5 Sneaky Ways You May Be Overspending

Netflix, Hulu, Blue Apron, Spotify, Joe’s Gym, Geico… it’s easy to lose sight of where you’re spending your money even in your personal finances.  So many of the services and products on which we spend come with convenient monthly billing these days.  When price tags are low for individual services, it’s easy to allow months to go by where you don’t realize you’re being billed for something you don’t want, need, and for which you are no longer contractually obligated.  In fact, multiple brands in our industry have constructed their business models around this assumption!   It’s one thing to miss a few months of your $10 music membership, but when we’re talking business expenses, the stakes are much higher.  If you’re not reviewing expenses monthly (and preparing a comprehensive financial statement), you are undoubtedly overpaying!

Here are a few real-life, new GYM HQ client examples uncovered in the last several months:

Managing Active vs. Inactive Employees on Your Payroll Platform

GHQ utilizes Paychex for its payroll clients, and the cost is factored into our payroll pricing.  However, prior to onboarding with us, many of our clients used very different platforms.  Some of these bill by the active employee.  So, if a business hasn’t been diligent in terminating staff as they leave, overpaying is easy.  Our industry poses a unique challenge as many trainers and coaches work on a very part-time basis.  It may not be noticed when they cease any scheduling, and multiple pay periods can go by with them incorrectly listed as active.  In a recent instance, the client had a very large employee base.  So missed terminations came with a hefty price tag ($1000s wasted monthly). 

Action: Research how you’re being billed and then conduct an audit to ensure your roster is accurate and up-to-date.  The importance of this spans beyond cost savings.

Insurance

Did you review your policy renewal data for accuracy?  When changes have been made in your business (e.g., employee count, number of locations, property requiring coverage, policy limit adjustments, types of coverage needed), it’s vital your insurance agent be made aware.  It’s easy to set coverage to autopilot and end up overpaying.  Also, you’ll want to make sure you get a few competing quotes during each renewal period to ensure you’re getting the best rates.

Action: Request a copy of your policies and review them against your current business needs.  If anything significant has changed, request an adjustment.  These can be made mid-policy year.  As renewal nears, reach out to additional brokers to request competing quotes.

Subscription-Based Services

When the latest and greatest in software, wearable displays, music streaming,  group X programming, or marketing comes around, your excitement can lead you to leap in hopes of a big payoff.  Once the initial enthusiasm dissipates, that new addition to your business may find itself unused and collecting dust. 

Action: Review your current subscriptions.  Are you using them?  Are you still under an obligation to pay?  If you’re under contract, make a concerted effort to relaunch the initiative or service, so you’re getting some ROI or, request the fees for early termination. Sometimes it’s better financially to pay for an early cancellation if you’re getting nothing from the subscription.

Late Fees & Penalties

If your AP process is a mess, you may find yourself scrambling to pay bills at the last minute, or worse, after the due date.  This causes you to incur unnecessary fees.  Do this enough, and they really add up.  Credit cards fees alone can lead to wasting a substantial amount monthly.

Action: Ensure you have a list of all monthly and annual liabilities along with due dates.  Review your AP process to schedule payments in advance of deadlines.  Don’t forget yearly business registrations, reports, and licensure renewals.  These generally come with a stiff fine for filing late.

Pay Plans

Is that commission structure you put in place yielding the sales you need?  Is your monthly bonus in line with how much you should be averaging for new member spend?  Are your PT packages priced appropriately to account for the session rates you’re paying trainers?  What about your salaries?  Are you top-heavy? Payroll is by far the most common area for overspending, and it can cripple a business.

Action: Review all pay plans currently in place for your business.  Compare the spends in each category (sales, PT, management) to industry or brand standards.  Analysis should be done as a percentage of revenue and in the area of sales, the cost of acquisition per new member.  These stats should be reviewed monthly.  Carefully think through any adjustments prior to deploying new pay plans.  You don’t want to roll out new structures frequently as this creates employee confusion and dissonance.

The main take away here is to keep your eye on the ball, your monthly financials.  If you don’t have a clean set of books or a clear process for review, it’s very likely you’re wasting money.  Take the extra time to ensure the money you work so hard to bring in the front door isn’t sneaking out the back.

Need help with accounting, reporting, and monthly P&L? We can help.  Email info@gymhq.club to learn more.

