“They’re Not That Innocent: When New Hires Break the Rules” By: Netchex

britney-1513718803.jpgDisclaimer: This is the story about a girl named Lucky (kidding). This blog is the first in a special Employee Behavior series inspired by our / the Netchex Marketing team’s group Halloween costume: the Life Stages of Britney Spears. We hope you enjoy.

If you’re sitting in your office telling yourself “I think they did it again,” there might be a problem. Making a hiring decision is taxing, and once you’ve made that choice and the recipient accepts, you have expectations from the moment they’re signing new hire paperwork. If this new hire starts to feel a little too comfortable too soon, it can generate bad habits and behavior that can negatively affect your workplace. Preventative measures during and after onboarding can be put in place to help avoid complacency and indiscretions, along with the often uncomfortable confrontation:

Reinforcing and Maintaining Your Employee Handbook:

When a new hire is onboarding, requiring them to read through your Employee Handbook is a must. In a manual full of legalities and policies, a good inclusion is your company’s story, mission statement and overview of culture. This gives the new hire a clear understanding of where the business started and how it progressed, what they value most and how employees demonstrate those values as a working community. It sets a tone and sends a message that they are now a part of this company and its culture, and there are expectations that come with that.

Then the page turns, and it’s time for the legal jargon. Depending on your company’s size, you may have more or less when it comes to dictating these specifications. According to SHRM, a good tip is to have annual (at minimum) check ups of your handbook to make sure everything is clear, accurate and to the point.

Don’t Be an Enabler

Confrontation – probably the scariest word you’ll hear all October. No one likes it. We all try to avoid it – especially with someone who just joined the team. We’ve already discussed the importance of documenting performance problems, but there are efforts you can make to try and deter these incidents from starting and spiraling out of control. According to SHRM, if you find yourself cringing, thinking “oh, that’s me” at one of these signs, you might be an enabler:

    • You are working around a “problem.”
    • Employees accuse you of “playing favorites.”
    • Employees comment that they do not understand documented policies.
    • You have discussions on how to handle an out-of-control person.
    • A well-known issue is denied or downplayed.
    • You fear retaliation or sabotage will result if you enforce rules.
    • Cliques form to protect certain individuals.
    • Some individuals are victims of pranks or horseplay.

But don’t worry, it’s not too late. Take action, whether in a group setting or individually, to re-address common problems, behavioral issues and specific rules that tend to be broken often. Once your employees know this isn’t going by the wayside and that there’s accountability in place, most will cut back and start following the rules again, setting a good example for those new hires.

Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate

A common misconception is that performance reviews and evaluations are conducted to assess pay increases, when evaluations are critical to the success of a business and should be held multiple times a year. For new hires, there should be a standard and timeline in place for conducting a follow-up review and evaluation of their performance. Timing can vary from position to position to make sure you’re tailoring each review to the specific job, as training in some positions can be different than others. But making sure that initial assessment is firmly on you and the new hire’s calendars sets a standard and expectation that their performance and growth in your company is valued and not taken lightly.

Evaluations can be scary, especially for those new to your company. If you see a new hire has exhibited some bad habits or broken some rules early on, you can also put a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)in place if you see fit. This gives the employee the opportunity to improve their performance, follow the rules and show their commitment to their new job and employer without any bias. This reassures the new hire that your company is invested in them and willing to go the extra mile to help them improve professionally.

In the words of Britney Spears, don’t let them lose all their senses. Don’t let “that’s just so typically them” fly. Stay observant and cognizant of employee behavior, especially that of new hires, before they do it again.

netchex-new-logo-copy.pngNetchex HR services help you create and customize an Employee Handbook. For larger, multifaceted companies with dispersed offices and workforces, multiple Handbooks may be necessary. Our library of resources for clients contain customizable templates and ideas to help you get started and implement the right Handbook for your business.


Learn more about Netchex HR services and tools that help small, medium, and enterprise level companies. Explore our full suite of HCM solutions including automated payroll processingstreamlined benefitsand reporting platformstax and compliance services, and integrated time and attendance systems. Find out why more companies trust Netchex employee life-cycle management to simplify the business of HR.
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“Focused Planning: Evaluate Your Facility for a Renovation or Expansion” By: Power Systems

facility renovationAs a facility owner, have you ever thought about renovating your current location? Perhaps to make more space for more members, more programs, or to better utilize the space you have. Or maybe you are on the fence about opening a second location?

If you have ever had these goals, plans, thoughts, or dreams – this blog series is just for you! We have reached out to our Master Coaches who each have experienced success in opening their own facilities, expanding to additional locations, and/or renovating their spaces.

