Reprinted from Fitness Business Canada March 2018
Health Systems Group (HSG) has been in the fitness, recreation and wellness business for 40 years. The development of our staff is crucial to our operations and has significantly evolved with changing times and trends. We discovered long ago that employees who are competent and on top of changing industry standards, help us hold a position as a leader in the fitness and recreation industry. It’s our people that make the difference!
HSG has always been committed to the continuous improvement and growth of our staff. This commitment can be a time-consuming endeavour, but we believe success happens by design and not by chance so the investment has been well worth the effort.
In 2008, we performed a thorough review and audit of our staffing procedures, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, recognition and performance. The objective was to ensure that a consistent application of best practices applied across all our 55+ projects nationwide, which range in size from 1 to 250 employees per site.
The review resulted in the development of standards and resources that can be tailored in a variety of ways to suit specific project needs, for both our management and consulting clients. As a result, we updated and enhanced our staff training modalities to include:
Our staff training approach continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our employees. We strive to provide timely access to updated resources through a variety of learning modalities and technologies.
Health Systems Group director of operations, Ontario Region
Because we are a small facility with a limited professional development budget, our club continues to offer staff some professional development training while also encouraging staff members to do additional training on their own time.
Personally, I have recently taken the canfitpro online Active Aging Certificate. It is quite helpful in teaching fundamental exercise prescription
for the 50+ age group. I have also taken correspondence courses through the C.H.E.K Institute which have benefited me greatly. I’d highly recommend “Scientific Back Training,” “Scientific Core Training” and
“Scientific Shoulder Training.” As a club we continue to stay on top
of the latest trends and to share them with others. We have always taken
time to discuss these issues as a group and to bring in local professionals, often from a local college or university.
All Fit All Ages
Port Perry, Ontario
While this may not be strictly a professional development issue, our team
has somewhat recently begun using a new software app which has greatly improved communication in our organization, one of the biggest challenges of any busy operation.
For many years, our large club struggled with how to get information to
both staff and members. We tried snail mail, print memos, emails, text messaging and eblasts to name a few. Each was effective for a time and served a purpose depending on who we were targeting.
This past year we started using Slack, an extremely efficient, effective
and free (for our size club) communication tool. It is similar to text messaging, however, it also allows you to create subgroups of identifiers such as “urgent message,” “service calls,” front desk,” “PTs,” or “tennis trainers” or any other grouping important to your club. It can be installed on your mobile phone or your desktop and has a unique audio “ding” which indicates you have a message. We use it for departmental and interdepartmental information dissemination that is specific and time
relevant information deemed vital knowledge for our members and staff.
As it is time relevant, staff members know that when they hear the “ding”
the information is important and needs immediate attention. Department heads can notify front desk staff of a last-minute class cancellation
that can help us create the best experience from a negative situation
for our members. For example, this past summer we had a locker room
renovation with a myriad of changes and delays. With Slack we were able
to immediately notify all related staff, which helped improve our member
experience and immediately empowered our staff to handle the particular
Our tennis department even uses it for their junior programming. They
ask parents to opt in and can then notify them of rain or snow delays, send
reminders for the week and give shout outs for player accomplishments the moment they occur. This is valuable information for members and also
keeps our club top of mind for our members.
Ontario Racquet Club