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Hiring talent

How do you recruit the very best group exercise instructors? Kate Parker asks the experts

By Kate Parker | Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 10




Elena Lapetra Commercial Director Stages Cycling

 

Elena Lapetra
 

In May 2016, we launched Take Centre Stage in the UK – a new concept in open auditions that’s designed to attract indoor cycling instructors and coaches and recruit them into a UK-wide talent development programme.

It was important for us to define at the outset what we were looking for in a successful candidate: aside from the technical aspects of delivering a great class, we look for enthusiasm, engagement and a desire to be the best in our new recruits.

To find these people and facilitate the sign-up process, we designed a fully-integrated plan with a mix of digital communications tools and social media. We identified 10 different channels that we wanted to communicate through in order to source the right candidates.

During the event, candidates were evaluated against key performance indicators including teaching cues, communication, interpretation of music, overall feel and engagement.

One of the key findings from the audition event was that there’s no cookie-cutter instructor: we had a hugely diverse range of candidates who applied.

However, they have to want to be part of your company’s goals, and they have to want to make a difference. That’s what makes them invaluable.

www.stagescycling.com


"Instructors have to want to be part of your company’s goals, and they have to want to make a difference Elena Lapetra, Stages Cycling" - Elena Lapetra, Stages Cycling

 



Stages looks for enthusiasm, engagement and a desire to be the best


Sean Cosgrove Head of Commercial Operations Lifetime Training

 

Sean Cosgrove
 

It’s important to think outside the box when it comes to group exercise instructor recruitment. Open your networks. If you work in the fitness industry, you’ll be surprised how many people you already know and how willing those people are to refer potential instructors. Facebook and LinkedIn work well for spreading the word.

Once you’ve sourced your candidates, keep these tips in mind to select the right person:

• Think about your membership base. What kind of instructors will suit them? If your membership base is slightly older, consider whether your new instructor is able to offer a range of exercises in each class. If your members are inner-city executives, is your instructor able to deliver a short but effective class?

• Check the candidate’s qualifications. Have they attained the correct qualifications? In addition, look for other relevant modules – such as Les Mills – to teach at your club.

• Have they continued to invest in their own education? Regular CPD courses are essential for an instructor to stay current.

• Always audition as part of the interview, as it will often tell you much more than a CV.

• Look for the right personality. The ability to motivate is crucial, as that’s what keeps members coming back for more.

www.lifetimetraining.co.uk


 



Always audition interviewees


David Cooper Brand & Product Director GymBox

 

David Cooper
 

Gymbox auditions take place monthly, so new instructors and new concepts are constantly being found and evaluated.

Our gyms are home to some of the most diverse classes in London, with Olympic-sized boxing rings, live DJs and larger-than-life personal trainers. So it’s no surprise that we look for unique individuals to be our instructors: entertainers, mavericks, show-offs, people who can inspire and hype a crowd.

Once recruited, we operate a nurturing and monitoring programme designed to develop each instructor.

We run over 100 weekly classes in each of our eight gyms, the success of which is monitored in terms of both participation and member feedback. Our reporting system highlights the highest and lowest performing instructors, together with the most successful types of exercise classes.

We also operate a tiered pay structure that allows us to develop talent and reward our most successful instructors.

Well-known instructors are introduced if they offer a distinctive style or class. For example, instructor Cheryl Teagann works at most Gymbox clubs teaching yoga and circus skills classes such as pole, aerial and contortion. Cheryl spends most of her time hanging upside down, balancing on one hand, or bent in two on the gym floor!

www.gymbox.com


"We operate a tiered pay structure that allows us to develop talent and reward our most successful instructors" - David Cooper, Gymbox

 



Gymbox looks for unique individuals to teach its wide range of classes


Andy Bourne Executive Business Coach

 

Andy Bourne
 

The recruitment of the highest quality group exercise instructors is crucial to the performance of any studio. Make the wrong decision and it could affect the overall performance of your leisure centre or health club.

Good interview preparation is, therefore, essential in finding the right person for the job.

Before any interview, it’s important to decide what you want from your instructor. Clearly you need to pay attention to the technical skills, and these are easy to evaluate. However, my recommendation is not to make qualifications and technical ability the main focus, and instead place emphasis on hiring the right attitude.

A list of the personality traits that represent the organisation’s values and culture is a good starting point, from which the interview can progress around a series of questions designed to explore the candidate’s personality.

I start off with a few open-ended questions like: “What are the three things you have to be really good at as a studio instructor?”, “How open are you to constructive criticism?”, and “What is the USP of your class?”