This week, we talked to Power Systems Master Coach & Owner of Camp Rhino, Julie Johnston. Since 2010, she’s grown her Camp Rhino outdoor boot camp to TWO locations in Las Vegas, NV. We asked her some questions about her experience and if she had any words of wisdom to share. 

Power Systems: How did you come to the decision to relocate your original Camp Rhino HQ location?

Julie Johnston: We had some challenges with our original Camp Rhino HQ location. We were in a warehouse space that zero visibility from the street, limited parking, and too few bathrooms. When our lease at the warehouse expired in 2015, we opted to relocate to a location that would better suit our team and our members.

We relocated to a space with more visibility in a retail location. The rent was twice as expensive, and it was a huge risk for us, but it completely paid off within 3 months. At the new Camp Rhino HQ, we were able to dedicate more space for classes, add a turf area, and a multi-purpose space that we use to host personal training sessions and seminars/workshops for our members and staff. So far, the additional space has been more than covered by the increase in personal training revenue.

PS: When did you know it was time to expand and open a second Camp Rhino location?  

JJ: The decision to open a second location was two-fold:  

I decided to convert all my part-time staff to full-time. I wanted my absolute best trainers to have a full 8 hours of work per day. There wasn’t enough room at our first location for all of the staff to have full-time jobs.

Secondly, many of our members had been traveling 40 minutes from the other side of town to attend Camp Rhino. It made sense to add a second location that was more convenient to a majority of the members and that was the start of Camp Rhino – Northwest. I sent two of my top, seasoned trainers to start the second location – both of which have been with me for 10 years.         

PS: How did you approach the process of opening the 2nd location differently than when you opened your first location?

camp rhino


JJ: I approached Camp Rhino Northwest completely different than Camp Rhino HQ. Instead of just ‘winging it’ and thinking I could make it work, we planned everything out as a team.

Staffing Northwest with the best was priority #1.

Next, we had to make sure we found a place that met all our needs – a location was easily accessible with great parking. We also negotiated four beautiful, individual bathrooms and showers so no one ever has to wait to go to the bathroom before a workout!

Financially, I took out a loan for the second location instead of trying to build it slowly with the profits like I did with HQ. New, beautiful equipment is a must for a new location. I had a spreadsheet with the exact number of members we needed each month in order to break even at month 12 when the capital loan would run out.           

For advertising, instead of using Groupon or paid online advertising, I highlighted our 6 Week Challenge on the outside of the building next to our logo (visible from a popular road next to the freeway) and sent out 20,000 postcards to everyone in a mile radius of the gym with our gym schedule on it. I sent out an email to everyone who has ever been in one of our classes in Las Vegas announcing our Grand Opening.

I have not done any paid online advertising for either location in 4 years, but rather focus on building relationships in the community. I do plan on launching a social media campaign soon to advertise our new Nutrition-Only 6 Week Challenge and Diabetes 6 Week Challenge.

PS: What are some tips you can share with someone planning a studio/gym renovation or expansion?

JJ: First and foremost, focus on your team. You can have a huge market with little competition and an amazing marketing plan, but if your team isn’t happy, customers are not going to stay. Make sure your staff is doing what they love to do and help them bond together by reminding them that they are helping save the World through nutrition and exercise. Do this BEFORE expanding with a renovation or second location. Make sure that your best trainers are teaching the most classes and have a key role in the expansion.

Secondly, ask yourself why you are expanding. Look at the numbers and make sure you are not just growing your revenue without growing your potential for a net profit. I expanded to a second location because I knew I would lose some of my team if I didn’t. And I think finding and growing a good team is the hardest part of owning a business. I believe the profit will eventually come with the right team.

And finally, make sure your systems and processes are dialed in and written down. Every time a staff member has a question for you, write it in your ‘Best Practices’ book and make sure there is a system in place for that issue. Systems and processes should be subject to change and improve often, but if they are not written down, team members cannot be held responsible for knowing those systems and processes. Your first location should be able to run without you before you start your second location.


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“How Your Trainers Can Encourage Clients to be More Productive at the Gym” By: True Fitness

There are many challenges when it comes to making sure your members come to the gym. Every member needs different types of encouragement to stay motivated and accountable for their workouts, independently and for their personal training sessions or group classes. Even if the trainer cannot be there for every exercise, there are still ways they can help inspire members throughout their training.

Host a Social Media Contest

Keep members who utilize personal training opportunities motivated by launching a social media contest!  Before the contest starts, prep and countdown with members, remind them regularly leading up to the start of the contest what the prize will be if they win or participate.

Take engaging photos of clients on equipment to show their participation. After, encourage your trainers to post those same videos and photos on their personal profiles with a designated hashtag. The hashtag should be used by every participant and relate to the contact, name of the gym or something similar to track the winners accurately.

