As anyone who works out on the regular will tell you, being a part of a fitness community at a studio or gym you love is so important. A strong sense of community and shared purpose is what makes any fitness experience feel complete.
From like-minded members to teachers and trainers who motivate you throughout your journey, the people you surround yourself with matter. This is especially true when it comes to building a unified team to manage your studio or gym. One of the most critical pieces of successful team-building is laying the foundation for an effective organizational structure—one that makes it easy to make things happen and one that motivates everyone in your studio community.
We asked Noam Tamir, owner and founder of TS Fitness in New York City, how he organizes his team, determines a growth path for employees and more. Here’s what’s worked well for Tamir, and what he hopes will work well for your studio, too:
#1: Be Clear About Responsibilities and Your Team Structure
One of the most important keys to success for any fitness studio is building a team that works together to achieve and exceed its goals. Where do you begin? For starters, when offering a position, it’s crucial to be clear about a new hire’s responsibilities and who they report to, says Tamir. His team is broken up into a front office team, a training team and a marketing team. He also has a chief operating officer who reports to him and he makes sure he clearly communicates the reporting structure to everyone in his studio.
Here’s how Tamir’s reporting structure works: Front desk reception staffers report to the studio supervisor. The studio supervisor reports to the chief operating officer (COO) and they report to Tamir. The trainers report directly to Tamir since he is not only the owner but also the studio’s head trainer. His marketing team reports to the studio’s head of marketing, who reports directly to Tamir. When figuring out your reporting structure, look to examples like Tamir’s for inspiration and make sure everyone understands the structure and where and how they fit in.
#2: Determine a Hiring and Growth Path for Employees
Tamir is transparent about how he determines pay rates as well as what makes members of his team eligible for a promotion. Before deciding who should advance and how, make sure you clearly communicate all the factors that go into your decision-making as a manager and studio owner.
Remember that the path to advancement doesn’t look the same for everyone. For example, when evaluating front desk staffers, Tamir looks at job performance after 90 days (the studio’s probationary period) as well as sales and feedback from clients. When reviewing trainers, Tamir takes into account the amount of time the trainer has been with the studio, his or her certifications, his or her attendance numbers (in other words, is the trainer getting a good number of people to consistently show up to class?) and feedback from clients about the trainer. Make sure you have a list of criteria for how you review performance and share it with everyone on your team.
#3: Figure Out How to Build An Org Chart (If You Need One at All)
An org chart is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization along with the roles in each department and who fills those roles. Too often, especially in bigger businesses, org charts exist but are ignored. Should you create them for your fitness studio and if you do, should you share them with every staffer and trainer?
Tamir uses his org chart as a management tool. “It’s more for internal use so that management can communicate better with staff,” he says, adding that “it does help with making sure that all management is on the same page.”
Whether you think it’s a good idea to create an org chart and share it with everyone on your team – from the front desk crew to teachers and trainers – is a personal choice. Before you make your decision, remember that org charts should do more than reflect employee goals; they should also develop in line with your business’s goal for customer satisfaction. One way to think about your org chart is through your clients’ personas. Focus on each studio member’s experience and goals and then align staffers and trainers around where they fit in to help meet those goals. One or both of these ideas will help employees at your studio bust out of their “silos” to help members meet their fitness goals.
#4: Communicate Clearly (and Often) With Everyone on Your Team
Hold meetings that have substance and discuss topics that you feel your entire staff can learn and grow from, as Tamir does. How can you make these meetings enriching and meaningful? “We have a book club that my staff and I do each month,” Tamir says. “Subjects include self-improvement and motivational talks. This gets the team to think outside of the box and create more of a team environment.”
Tamir also holds quarterly reviews with every member of his staff, which is no small feat considering how often it’s done. But Tamir believes it’s worth it in the end since it has helped his studio succeed. “This gives the company the ability to communicate to make sure expectations are being met on both sides,” he says. “This also gives us the ability to help our staff reach their goals and for them to understand the goals of the company because they may shift and new initiatives are constantly being introduced.” Staying one step ahead of those initiatives and making sure everyone is on the same page is key and will play a huge role in your studio’s success.