Appointing the right person to conduct the interview is also key. At the end of the day, offering quality classes with the finest instructors will retain and attract more customers – and bring increased revenues.

www.bourneacoach.com




Phillip Mills CEO Les Mills International

 

Phillip Mills
 

Group fitness instructors are a key hire for any club. A great instructor can attract and retain hundreds of members over time, and building a team of them is the most neglected, lowest cost way to build a highly successful facility.

I believe there are five key strengths that will make an instructor successful:

1. Class design – the ability to select great music and combine it with exercises in a way that combines physical results and motivational magic.

2. Physical execution – teachers who move beautifully are inspirational and easy to follow. People with a background in dance, gymnastics and other sports involving high levels of technical perfection and co-ordination make very good candidates.

3. Coaching ability – people love intelligent instruction on the what, why and how of exercise. Personal trainers are often strong in this area, as are sports coaches, dance teachers and even school teachers.

4. Relationship building – being able create a rapport with the people who are attending classes is key.

5. X factor – the rock-stars with magnetic stage presence and the ability to create huge excitement on the floor. Look for people with stage backgrounds in theatre and in singing.

www.lesmills.com


 



Les Mills knows a great instructor can retain hundreds of members


Colin Waggett CEO Third Space

 

Colin Waggett
 

Good people tend to know good people, and while we do hold open auditions and advertise, we find recommendations are one of the best ways to find talent. Instagram is also a great way to preview an instructor, followed by a visit to a class and then an invitation to audition. Similarly, a lot of instructors see what we’re doing through social media and want to get involved.

Personality is so important. We want bright, enthusiastic people to work for us; members go to our classes want to be motivated. Instructors’ skill set is also important: how well they demonstrate the exercises and how they manage their class. Music is a fundamental part of the exercise class experience, so we look for instructors with a good sense of modern music and how the music matches the class.

We track attendance of all our group exercise classes, with the aim of constantly improving the offering and timetable. We can see a direct boost to business from a successful instructor, and we’ve created a pay scale at our clubs which allows us to reward the very best people.

www.thirdspace.london


 



Pay your best instructors more


Sarah Morelli Director and Training Manager Spinning

 

Sarah Morelli
 

At Spinning, we feel the recruitment and auditing of the right indoor cycling team is paramount to a successful studio programme over the long term. Studios can so easily be overlooked for quality assurance and continued instructor development compared to the gym floor.

Spinning has three levels of instructor, each assessed, and some clubs pay each level a little higher, motivating instructors to learn more, teach better, become the best instructors they can be – and motivate and educate members too.

We encourage our instructors to get re-certified every two years by using their continuing education credits points, gaining new and updated education in the process – all of which helps them create classes that stand out from the rest.

www.spinning.com


 



Spinning has three levels of instructor


Ross Perriam CEO Exercise, Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP)

 

Ross Perriam
 

EMDP acts as a national voice for dance fitness and group exercise participants, instructors and organisations. An important part of this is the recruitment of EMDP ambassadors, who work to inspire people to participate in dance fitness and group exercise activities through the Exercise Move Dance campaign.

We look for enthusiastic and inspiring professionals who are keen to get more people into group exercise and dance fitness. They also need strong people skills and the ability to motivate others.

All our ambassadors need to be strong role models and, alongside leading fitness classes, many of them campaign on body confidence, work to break down stereotypes, develop innovative health and fitness programmes and positively influence the next generation of fitness professionals.

We’re able to monitor their progress by keeping a close eye on our digital footprint and checking growth, reach and engagement figures as a result of the scheme.

Our ambassadors are also given unique promotional codes which provide discounts on our training and support packages, meaning we can easily track sales linked to each individual ambassador.

The scheme is in its infancy, but the ambassadors are already having an impact, with a boost in training enquiries and bookings.

www.exercisemovedance.org


 


PHOTO: Richard Hubbard

EMDP looks for true ambassadors


Jake Shand Senior Director Beachbody Live UK

 

Jake Shand
 

Finding the right instructor for your club is about the delivery of the class, the personality they can bring to the job, their natural talent and how they connect with your members. A new instructor should bring enthusiasm, presence, knowledge and technical ability to the organisation.