Remember – always ask permission first before taking or someone else’s photo or video!

Brag About Your Clients

Recognize members crushing their goals at the gym with client spotlights. Each month, post a member’s photo with a caption about why you chose to feature that member. These client spotlights are especially effective in raising awareness for your gym; it’s likely the member you feature may share the post to their own page for family and friends to see, but more importantly, they will feel renewed motivation to stay consistent in the gym!

Regularly Report Progress

A study from Dominican University of California found that stating a specific goal affects the likelihood of its success. Seventy percent of study participants who reported their progress to a friend each week were successful in reaching their goal.

Advise members to track progress through simple, small acts like taking progress photos every few weeks to a month. Set-up a specific time every few sessions to talk about goals and what goals have been achieved thus far, too.

Being a gym owner or manager isn’t without its challenges when it comes to member retention, same for trainers, you both want the best for clients. Push your clients hard, but push yourself as their trainer to show clients how far they have come and that you care about their fitness and overall well-being.


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“20 Years of Transformations & Inspirations: The Gold’s Gym Challenge is our Tradition” By: Dave Kenyon, Challenge Chairman


Hi Gold’s Gym Owners and Team Leaders!
We want to congratulate all the member contestants who participated in the 2018 Gold’s Gym Challenge!  They are all winners, for making the decision to join the Challenge, the commitment to see it through, and the courage to finish!  This program which started in 1998, celebrates 20 years of changing peoples’ lives through commitment, support and encouragement.  You and your staff are a big part of this by teaching and training members how to change their mind, their lifestyle and improve their health and fitness.
This week, owners and corporate staff are informing their winners at the local level.  Watch for a national Press Release to come out next week from Gold’s Gym corporate, with a full list of the national winners, and the top male and female champions!
I wrote this message to our members at Gold’s Gym Dutchess County, NY yesterday, and I invite you to share it with yours as well.  Contact Deb or Rachel if you want a word doc version.

The word Challenge is everywhere. I think it is the new fitness buzzword; or is it? Think about a challenge you have recently faced that had nothing to do with fitness. Maybe you had a financial challenge or a challenge with your family. When you think of these types of challenges, what emotions or feelings do you experience? Anger, disappointment, discouragement, even sadness.  Now think about a positive challenge experience, maybe a hike that you have never done before, or learning something new, like playing the piano, or guitar.

The word Challenge can mean many things, and we would like you to embrace every challenge you may face with a positive attitude that you will overcome it.

That is why we hold the annual Gold’s Gym Challenge every year in January, so you can take on something that is probably the easiest challenge you will ever face. A challenge to be a better version of yourself. For those of you that have gone through the Gold’s Gym Challenge you may say to yourself, that wasn’t easy at all, I sacrificed so much to change myself. But think about how you know feel and look? Was it worth it? Did you give it your all, or did you not take it seriously? I will let you decide that for yourself.

I will say this – for those of you that took it seriously and really made changes to your habits and your lifestyle, GOOD for you!! That is why we created the GG Challenge in the first place. We wanted people to have a desire to truly improve themselves and make healthy habits a lifestyle they could enjoy forever. Yes, I did say enjoy. By enjoying this new lifestyle, I mean being able to live and be healthy and active enough to do whatever you want to do. So, going for a hike with friends is not out of the question. Learning to play a new instrument doesn’t feel like a taunting task. Having a family crisis or challenge, is a bit easier to deal with now that you have learned to sacrifice and make tough decisions.

You see, it’s not all about getting abs, or losing weight. It’s about being confident that you have control over what you do, and how you feel. Being able to say no when it really isn’t the best thing for you.

Being a better version of yourself takes practice and going through the Gold’s Gym Challenge is the best practice you can do. So, congratulations to all those who finished and made themselves better this year. And to those of you that want to have more control over your life, we will see you in January!

Dave Kenyon
Dave Kenyon
Gold’s Gym Challenge Chairman
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“Maximize Email Marketing with this Driver” By: Sneeze it


Digital marketing, in essence, is 90% relative to communication. Despite the vehicle you use to deliver a message, each business is communicating some form of a want or need to their audience(s). Today, we’re going to discuss one of the top performing vehicles of communication in marketing: email.

Marketers are continuously on edge, looking for ways to stand out and engage users with their email marketing tactics. While there are many new developments, one technique has taken center-stage — GIFs.

They say that a picture is worth one-thousand words, so an animated one must be worth even more, right? We certainly think so.

