Written by Hannah McMullen
As a Pilates studio owner, you know that instructor turnover is part of the business. Instructors move on to new opportunities, move, or simply decide that teaching is no longer for them. When this happens, it’s not only disappointing, but can turn into a stressful challenge to hire their replacement. But it doesn’t have to be. As an experienced studio owner, I’ve developed a few strategies to prevent and prepare for managing instructor turnover.
Tips for Handling Instructor Turnover
- Be prepared. Build a pipeline of instructors before you need them.You can do this a few different ways. First, join PlankeApp, it’s the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to find and hire Pilates instructors. You should also be taking classes at other studios in your area, attend industry events and other networking opportunities. I’m not suggesting poaching instructors directly from other studios, but get to know the instructors in your area and build relationships - you never know when they might come to you! Third, consider running or hosting a teacher training. Some of your clients might be interested in becoming instructors - and those are usually the best, and most loyal instructors you can find.
- Communicate with your current team . File this under: turnover prevention. It's important to keep your instructors informed about your studio's plans and goals, and it’s even better to get them involved in achieving them. This will help them feel more invested in your studio and less likely to leave. For example, if there’s a leadership opportunity at your studio - like assistant studio manager or lead instructor, propose the promotion to one of your top performers before considering hiring from the outside. You can also ask for their feedback on how to improve your studio - everyone likes to feel heard.
- Offer competitive pay and benefits. It’s your job to know what the market rate is in your area and you better be matching it - or beating it. This may mean you need to revisit your pricing and if you haven’t increased it in a few years, it’s time to raise your prices so you can pay your instructors the best rate available. Also consider a bonus structure based on performance or how long they’ve been working for you.
- Provide ongoing training and support. You already know continuing education is important - but you can, and should facilitate this for your team. You could host your own workshops, bring in an expert to talk about a specific topic (like a pelvic floor physical therapist) or offset some of the cost for outside training courses.
- Create a positive work environment. Remember to give positive feedback - share the things that clients say and if you take their class, tell them how great it was. Your instructors should feel appreciated and supported by you. This will help them stay motivated and engaged.
The Importance of Building Relationships with Instructors
In addition to following the tips above there are a few other things to consider that could pay dividends down the road in the hiring process.
- Get to know them on a personal level. Without crossing professional boundaries, take an interest in their lives outside of the studio - things like family, hobbies and long term goals.
- Be supportive and encouraging. Let your instructors know that you believe in them and that you are there to support them. If you have constructive feedback, offer it in a direct, but empathetic way that emphasizes that you want to see them succeed, and are there to help them do it. And remember to give unprompted positive feedback any opportunity you can. This will help them feel valued and appreciated, and more receptive to constructive criticism if needed.
- Be flexible and understanding. Instructors have busy lives, so it's important to be understanding when scheduling changes inevitably come up.
- Show your appreciation. Let your instructors know how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. This could be done with a simple thank-you, a gift card, a bonus or simply an appreciation post on social media.
Using Technology to Your Advantage
Technology is the best tool for managing instructor turnover. In fact, we created PlankeApp for exactly this reason. PlankeApp is a hiring solution designed specifically for Pilates studios. It allows you to search for qualified instructors, view their resumes, message with them and post jobs that they can apply for! It’s easy to use and free to get started. Simply download PlankeApp from the app or play store to your mobile device.
Start implementing these strategies today, and it will set you up to manage instructor turnover stress free. Develop relationships with your current instructors, while cultivating a pipeline of strong candidates for the future using PlankeApp and you’ll have a loyal, talented and reliable team.