Your instructors are an integral part of your studio’s success. You count on them to lead an inspiring workout that keeps your clients coming back for more. Class regulars get used to seeing the same familiar instructors when they take class at your studio — and there’s a trust that gets built between member and instructor week after week. All of which makes it especially important to take extra consideration when adding a new instructor to your roster.
Introducing a new instructor goes beyond putting their name on the class schedule. From the right way to market a new member of your team to figuring out which classes you should have them take over, it’s important to do so the right way. We asked a few fitness studio owners and managers to share their tips for how to do it seamlessly.
Give students the opportunity to “read the reviews”
Exercising in the age of the internet means we have a tendency to do our research before trying something new — whether it’s working out at a new fitness studio or taking class with a new instructor. To feed that need for information, Cat Kom of Studio SWEAT showcases the accomplishments of her new team members. “When I bring new instructors in I write a up a little bio about them and add them to our website and social channels, so students can read up on their background and qualifications,” she says. “I also like to have new instructors co-lead one or two classes with one of our senior instructors so students can experience their training style and to remove any hesitation in taking a class from them.”
Introduce new instructors ahead of time
Your dedicated class regulars are likely avid readers of your studio’s social posts and newsletters. Rebecca Weible, founder of Yo Yoga! makes sure her students are aware of new additions by sending information out ahead of time. “For new teachers it is helpful to introduce them to your community via an email blast and a couple social media posts using a picture of the instructor, a brief bio or a short interview mentioning their background, favorite poses / drills / moves / style, etc., and why you think they will be an asset to the studio,” she says. “Regular students will often trust an endorsement from their favorite instructors, so whenever possible it’s good to announce beforehand that your class will have a new instructor subbing it and mentioning that you are excited about having this person fill in for you.”
Regular students will often trust an endorsement from their favorite instructors.
Make time for interactions between members and new instructors
Getting your clients familiar with a new instructor doesn’t have to be restricted to class time. In fact, corporate head trainer Rob Delara of TITLE Boxing encourages new instructors to make introductions to members before and after classes in order to get acquainted. “Because we are in the people business, we should have a firm grasp on our member’s goals and the progress they are making,” he says. “This requires daily interactions with the members and a genuine interest in their journey. The new instructor should be around interacting with members as often as they can to acclimate to the culture of the studio. This time period spent getting to know the instructor before they teach a class we like to call ‘interactions.’ This allows for proper introductions with each of the members in a calm informal setting.”
But don’t have them fill supporting roles within your studio
Speaking of getting your new instructor acquainted with clients, Amanda Margusity, general manager and master instructor at Crank Cycling Studio cautions against having your regulars become too familiar with your new recruit playing a supporting role at the studio. “I used to have new instructors work our front desk and help check clients in,” she says. “This was super helpful for riders to meet the instructor on another level — however, when the instructor would become an official instructor clients would continue to ask questions about their package, account etc. It would create chaos for the front desk — especially since it’s the front desk’s job to sell packages. I want my instructors to focus on their clients and their classes, not resetting a client’s password after class!”
Evaluate how your new instructor fits with various time slot needs
Once you’ve spread the word about your new instructor, you’ll need to determine where they best fit on your class schedule. Margusity makes this call based on a few key factors. “I think about the instructor’s personality, their music, the type of ride they teach and who typically rides at that time,” she explains. “If an instructor has a big personality I like to put them in a 6 a.m. class to wake riders up. If the instructor likes to play a specific type of music like classic rock, I look for a time slot where I know riders love that music.”
Margusity also keeps the new instructor’s needs top of mind when assigning slots. “If an instructor is coming from Brooklyn I won’t have them teach a 6 a.m., because I don’t want them to be in the subway at 4 a.m. for their safety. Plus, I prefer they don’t teach the first class of the day in case something happens with transportation and they can’t get to the studio. If they teach the second class of the day, I have an opportunity to ask the instructor from the class before to cover in an emergency. You always need a plan A and plan B!”
Take your new instructor’s class
Not only will this help you identify any areas that your new instructor might need to work on, but it also gives you the opportunity to genuinely hype up your new instructor’s class to your regulars. “Take the first class they teach when they take over,” Kom recommends. “Tell the clients how much you loved it and how awesome this change will be for them. Be the biggest supporter of your new instructors!”