With states starting to loosen Covid-19 restrictions on businesses, how developed is your plan to reopen your gym?
A major component of that plan must be communications – and as you’re developing the rollout, remember who you need to speak with before going public:
That’s right. Before you announce your plans to your members or community, you need to meet with your employees first.
Don’t assume they’ll do what they’re told, or that they’re as thrilled as you might be to reopen. They might have fears or other issues you need to address before going public.
You should also talk to your business coach or mentor. If you don’t have one, click on our resources document here to talk with one of ours. A Fitness Revolution coach can help you prepare for these conversations – why they’re important, and how to keep them productive.
Why You Need Their Input
Savvy business leaders already know to communicate clearly and regularly with their employees, pandemic or not. You see it from the well-managed Fortune 500 companies as well as the best-run small businesses.
Your employees have valuable insights and thoughts to share. Granted, they might also have thoughts that aren’t so valuable or insightful – just like everyone else. And that’s OK.
- You can’t manage a smooth reopening without their buy-in and support.
- You’ll learn valuable insight about your staff, business and customers.
- You’ll build rapport and respect by showing that you listen as well as dictate.
- Your team will appear united with clients, prospects and the community, which will increase your success with clients and prospects.
Two Main Reasons They Might Balk
If some team members say have misgivings about coming back, ask them why and listen.
First, is it possible some of them just don’t want to work? Maybe they’re enjoying the “time off,” happily drawing unemployment, and don’t have their head in the business. You might have some individual personnel issues. And this is the best way to spot them, rather than having to react later.
Second, others truly might be uncomfortable about coming back, mingling with other people, touching items that others have touched, etc. Address their concerns if possible. It could make your gym a better environment for clients, as well.
Tell your team what you’re doing to protect their health and safety. Develop consistent messaging and deliver it in all channels. Remember it’s on to communicate with each of them, and to be sure they understand what you’re doing and what steps you will take in the future.
You Might Have to Let Go of Some
If unemployment benefits are part of the conversation, remind everyone that you offer more than a paycheck, maybe even healthcare benefits at some gyms.
You might have to make decisions about individuals. Can someone manage administrative work or virtual workouts from home? Can you divvy up in-house time so no one feels singled out?
You might need to let some people go. Again, better to know now so you can be proactive about it.
For those who have received PPP or have applied, remember that you need to maintain the number of your full-time equivalent positions – not the same people in them.
This is a difficult time for everyone. Ultimately, you’re the one to decide what’s right for your business. We’re here to help, with free resources to provide information and context – along with the invaluable relationships gym owners develop with our coaches. We’re always happy to talk.