But equally importantly, just as there’s diversity in the types of people who come to your classes, so there should also be diversity in the age, body shape and teaching style of the various instructors, to ensure there’s someone who’s able to fully relate to every one of your members.

www.beachbodylive.com


 



Shand: Instructors should bring enthusiasm and personality to the job
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2016 issue 10

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Hiring talent

Group exercise

Hiring talent


How do you recruit the very best group exercise instructors? Kate Parker asks the experts

Kate Parker
Hiring Talent shutterstock



Elena Lapetra Commercial Director Stages Cycling

 

Elena Lapetra
 

In May 2016, we launched Take Centre Stage in the UK – a new concept in open auditions that’s designed to attract indoor cycling instructors and coaches and recruit them into a UK-wide talent development programme.

It was important for us to define at the outset what we were looking for in a successful candidate: aside from the technical aspects of delivering a great class, we look for enthusiasm, engagement and a desire to be the best in our new recruits.

To find these people and facilitate the sign-up process, we designed a fully-integrated plan with a mix of digital communications tools and social media. We identified 10 different channels that we wanted to communicate through in order to source the right candidates.

During the event, candidates were evaluated against key performance indicators including teaching cues, communication, interpretation of music, overall feel and engagement.

One of the key findings from the audition event was that there’s no cookie-cutter instructor: we had a hugely diverse range of candidates who applied.

However, they have to want to be part of your company’s goals, and they have to want to make a difference. That’s what makes them invaluable.

www.stagescycling.com


"Instructors have to want to be part of your company’s goals, and they have to want to make a difference Elena Lapetra, Stages Cycling" - Elena Lapetra, Stages Cycling

 



Stages looks for enthusiasm, engagement and a desire to be the best


Sean Cosgrove Head of Commercial Operations Lifetime Training

 

Sean Cosgrove
 

It’s important to think outside the box when it comes to group exercise instructor recruitment. Open your networks. If you work in the fitness industry, you’ll be surprised how many people you already know and how willing those people are to refer potential instructors. Facebook and LinkedIn work well for spreading the word.

Once you’ve sourced your candidates, keep these tips in mind to select the right person:

• Think about your membership base. What kind of instructors will suit them? If your membership base is slightly older, consider whether your new instructor is able to offer a range of exercises in each class. If your members are inner-city executives, is your instructor able to deliver a short but effective class?

• Check the candidate’s qualifications. Have they attained the correct qualifications? In addition, look for other relevant modules – such as Les Mills – to teach at your club.

• Have they continued to invest in their own education? Regular CPD courses are essential for an instructor to stay current.

• Always audition as part of the interview, as it will often tell you much more than a CV.

• Look for the right personality. The ability to motivate is crucial, as that’s what keeps members coming back for more.

www.lifetimetraining.co.uk


 



Always audition interviewees


David Cooper Brand & Product Director GymBox

 

David Cooper
 

Gymbox auditions take place monthly, so new instructors and new concepts are constantly being found and evaluated.

Our gyms are home to some of the most diverse classes in London, with Olympic-sized boxing rings, live DJs and larger-than-life personal trainers. So it’s no surprise that we look for unique individuals to be our instructors: entertainers, mavericks, show-offs, people who can inspire and hype a crowd.

Once recruited, we operate a nurturing and monitoring programme designed to develop each instructor.

We run over 100 weekly classes in each of our eight gyms, the success of which is monitored in terms of both participation and member feedback. Our reporting system highlights the highest and lowest performing instructors, together with the most successful types of exercise classes.

We also operate a tiered pay structure that allows us to develop talent and reward our most successful instructors.

Well-known instructors are introduced if they offer a distinctive style or class. For example, instructor Cheryl Teagann works at most Gymbox clubs teaching yoga and circus skills classes such as pole, aerial and contortion. Cheryl spends most of her time hanging upside down, balancing on one hand, or bent in two on the gym floor!

www.gymbox.com


"We operate a tiered pay structure that allows us to develop talent and reward our most successful instructors" - David Cooper, Gymbox

 



Gymbox looks for unique individuals to teach its wide range of classes


Andy Bourne Executive Business Coach

 

Andy Bourne
 

The recruitment of the highest quality group exercise instructors is crucial to the performance of any studio. Make the wrong decision and it could affect the overall performance of your leisure centre or health club.

Good interview preparation is, therefore, essential in finding the right person for the job.

Before any interview, it’s important to decide what you want from your instructor. Clearly you need to pay attention to the technical skills, and these are easy to evaluate. However, my recommendation is not to make qualifications and technical ability the main focus, and instead place emphasis on hiring the right attitude.

A list of the personality traits that represent the organisation’s values and culture is a good starting point, from which the interview can progress around a series of questions designed to explore the candidate’s personality.

I start off with a few open-ended questions like: “What are the three things you have to be really good at as a studio instructor?”, “How open are you to constructive criticism?”, and “What is the USP of your class?”