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Featured GYM HQ Team Member

Stephanie Maddox, Operations/Account Manager

Stephanie is a free spirit. She loves yoga, daily meditation, nature and all things earthy.  She relies on hard work, determination, and persistence to achieve her goals and prides herself on being an excellent manager of time.  Stephanie graduated high school at the age of 16 and started working as a waitress shortly after that.  A few years later, she decided she wanted to be a personal trainer, but her interviewer saw much more than a trainer in her, and she was hired as an Assistant Sales Manager.  She started her career in the fitness world at a small, run-down gym in the suburbs of Atlanta.  Through consistent sales results, she quickly moved up the ladder to run several markets during her almost 8-year relationship with the company.   She was known for being sent to “troubled markets” and turning them around to get them back on track.  After quite a few satisfying years as a Regional Sales VP, she decided to start some independent work as a business development consultant.   In this role, she worked closely with fitness studio owners in start-up or struggle mode.  She specialized as a business turnaround consultant, helping struggling companies succeed again by identifying their weak points and helping them implement proven processes for success.  

The problem was, she never felt like she was at “home.” Stephanie longed for a stable career opportunity where she could grow, learn and become a key player in a team of many with the same passions she had.  She reached out to someone she trusted and enjoyed working with in the past, and as fate would have it, he pointed her in the direction of GYM HQ!  

Stephanie joined us as a Payroll Admin.  She was not in the seat long before she started asking the right questions and proving herself to perhaps be a better fit for a more significant role.  With her skill set in mind, the Operations/Accounts Manager role was born and Stephanie began serving as the right-hand woman to our VP.  Her main goal is ensuring our clients receive the best in service, and that we're continuously striving and working toward better. A typical day may find her involved in on-boarding new clients, pitching in to navigate a tricky payroll cycle, or putting together a KPI report to assist a gym owner in growth and improvement.  If a department doesn’t have a specific head here at GYM HQ, she’s your go-to person.  If you have a problem, she is the solver.   She is all about teamwork and making sure everything runs smoothly.   Everything Stephanie has experience in the fitness industry thus far makes her uniquely qualified for her role, and she says that she finally feels “at home.”   She was recently recognized as GYM HQ'S June MVP.

Her all-time favorite quote?

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -- Calvin Coolidge

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Featured GYM HQ Team Member

Karine Cesar, Client Services Manager

Born in Haiti and raised in New Jersey, her first job was at Chase as an encoder in New York.  She worked hard and eventually left Chase for a role at First Fidelity Bank in downtown Newark, New Jersey.  There she handled escalations directed to the “Office of the President (CEO).”  When her parents decided to take early retirements and move to South Florida, she followed suit and accepting a position at Manufacture’s Hanover Trust Mortgage as a call center agent in their Rural Housing division.  The company was eventually acquired by Chase.

Karine spent  11 years with Chase holding the following positions:

  • Customer Service Agent
  • Real Estate Tax Agent
  • Customer Service Lead
  • Customer Service/Complaints and Collections Manager
  • Diversity Club Chair
  • Co-Chair of Mentoring Club assisting new managers on their managerial adventures.

As the Customer Service/Complaints and Collections Manager, she led her departments through required audits earning a B rating.

When the economy took a downturn, her worksite was closed and she was hired by ABN AMRO Mortgage in Sunrise, FL as a Call Center Manager.  During her tenure there, she was part of a team assigned to create a new mortgage department geared toward assisting brokers in high-end home sales. 

Karine relocated to Georgia in 2005 and worked for RYLA, a telecom company,  first as a Team Leader, then as a Manager, and finally as an Operations Manager.  Unfortunately with the loss of a major client the company was forced to lay off staff which set her on the path to work for another telecom company, Cbeyond.  She learned a lot about the telecom world during her eight years at Cbeyond and worked her way up to the Retention Department.  

In 2014, Karine took a chance on a small start-up and joined the GYM HQ team as a Customer Service Lead Agent.  Her background has always been working for large corporations, so working for GYM HQ  challenged her to pull from her experiences and apply them on a smaller scale as we grew.  As the GYM HQ contact center team grew from 4 to 20, Karine grew with it, ultimately transitioning into the role of Client Services Manager.  She currently leads both the Customer Service and Past Due Communications teams.  Karine was recently honored as GHQ's May MVP.  Her willingness to continue to learn and accept new challenges makes her a vital part of our organization.

"As I continue my career journey, I am happy and thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with GYM HQ.  Every day brings something new, and I have a great team in Customer Service and PDC that will assist in our growth."

