Written By Tricia Whitlock
Over the last month, two of my most seasoned instructors left my Pilates studio.
Not only are they seasoned instructors, they are also good friends of mine. Dependable, experienced, well-rounded, and passionate Pilates professionals. Unicorns.
To have both of them leave within a month was devastating to say the least. After the second one gave me her notice, I curled into a little ball on the floor and wept for a while.
And then, as we must do when we are business owners, I got up, dried my tears, gave myself a pep talk, and started about the business of picking up the puzzle pieces and putting them together again.
Life circumstances move instructors in and out of our studios, and while we know it is inevitable, it doesn’t lessen the pain or frustration when it happens. My experience is that if we are not running an in house teacher training program, it is incredibly challenging to replace good instructors. Understanding, navigating, and accepting this ebb and flow of studio life is one of the keys to longevity as a studio owner.
This cycle is not new. Those of you who are new to studio ownership have probably already experienced it. If not, don’t let it catch you off guard.
To avoid being placed in a position where you are working double shifts, extra hours, and facing exhaustion and/or burnout, it’s critical to have a network of instructors to reach out to.
Working in isolation won’t do you any favors, nor will it keep instructors from leaving. In fact, being well-known in your community will actually serve to attract the BEST instructors to your studio.
This recent experience and many others like it that I’ve had during my nearly 9 years as a studio owner led me to create the infrastructure for that networking ability.
Enter PlankeApp - a hiring solution and talent marketplace designed specifically for the unique needs of Pilates studios.
Through the PlankeApp network, I was able to reconnect with a wonderful instructor that used to teach at my studio (and others in the area) by using the “search for instructors near me” functionality. She moved away a few years ago, and had recently returned to my area and was looking for work on the app.
I contacted her using the app’s messaging feature, and VOILA! Within 24 hours I had a new instructor ready and willing to start teaching, and luckily another one of my instructors was ready to take on more hours, so both loads were filled!
As a studio owner, it pays to build and maintain relationships with instructors. When she left a few years back, it was on good terms. I expressed my heartfelt gratitude that we had reconnected. Here is our conversation:
Me: “I’m just thrilled that you are coming back to teach at the studio! It broke my heart a little when you left a few years back.”
Her: “That means so much to me to hear because I absolutely missed you when I moved to XYZ city. Not trying to say anything bad about the studio I worked for there, it was good, but super restrictive… you have such a free spirit and I feel like I can teach like myself in your studio.”
I know she won’t be around forever. But I’m so grateful she is back, and I know that I have a reliable tool to continue to foster relationships with instructors for when the time once again comes to hire.