Appointing the right person to conduct the interview is also key. At the end of the day, offering quality classes with the finest instructors will retain and attract more customers – and bring increased revenues.

www.bourneacoach.com




Phillip Mills CEO Les Mills International

 

Phillip Mills
 

Group fitness instructors are a key hire for any club. A great instructor can attract and retain hundreds of members over time, and building a team of them is the most neglected, lowest cost way to build a highly successful facility.

I believe there are five key strengths that will make an instructor successful:

1. Class design – the ability to select great music and combine it with exercises in a way that combines physical results and motivational magic.

2. Physical execution – teachers who move beautifully are inspirational and easy to follow. People with a background in dance, gymnastics and other sports involving high levels of technical perfection and co-ordination make very good candidates.

3. Coaching ability – people love intelligent instruction on the what, why and how of exercise. Personal trainers are often strong in this area, as are sports coaches, dance teachers and even school teachers.

4. Relationship building – being able create a rapport with the people who are attending classes is key.

5. X factor – the rock-stars with magnetic stage presence and the ability to create huge excitement on the floor. Look for people with stage backgrounds in theatre and in singing.

www.lesmills.com


 



Les Mills knows a great instructor can retain hundreds of members


Colin Waggett CEO Third Space

 

Colin Waggett
 

Good people tend to know good people, and while we do hold open auditions and advertise, we find recommendations are one of the best ways to find talent. Instagram is also a great way to preview an instructor, followed by a visit to a class and then an invitation to audition. Similarly, a lot of instructors see what we’re doing through social media and want to get involved.

Personality is so important. We want bright, enthusiastic people to work for us; members go to our classes want to be motivated. Instructors’ skill set is also important: how well they demonstrate the exercises and how they manage their class. Music is a fundamental part of the exercise class experience, so we look for instructors with a good sense of modern music and how the music matches the class.

We track attendance of all our group exercise classes, with the aim of constantly improving the offering and timetable. We can see a direct boost to business from a successful instructor, and we’ve created a pay scale at our clubs which allows us to reward the very best people.

www.thirdspace.london


 



Pay your best instructors more


Sarah Morelli Director and Training Manager Spinning

 

Sarah Morelli
 

At Spinning, we feel the recruitment and auditing of the right indoor cycling team is paramount to a successful studio programme over the long term. Studios can so easily be overlooked for quality assurance and continued instructor development compared to the gym floor.

Spinning has three levels of instructor, each assessed, and some clubs pay each level a little higher, motivating instructors to learn more, teach better, become the best instructors they can be – and motivate and educate members too.

We encourage our instructors to get re-certified every two years by using their continuing education credits points, gaining new and updated education in the process – all of which helps them create classes that stand out from the rest.

www.spinning.com


 



Spinning has three levels of instructor


Ross Perriam CEO Exercise, Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP)

 

Ross Perriam
 

EMDP acts as a national voice for dance fitness and group exercise participants, instructors and organisations. An important part of this is the recruitment of EMDP ambassadors, who work to inspire people to participate in dance fitness and group exercise activities through the Exercise Move Dance campaign.

We look for enthusiastic and inspiring professionals who are keen to get more people into group exercise and dance fitness. They also need strong people skills and the ability to motivate others.

All our ambassadors need to be strong role models and, alongside leading fitness classes, many of them campaign on body confidence, work to break down stereotypes, develop innovative health and fitness programmes and positively influence the next generation of fitness professionals.

We’re able to monitor their progress by keeping a close eye on our digital footprint and checking growth, reach and engagement figures as a result of the scheme.

Our ambassadors are also given unique promotional codes which provide discounts on our training and support packages, meaning we can easily track sales linked to each individual ambassador.

The scheme is in its infancy, but the ambassadors are already having an impact, with a boost in training enquiries and bookings.

www.exercisemovedance.org


 


PHOTO: Richard Hubbard

EMDP looks for true ambassadors


Jake Shand Senior Director Beachbody Live UK

 

Jake Shand
 

Finding the right instructor for your club is about the delivery of the class, the personality they can bring to the job, their natural talent and how they connect with your members. A new instructor should bring enthusiasm, presence, knowledge and technical ability to the organisation.

But equally importantly, just as there’s diversity in the types of people who come to your classes, so there should also be diversity in the age, body shape and teaching style of the various instructors, to ensure there’s someone who’s able to fully relate to every one of your members.

www.beachbodylive.com


 



Shand: Instructors should bring enthusiasm and personality to the job

Originally published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 10

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd