Happy workforce the focus at Retention Convention
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Happy workforce the focus at Retention Convention

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A happy workforce and the impact this has on health club member retention was the topic of the day at this year's Retention Convention.

During the day-long event, counter-terrorism specialist and leadership expert, Steve Jee, used scenes from Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator to explain how to motivate a team, ensuring everyone is working to the same values, vision and purpose.

Jee, who spent 20 years in the British Army as a military intelligence officer, told the 150 delegates: “In the military we drop teams, brigades, divisions and battalions in middle of nowhere and expect them to operate in the centre of chaos. This is similar to many companies. So how do we make sure the soldiers understand where they are going, how to get there, their part in the plan and how to deliver a motivated team to do it?

“The power is in the company’s vision - the what and the why - not telling the workforce how it should be done. The vision should inspire and unite the team, be aspirational and be time-bound. Alignment in where the organisation is going is vital. Team members need to know what their part in getting there is and everyone must buy in to this.”

Also at the conference, training and education specialist Keith Smith talked about the importance of making sure staff training has a positive long-term impact on the business. He told delegates not to get caught up in the latest trends but to really consider if the training is right for their members.

Former health club owner Justin Tamsett, who is now a business mentor, compared management to being a team coach. “Once you’re on the pitch, trying to improve retention will be really hard because you’re in the heat of a battle,” he said. “It’s emotional and you can’t think straight - it’s very hard to coach players on the run. If you’re looking to improve retention you need to start in the locker room.”

Taking the graveyard slot, Lexie Griffiths, author and owner of the professional development programme The Sizzle Maker, said if companies can find staff that really love what they do, members will feel it too and want to feed off their energy. 

Dave Stalker, chief executive officer of Oxygen Freejumping, spoke of the importance in getting behind the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, and said voices would not truly be heard until the industry becomes professional in the eyes of Government.

Dr Paul Bedford, who founded the convention in 2015, closed the day telling delegates: “The person with the most flexible behaviour always wins, so be flexible.”

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A happy workforce and the impact this has on member retention was the topic of the day at this year's Retention Convention.
HAF
(L-R): Host Dean Hodgkin, Lexie Griffiths, Dr Paul Bedford, Justin Tamsett, Keith Smith
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