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Four years and two months. This is what the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as the average amount of time before a person changes their job. For younger people, it’s even more frequent, as many managers in the leisure and health industry can attest.

Recruitment is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of any business. The average cost and time taken to hire an employee is US$4,129 (AU$5,522) and 42 days, according to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management. It also takes a new employee anywhere between eight and 26 weeks to become fully productive, depending on the position they hold. That’s a lot of lost time and revenue, not to mention work output.

And this is speaking about the job market pre-pandemic. Writing today, in October 2021, things are looking very different; COVID-19 has forever changed the world of work.

Many leisure centres, health clubs and gyms in Australia and New Zealand have downsized their teams due to the lack of visitors during Government restrictions over the past two years. Some people were let go, while others have taken the pandemic as an opportunity for a career change. Thousands of Australians are predicted to leave their jobs in the year ahead in what is being cited as the “Great Resignation”, while others have different demands and expectations compared to what they had a couple of years ago, such as wanting more flexible work hours.

This poses a challenge for leisure centres. With COVID-19 vaccination rates rising and many Government restrictions lifting or expected to lift in Australia and New Zealand, people are making the leap back into fitness – both for mental and physical health. That means many facilities are needing to ramp back up and are start hiring staff once again.

So, how can you make sure you attract the right people? And how do you keep them on the payroll to ensure your leisure facility can thrive?

Attracting new talent

When hiring, some leisure facilities are finding it beneficial to look outside the box. There are thousands of people who have been made redundant or who have left their jobs due to COVID-19, and many possess highly transferable skills that can be an asset in the leisure industry. This is especially true of those who have experience in ‘people-focused’ industries, such as tourism and travel. Many hiring managers are finding that these workers are an ideal fit for their business.

It’s also important to build your organisation’s reputation so you are a sought-after place to work. Investing in good marketing and making sure your services are well regarded can help to attract the right staff, as well as new members. Make sure to promote your company culture and brand identity in your job advertisements and descriptions, showcasing exactly what it is that makes your facility or business special. Don’t be afraid to tell the world how great you are.

Retaining your valuable staff

Attracting new talent is vital but it can be a costly process, as outlined earlier. Therefore, retaining the great staff you already have should be your number one priority.

A good workplace and work-life balance is key to keeping your staff, so having a strong team culture can make all the difference. You could encourage social activities, such as team lunches, or introduce buddy schemes, or perhaps give people the day off on their birthday, for example. Other great incentives include training schemes, work from home opportunities, and chances for career progression. This ensures that jobs don’t get stale and employees feel empowered, giving them flexibility so they don’t feel trapped or stifled. No wants to feel like they are constantly treading water.

Another area worth considering is the systems you use to make life easier for your staff. Our Envibe leisure management system is a great example of this – not only is it powerful and a pleasure for customers to use, but it’s also simple for staff to learn and use. This lightens the burden on existing staff by making daily tasks easy, allowing them to spend more time doing the things they really love, like being with clients and customers.

Take-home message

With a thoughtful approach, adaptability, and world-class technology, attracting, hiring and retaining top talent can be made easy in this post-pandemic world.

Your leisure facility will face its own unique challenges and opportunities, but the above strategies offer a starting point to bounce back from the whirlwind experience of the past couple of years, so we can all jump into a healthier and more prosperous future.

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