Ask anyone in the fitness industry to describe their recruitment process. You’ll most likely get a version of: “We post a job, screen and interview candidates, do reference checks, make an offer and then begin onboarding the successful applicant.”
Unfortunately, there is usually nothing that precedes the job ad, and nothing beyond it. Once the role is filled, it’s back to business as usual until the recruitment juggernaut needs to be booted up again.
The challenge with this approach is that the trigger is usually an urgent fill, meaning an interruption to normal trading, and then a recruiting process that is a mixture of habit and finger-crossing.
Of course, there’s also a cost, both direct and indirect, that comes with this on/off recruiting strategy.
Beyond the direct cost of the job ad, there’s a time-cost to manage the process; a time-cost in diversion of resources; and a loss of income where a position remains vacant (especially with sales and personal training roles). And, when recruiting under pressure, there is always the increased risk of a bad hire, which can end up costing more than the vacancy itself.
Despite how this all sounds, I’m not at all against job advertising.
Job advertising is a valuable addition to your recruitment processes. However, it will always be a great deal more productive as part of a larger and more structured recruiting strategy; one where business as usual includes passive recruitment.
Your employee value proposition (EVP) is a part of your employer branding. It’s all about how you market your business to prospective candidates, as well as how you retain them in a competitive job market.
As competition for available talent becomes harder, your EVP is going to become more of a factor in just how well your job ads and other recruiting efforts perform. An added benefit of a well-structured and articulated EVP is that it can reduce the focus on compensation as the primary offer.
Note: your EVP must be unique, relevant and compelling if it’s to attract the right people and help with the engagement and retention of staff.
Most businesses do a great job of providing social proof for existing and potential clients. Unfortunately, there is rarely any content that speaks to existing and potential team members.
HealthyPeople and FITREC, for example, allows employers to create a profile that provides more detail on the business, the team they’ll be working with, and key elements of the EVP. On HealthyPeople, these profiles are easily linked to job ads to add greater credence to any claims made in the ad.
Social media is another obvious place to promote life as an employee within your business. In the same way that many employers will use social media to confirm the suitability of a candidate for their team, professionals will also be visiting the social media of a business to determine whether its focus and values align with their own.
CVs handed in at the front desk, queries via social media, or previously unsuccessful job applicants are all sources of potential future team members. Do you have a system in place that ensures you’re engaging with them and nurturing them for future opportunities?
HealthyPeople provides employers with the chance to connect with great candidates at any time. It is far better to make the connection and build the relationship before the role is available, as opposed to hurriedly introducing yourself when the situation is urgent.
This is not just about providing work experience hours for students. This includes approaching suitable clients and members for roles within your business. In the very least, it’s about ensuring your members know that you’re open to supporting anyone interested in a career shift.
It’s also about being open to approaching people from other industries. For example, opening up a dialogue with that waiter that provided such amazing service at the local coffee shop. They could be great on your front desk or as a sales consultant.
“Train them to leave, but look after them so they’ll stay”.
When you provide the opportunity for your team to pursue mastery, it won’t just increase retention, it will serve as an attractant to other like-minded professionals. An important caveat here is that, as much as possible, your team should be able to choose the learning they want to do. This provides some autonomy which also adds to your EVP.
For those development sessions that do take place, be sure to use social media and employer profiles to highlight the events.
Alongside training and development, mentoring and support from managers and peers also counts towards team development. Again, ensuring structure to this process is what will separate your offering from that of other employers.
While job ads will always be a staple in the search for staff, it’s what happens in between job ads that is becoming increasingly important. By implementing just a few of the above suggestions, you’ll distinguish your business from most others. Focus on them all, and the results should be spectacular.