 

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Employee Recognition Part II: Who's Your MVP?

While installing a rewards and recognition program does take effort, it need not be overly complex or time-consuming.  And the positive effects are invaluable!  Think of recognition as a communication tool which helps to reinforce the behaviors and outcomes your organization values most.  It provides a pathway for you to say, “YES, that’s exactly what we’re looking for.  Do more of that!” This article is the second in a short series on Employee Recognition and Rewards. Today we focus on two ideas that bridge the gap between the old-school and the new.  In a workplace that consists of several generations simultaneously, it’s important that your program speaks to everyone!

First the old tried and true Employee of the Month.  The calendar naturally provides us with 12 smaller times frame during which to measure success.  Dedicate a few moments each month to recognize one outstanding team member and crown them your MVP.  This team member should be recognized in front of the entire team (at a meeting or morning stand-up).  Make sure to clearly outline why this person is such a vital part of what makes the company great and how their actions contributed to success during the month.  Complete the recognition with a certificate and reward (bonus, gift card, prize pack, etc.).  This adds a formality to the presentation and makes it feel “official.”  Consider a wall of fame to showcase the current month’s MVP as well as past superstars.

Formal monthly appreciation is great, however, while the month flies by, don’t forget to give out praise DAILY as opportunities arise!  The best leaders don’t make team members wait to let them know they’re doing a great job.  They recognize achievement as it happens.  So, while you may be keeping score internally for your monthly MVP, don’t forget to give frequent pats on the back when any team member exemplifies your brand ethos, hits a milestone, or goes above and beyond.  The best part about daily praise is it’s free!

While your younger team members will undoubtedly appreciate being recognized via the non-digital channels above, don’t forget to speak to them in their language as well and hit social media.  Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the company website is a great platform to broadcast “shout-outs” to a much broader audience.  Hit millennials with praise where they live!

Your company homepage and blog are prime real-estate.  Dedicate a portion of them to your hard-working employees.  Use these areas to highlight team members and provide their backstory (accenting their passions and unique life histories).  This not only allows for recognition but also showcases your valuable team to your clients and potential clients.  After all, for most fitness businesses, people are the number one differentiator! 

Don’t forget social media!  Nothing is better than watching a post on which you’re featured rack up likes and shares.  This will help supplement your in-person efforts and ensure everyone sees the contributions your team members are making.  This is especially important if your team works in multiple locations or you have remote staff. 

Next month we’ll conclude our employee recognition series with a curated list of non-traditional methods of recognition being successfully used by top companies.  Get ready to think outside of the suggestion box!

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The Formula for Successful Customer Service

The fitness industry is ALL about service first.  While your facilities may boast the latest in advanced technology or the best in equipment, it’s your people and their interactions with your members that matter most.  Today’s post looks at 12 key ingredients that must be included when creating your perfect formula for successful customer service.

1.    Be friendly first.  Service starts with a familiar person with a warm smile who offers welcoming words.  Make sure the team members manning your front desk are service obsessed.  Each member should be greeted (preferably by name) when they enter your club.  This level of interaction should trickle down to every employee.  It takes little effort to smile and say hello, and it makes a huge impact.

2.    Attitude precedes service.  Your team’s positive mental attitude is the basis for the way they act and treat members.  Your team should carry a member first mentality into the club every day. “You become what you think.” 

3.    Your team’s first words set the tone.  All encounters with members are theirs to control.  Even a seemingly negative contact, like a service or billing complaint, can be turned positive by the way it’s handled.  First words can either disarm or aggravate.  If your team learns to see each interaction as an opportunity to win a member for life, it shifts the approach dramatically.

4.    Know how to service in terms of the member.  They don’t care what your situation is; they only care about their situation.  So your billing system made a blunder, and they were billed twice, or the new janitor assigned by your cleaning service isn’t up to snuff, that’s not the member’s concern.  What can YOU do to ensure they’re happy and your day-to-day business hiccups don’t impact them?

5.    The member has lots of problems besides you, and may just be using you as a frustration vent.  Don’t take it too personally if a member flies off the handle.  Behind every seemingly minor complaint, there is real stress.  Your team’s job is to serve as a stress reducer.  After all, that’s why many people come to your club!  Offer solutions, not excuses.

6.    The member doesn’t want to hear why you can’t.  Don’t tell them when or why you can’t; tell them when and why you can—enthusiastically!  In every situation, there is something that can be done for the member, make that your team’s focus.

7.    Recognize members for what they are, the lifeblood of your business and your team’s paycheck!  You don’t pay your team’s salaries, your members do. 

8.    Don’t confuse company policy with customer service.  Don’t quote policy or hide behind it.  Policy is there as a guide, not a prescription for member success.  Listen first, and then determine where the request fits into your standard procedure.  If you adhere to your contract rules 100% of the time, you miss tremendous opportunities to win with your members.  You may win the battle, but you’ll lose the war.

9.    When a member walks away angry, it’s twelve-to-one they’ll leave forever or at least be leery.  It takes 12 positive impressions to overcome a single negative one.  In this day and age of social media, every interaction counts and has the possibility to impact far more than one member’s opinion of your business.

10.  YOU are responsible, or it won’t get done.  Individual responsibility leads to a happy member.  No one likes to be passed off for help. 

11.  Take your job seriously, but don’t take their complaints personally. If you take it seriously, it’s you with them.  If you take it personally, it’s you against them.  

12.  Teams are made up of individuals who work together and get their own jobs done.  Never underestimate the impact of a single team member.  If each link is strong, your entire chain will be secure. 

If you embed these 12 values into your club’s culture, how can you lose?  Would you be happy supporting a business with this outlook and attitude toward customers?  Would you encourage friends and family to join you in your support?  At its core, excellent customer service starts with the golden rule.  Treat your members the way you would want to be treated.

Need help with member services?  GYM HQ offers solutions designed specifically for fitness businesses.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help with member requests and all of your back-office needs.  Click on the “contact us” link, email info@gymhq.club, or call 404-921-2269 today!

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ACA Requirements: Are You Considered a Large Employer?

As you gear up for year-end and all the important reporting requirement hoops through which you’ll need to jump, now is the perfect time to start getting prepared for compliance in 2018!  Time spent preparing now will make year-end 2018 a breeze. In the meantime, we still have 2017 to consider. Over the next several weeks, we’ll post helpful articles to aid you in the process.  First up, the Affordable Care Act. One of the biggest reporting and compliance demands comes courtesy of the ACA.  As we head into year two of the full reporting requirements, one of the first items you’ll need to determine is if your business qualifies as an Applicable Large Employer (ALE).  Two of the ACA provisions apply only to ALEs:

  • The Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions; and
  • The employer information reporting provisions for offers of minimum essential coverage (MEC).

Your determination as an ALE happens yearly and depends on the average size of your workforce during the prior year.  If you had fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), on average, during 2016, you wouldn’t be considered a ALE for the 2017. If you had more than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), on average, during 2016, you would be considered a ALE for 2017 and be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions and the employer information reporting provision. 

To determine your workforce size for 2016, add your total number of full-time employees (30+ hours per week on average or at least 130 hours for the calendar month) for each month of 2016 to the total number of FTEs for each calendar month of 2016.  Divide this total by 12.  If you were only in business for part of 2016, use those months during the calculation and divide by the total number of months you were in business.

An FTE is a combination of part-time employees who, in combination, are equivalent to a full-time employee. To determine your number of FTEs for a month, combine the number of hours for all non-full-time employees for the month but do not include more than 120 hours per employee. Divide the total by 120.  The resulting number is your FTE count.  It should be noted that FTEs are only relevant in determining if you’re an ALE.  If you’re determined to be an ALE, you DO NOT need to offer MEC to part-time employees. 

Example 1 – Employer is Not an ALE

  • Company X has 40 full-time employees for each calendar month during 2016.
  • Company X also has 15 part-time employees for each calendar month during 2016 each of whom have 60 hours of service per month.
  • When combined, the hours of service of the part-time employees for a month totals 900 [15 x 60 = 900].
  • Dividing the combined hours of service of the part-time employees by 120 equals 7.5 [900 / 120 = 7.5]. This number, 7.5, represents the number of Company X’s full-time equivalent employees for each month during 2016.
  • Employer X adds up the total number of full-time employees for each calendar month of 2016, which is 480 [40 x 12 = 480].
  • Employer X adds up the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of 2016, which is 90 [7.5 x 12 = 90].
  • Employer X adds those two numbers together and divides the total by 12, which equals 47.5 [(480 + 90 = 570)/12 = 47.5].
  • Because the result is not a whole number, it is rounded to the next lowest whole number, so 47 is the result.
  • So, although Company X has 55 employees in total [40 full-time and 15 part-time] for each month of 2016, it has 47 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) for purposes of ALE determination.
  • Because 47 is less than 50, Company X is not an ALE for 2017.

