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After the clock strikes midnight and millions of people swear up and down they’re going to finally get in shape, your facility is going to be packed with newcomers. This means adjusting class schedules, fielding more member questions and closely managing equipment usage.

In the sea of New Year’s “resolutioners,” the glue that holds your facility together is your staff. And even though a new year typically brings many changes to your facility, your staff should be something that remains constant. This holds true during any part of the year, but between the months of December and February, staff continuity is even more critical.

“This is simple — think of a restaurant or store where the staff know you, your family, and your story,” explained Courtney Harrness, a senior executive director at the YMCA of the Twin Cities. “Now think about why you keep going there, and if you would still go if nobody knew you.”

If a new member comes to your facility in January and some of the staff members they met have left by February, their sense of connection to your organization could be diminished. Keeping your best employees is not only an operational advantage, but a cultural one.

“If we can keep our passionate employees happier for longer, our community feels it and knows it,” said Harrness. “Our community will speak with their feet because they, like us, love consistency in staffing. Everything, from membership and programs to services and partnerships, gets stronger.”

How do you keep your best employees engaged for a long time? According to Harrness, the answer is to empower them for future success. “There is one specific area we can focus on to ensure we are keeping our employees engaged and with us over time: their path,” he said.

By providing a clear path to leadership positions and growth opportunities for your best employees, you improve your chances of retaining them. “The path we keep our passionate staff on today ensures a strong and impactful organization tomorrow,” said Harrness. “By creating this path, we’re fostering the next generation of leaders.”

So lay out a path for your employees — the passionate ones will gladly take on these new responsibilities. In fact, they’re likely already forging strong bonds with your members and helping establish your facility’s culture, so it’s imperative to keep them engaged in their work.

These leaders will not only help you thrive during the New Year’s rush, they will carry your organization to new heights for years to come.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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