“If your club is like most, your biggest expense, by far, is payroll.”

– Joe Moore, IHRSA President and CEO

Protect and strengthen your club’s biggest expense by considering these tips for building a people-centered health club team.


As a club owner and/or operator, it’s easy to be caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of your position. On top of that, it’s not always obvious to intentionally recognize your team members for good performance or other decisions you’re pleased with. Whether your team is completing a task they’re supposed to or going above the call of duty, recognition is massively important to your team dynamic and individual performance. When a person receives praise for an action, no matter how old or tenured they are, they are more likely to repeat that action in the future. Some ways you can recognize your team members are:

  • Write a thank you card
  • Verbally recognize them in person
  • Highlight their behavior in a team meeting


Communication is one of the most important management and leadership concepts for any business. However, many managers forget that communication is a two-way street. Club owners and operators should be clear in their communication and when setting expectations. The other side of this equation is just as important. That is, you have to give your employees the opportunity and confidence to communicate their ideas and opinions. The most successful teams have open lines of communication where people at all levels can share their ideas and the best idea wins.

Are you asking your team for their experience and feedback when planning programs or building your club strategies? If not, this is a great way to start communicating in a people-centered way. Not only will you make your team feel more involved, but you will likely get a better selection of ideas!


Organizing a team filled with different skills and job expectations may seem more operations focused than people focused. However, successful coordination and operational improvements naturally make your team more people-centered.

As a health club leader, part of your job is to lead strategic vision and then make sure everyone is put in a position to execute on that vision. This means digging deeper, talking to each team member both privately and amongst the entire team. When you focus on each person’s roles and goals and then coordinate all of that information into a unified approach, you are creating a people-centered team and an efficient business.