Example 2 – Employer is an ALE

  • Company Y has 40 full-time employees for each calendar month during 2016.
  • Company Y also has 20 part-time employees for each calendar month during 2016, each of whom has 60 hours of service per month.
  • When combined, the hours of service of the part-time employees for a month totals 1,200 [20 x 60 = 1,200].
  • Dividing the combined hours of service of the part-time employees by 120 equals 10 [1,200 / 120 = 10]. This number, 10, represents the number of Company Y’s full-time equivalent employees for each month during 2016.
  • Employer Y adds up the total number of full-time employees for each calendar month of 2016, which is 480 [40 x 12 = 480].
  • Employer Y adds up the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of 2016, which is 120 [10 x 12 = 120].
  • Employer Y adds those two numbers together and divides the total by 12, which equals 50 [(480 + 120 = 600)/12 = 50].
  • So, although Company Y only has 40 full-time employees, it is an ALE for 2017 due to the hours of service of its full-time equivalent employees.

Employer Aggregation Rules

You should also be mindful of the Employer Aggregation Rules.  If your company is part of a larger organization or a collective of companies with common ownership and/or functioning under the same management, then the combined number of full-time employees and FTEs for the group are considered when determining ALE status.

New Employers

If you’re a new employer and weren’t in business on any day in 2016, you should use the 2017 calendar year to determine if you’re an ALE.  Consider if you reasonably expect to employ or actually have employed at least 50 full-time employees or FTEs.

Failure to Provide Coverage

What if you qualify as an ALE but fail to offer any MEC to at least 95% of full-time employees? 

If you fail to offer MEC to at least 95% of your full-time employees (and their dependents) and at least one full-time employee receives the premium tax credit for purchasing coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will be required to pay a shared responsibility penalty.  This payment is equal to $2,000 for each full-time employee, with the first 30 employees excluded from the calculation.  This calculation is based on ALL full-time employees (minus 30), including full-time employees who have MEC under your offered plan.  Example: You employ 62 full-time employees.  One employee receives the premium tax credit when purchasing coverage.  Your fine would be 62 total employees- the first 30= 32 employees for which the penalty applies.  32 x  $2000= $64,000. 

If you do offer MEC to at least 95% of your full-time employees (and their dependents), you may still be liable for the second type of employer shared responsibility payment if at least one full-time employee receives the premium tax credit for purchasing coverage through the Marketplace.  This penalty is equal to $3,000 but only for each full-time employee who receives the premium tax credit.

Minimum Essential Coverage

A plan meets the standards for minimum value if it covers at least 60% of the total allowed cost of benefits that are expected to be incurred under the plan.  Since you likely do not know the household income of your employees, you can rely on affordability safe harbors. These are Form W-2 wages, an employee’s rate of pay, or the federal poverty line.  If you have questions concerning if the coverage you offer meets the MEC standards, consult your insurance broker.

Tax Credits for Small Employers

If you have fewer than 25 full-time employees, including FTEs, you may be eligible for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to cover the cost of providing non-mandatory coverage.  Learn more here

Reporting Requirements

All ALEs are required to file Forms 1095-C and 1094-C.  Employers who are not ALEs but chose to provide MEC to full-time employees are required to file Forms 1095-B and 1094-B.  Reporting requirements and deadlines will be discussed in detail in our next article.

 

Interest in learning more about how GYM HQ can help keep you compliant and take some work off of your plate?  Contact us today: info@gymhq.club or 404-921-2269.

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What is your company culture?

Culture is something we talk about quite frequently here at GYM HQ.  When we founded the company, it was very important to us that we always remain a place our employees looked forward to working — a place where they felt appreciated, supported and invested in.  We wanted them to see our vision and care about the mission we were on a much as we did.  Over the last several years, as our client portfolio has expanded, we’ve seen our team grow from 5 to 40 (with new team members being added monthly)!  The growth has been exciting and challenging.  It’s brought with it all the standard pain points growing businesses face: thinking through systems, upgrading tech, and honing in strategy.  But one that caught us a bit off-guard, was the need to actively focus on our culture.   When you have a small team, it’s easy to ensure everyone is on the same page, understands where you’re headed, and feels like an integral part of the mission. When you grow, that message can get muffle, diluted, or lost completely!  It takes a clear and ongoing effort to shape your culture.  In the absence of any meaningful or focused discussion on culture, mission, or core values, an unintended culture will install itself. 

