviewing are truly motivated, have some communication skills and have at least a basic understanding of what they learned in their L-1 certification course. 

Does this all take time and hard work? Yes, but not nearly as making a bad hire and then having to re-hire a new coach 3 months later, go through training, soothe the worries of angry members and deal with all the bad decisions that coach made. 

How to attract a good coach? 

Now that you know how to choose who you want, how do you make sure they want to choose you? This is the last piece in the puzzle to building and growing a great team. The first thing to focus on and communicate in your job posting (and in your interview) is what type of opportunity that they’ll have at your gym. Just like any business, you have to show people how they can grow, overcome challenges and move forward with their professional goals at your business or you’ll lose them (and I can vouch for this from personal experience). 

If you have a plan for your people that allows them to be continuously challenged and have a way to continue to grow in their fitness career, you will attract them to your gym but more importantly, you will retain them. While compensation is important, I guarantee you will lose people that don’t have a clear understanding of where they are going in their career while working for your gym. There are a lot of different paths to take here but even sponsoring continued education and certification is a good place to start. 

Also, if you truly want to be the CEO of your business (which means you get to focus on the things that matter!), you will need a head coach, a business manager and other staff to whom you can delegate so build that into your plan as well. That is our #1 recommendation and something that we see many of our partners starting to implement. 

But, as I mentioned, be competitive with your compensation and as you grow, use that as a tool to ensure proper retention. It’s almost always more expensive to go out and get a new employee than to retain one you already have.