Keeping Great Employees

The single biggest reason employees leave their jobs is that they feel their work is not appreciated. So how do managers appreciate their valuable employees? We've found there are five indisputable areas on which to concentrate-the five R's.

Recognition
* Create an MVP program. Several clubs have used programs that create a "most valuable player of the month or quarter." Incentives are used to ensure that individuals are properly recognized for achieving the MVP reward (such as an article in your newsletter).

* If you think that wearable rewards are just for the boy scouts, think again. Award pins are constant reminders for your employees and their customers.

* Sales yearbook: A hardbound copy of outstanding sales achievements (e.g., stories or examples) will stand as a time capsule and can be referred to throughout the years by other employees.

* Bravo cards: Keep a stack of your personalized stationery handy and take time to write a simple note of appreciation.

Keep in mind that recognizing employees does not need to be formal. Here are some "in the moment" ideas:

* Recognize employees in meetings.

* Report positive remarks about employees directly back to them, immediately.

* Introduce employees to key clients and highlight their contributions.

* Remember birthdays and special occasions, and recognize them in new ways.

Responsibility
It's rare that you will find an employee who doesn't feel empowered when given added responsibility.

* Look for key projects where an employee who's demonstrated initiative can add value in a specific role. Let him know that you are doing this because he has shown promise.

* Many clubs now have formal mentoring programs that give highly functioning employees the job of mentoring new employees. Mentoring serves as a wonderful tool in developing responsibility.

Revitalization
All of us plateau or get into ruts in our jobs. A good leader finds ways to breathe new life into his employees.

* Subsidize preparation or testing for a specialized exam or training.

* If there is an event in town, send an employee to attend. Then after he returns, have him create a seminar to present to co-workers.

* Off-site/off-clock events: Schedule an activity-based event for your team. Use activities that match your team's lifestyles. For example, if you have climbers on your staff, rent a climbing gym.

Rewards
Believe it or not, there are awards that mean more than cash. Here are some ideas:

* Days off: If an employee puts in extra effort or works overtime on a critical project, you can provide him with an extra day off.

* Food (free meals, coffee, energy bars, etc.).

* Magazine subscriptions, event tickets and athletic clothing can be very appropriate and meaningful to people in our industry.

Reviews
Everyone knows how anxious we can become when facing annual reviews, but do we know what constitutes an effective review? Here are keys to an effective performance review:

* Make sure it gets done.

* Deliver it with professionalism.

* Keep and date notes all year long.

* Frequently update employee files.

* Record the good as well as the bad.

* Record specific sales numbers.

* Fully develop the goals section.

* Never compare an employee to other employees (only to sales numbers, number of sessions trained, etc.)

There they are, the five R's. Although they are simple rules, they aren't necessarily easy. They only work when they are executed on a regular basis.

- Gregory Florez is the president and CEO of First Fitness Inc., a company that provides fitness, business strategy and sales training to the fitness industry, as well as professional certification and business development services.


Cash Rewards

While you may think that your employees only want a cash reward, that isn't necessarily true, according to Gregory Florez. There are pros and cons to the almighty dollar.

The good:

* Desirable

* Understood by all

* Easy to administer

* Provides an extra boost

The bad:

* Doesn't last and doesn't keep on giving like a subscription or club membership

* Can't be enhanced

* Tends to become expected


The Final Word on Performance Reviews

Here are the absolute keys to help you and an employee have a successful performance review. Gregory Florez calls them the "Critical Few Objectives" (CFOs):

* Have employees determine two to three specific goals for each month and formally present those goals to you at the beginning of each month.

* Review CFOs at the end of each month (praise for success, coach the opportunities).

* If you begin this process, don't interrupt it. Follow through.