So how does a company go about working on its culture?  First, you must truly believe that working on culture is an important endeavor. It must come from a place of authenticity and an understanding that change can happen and is important.  Once you’ve cleared the thought hurdle, get to work!  Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.  Below are a few key steps to help you through the process.

Who are we right now?  Start with an audit of where your organization currently stands.  What culture has devolved organically?  An easy way to do this is to simply ask your staff!  Take time to ask them leading questions about who they are, what their career objectives they have, and how they’re fitting into their role with your company.  Starting the conversation with them as the focus makes it much easier to transition into questions about their perceptions of the company’s mission, work environment and vision.  Ask about the business’s current strengths and weaknesses.  What are you as a leadership team doing well and where do you need work?  You’ll walk away from this exercise with plenty of insights for not only your culture project but several process improvement projects!

What do we want to be?  If you could snap your fingers and have the perfect culture, what would it be?  Culture is like a personality.  It is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people.  If you take the pure dictionary definition, culture is “the manifestation of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively”. It’s the culmination of all your team’s effort boiled down to its essence. 

Take the time to list out your core values.  Here are a few from GYM HQ to help you brainstorm.

RESPECT: We treat our customers and each other with respect.  We keep the golden rule front and center.

COMPETENCE: We are the professionals who know back-office work.  We built trust in our clients by demonstrating competence every day.

CONSISTENCY: Once we decide on a process, we follow it every time.

PASSIONATE: Love what you do, otherwise do something else. 

ONE TEAM: Everyone has an important role.  Understand your role and how you fit into the larger picture.

CREATE YOUR HAPPINESS: Personally, and professionally, you control your own destiny.  No victims.  Your thoughts create your reality.     

Find the disconnect.  If there a big gap between who you want to be and who you currently are, what needs to change to fill the void?  What tools are you missing?  Are there systems in place that nurture you core values?  For example, if one of your core values is consistency (as it is here at GYM HQ) and you don’t have clearly documented policies which guide your daily operations, you’re not going to be very successful in getting that value to take root.  It’s okay for core values to be somewhat aspirational, but moving from dream to goal takes action!  It’s one thing to proclaim you care about your member experience and value your team, it’s another to roll up your sleeves and make it happen if you aren’t quite hitting the mark. As the old adage says, actions speak loader than words.

Work at it daily.  A great culture isn’t magic.  Realizing this is empowering in and of itself.  Each day you and your team have a new chance to define what the “culture of the day” will be.  String enough great days together and a cultural pattern starts to take shape.   Have a stressful few weeks and take your eye off the ball you need only hop back in and get back on track.  Nothing in business is ever perfect, what matters is planning and effort. 

Make sure that all team members realize their impact.  A change starts with one person in one department and it spreads.  While your leadership team may be at the helm of the ship, it’s the crew members who provide the momentum.  Get buy in and acknowledge good examples of team members who exhibit the culture you want for your entire team!

Make it authentic.  There are some great examples of companies who do culture very well.  A quick Google search will yield, well, Google!  While taking inspirations from companies like Google, Zappos or Southwest Airlines is smart, your culture should be yours.  Maybe free lunches, pajama Friday and open work spaces work for you, but probably not!  Culture can’t be copy and paste.

Finally, it’s important to remember that just because a business is big and successful doesn’t mean it isn’t struggling with a crisis of culture.  Uber, the top riding sharing service in the US, enjoyed a valuation of nearly $70 billion as recently as February of this year.  However, issues with bad press and struggles with identity and culture have diminished their value over the last several months (with some putting them down $20 billion).  On June 5th, Uber brought on Frances Frei, Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School, as senior vice president of leadership and strategy. Her entire role focuses on shifting their company culture (including a perception of sexism) and working with the leadership team on strategy and management training.  The takeaway is that you’re never too big to have to start over on culture or put in a concerted effort.  Luckily, it should be much easier to shift the culture within the four walls of our fitness clubs vs. across a remote network of thousands of independent contractors. 

Happy strategizing!  Feel free to shoot me your ideas.  I’m eager to hear about the values that your brand holds near and dear.