Here are a few reasons you might want to give GIFs a shot:

  1. Higher engagement rates – Movement is quicker to catch a reader’s eye and can encourage them to click-through to a landing page or offer, therefore serving a great call-to-action.
  2. Compressed information – Have you ever spent a considerable amount of time choosing or heck, even split testing a single graphic? With the use of a GIF, you don’t have to rely on just one. You can now condense information or images into a single piece of content.
  3. An alternative to video – On the flip-side, if you have an abundance of information stored in a single video but find that you’re losing your audience(s), compressing the information into a GIF might be your best bet! Also, video is still pretty poorly supported in email.
  4. They’re FUN – animation can add a touch of humor or even fun to what was once a boring email. It makes people want to look.

GIFs can communicate your message quickly and tend to shorten and simplify more complicated ideas in just a few short frames. More than that, they’re fun and can completely change the way your messages are perceived. If properly placed, well planned, tested, and made simple, you’re almost guaranteed to see a better performance rate.



It’s all about converting prospects into customers—the one measurement most digital marketing agencies shy away from. We work from the ground up, beginning with what it takes to turn a prospect into a customer and we work on converting your web traffic into solid leads.

Visit their wesite or email info@sneeze.it to learn more.

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“Three Keys to Retention, Why Is It So Hard?” By: Daron Allen, CEO, Visual Fitness Planner


If there are only three keys to retention, why is it so hard? Albert Einstein said, “If I had to save the world in an hour, I would use 59 minutes to analyze the problem and one to come up with a solution.”

The true understanding of a problem is to break it down into its smallest components. When we look at retention, it boils down to three keys:

  1. Environment
  2. Community
  3. Results

Environment: the club itself has to be well-designed, well-equipped, and clean.

Community: creating a true community where members are connected to each other, or to at least one member of the staff, in some way outside the walls of the club.

Results: quantitatively demonstrating on a consistent basis the results a member is achieving.

The three components to Environment:

(a) as an industry we have tried to be all things to all people – we have designed environments that resonate with some, but leave the majority of people feeling cold and alienated.

(b) in terms of equipment, we have it all – more than the consumer even understands or could ever use. Generally, people don’t leave our clubs because we don’t have enough equipment.

(c) the last component, cleanliness, has been a huge emphasis in the industry for the last 10 years and has made significant progress; it’s rare now to walk in a gym and find it unkept or unclean.

Community is all about connections. The industry has tried to be efficient and use technology solutions (email, text communications, etc.). Those tools are good for branding, marketing and sales, but at the end of the day, do little in the way of promoting deep connections. The promotion of deep human connections needs to come from the members feeling a sense of community where they are all striving for the same goal of becoming healthier and more fit. Connecting members together around a common goal, so they can support, encourage, and inspire each other, is how true organic community is formed. The role of the fitness staff in helping form the community is that of a leader showing a clear path to goal achievement, (i.e. personal training staff leading team training). The other role of your fitness staff is to be a connector, by encouraging member participation on the club’s social media platform. Now, this is where technology can assist clubs with social media platforms that can bond your members together – all focused around members supporting, encouraging and inspiring each other.

Results are the differences – think about that. If one of our keys to retention is showing results, that means we have to demonstrate to members the differences. So, what are the differences? Unfortunately, now, we let the member determine the differences, (i.e. Their goals, weight loss, the shape of their body, dress size, feeling better, blood pressure, etc.). These are all good overall outcomes, but they are poor lead indicators of results. We need to make sure we are celebrating with our members lead indicators of results when they achieve them, (i.e. increasing the weight, increasing reps, lower heart rate during exercise, increase number of push-ups, increase flexibility – the list can go on forever). These lead indicators of success are what we should be celebrating with our members. With almost every visit to the club there is some measurable level of improvement with almost every member. We have to have a systematic way of demonstrating results so the member has the ability to celebrate with the other members of the community. It starts with a clear assessment during the fitness consultation, understanding the member’s goals, where their level of fitness is currently, and what small individual milestones they can achieve over the next few weeks.

So, as Albert Einstein said, we have spent the last 59 minutes analyzing the problem. Now, what is the one-minute solution? I know it sounds simple, but as with most great answers it is simple – Team Training.

Think about it. Your club is probably already well-designed, well-equipped and you spend a great deal of time making sure it’s clean; so, check off item number one – environment. Now, we can spend the remainder of our one minute coming up with solutions for community and results. Nothing fosters community better than people working around a common goal (i.e. team training), and nothing has been proven to yield greater results than high-intensity interval training. Your team training instructors can direct people to a social media site where all the members of the team can encourage and support each other, at the same time celebrating their results. With team training, our trainers have the opportunity to point out, celebrate and encourage the small victories members achieve during the class, (way to go, you did four more push-ups in 60 seconds than you did last week, your box jump is increasing, you did 10 Burpees today – that’s amazing). When team instructors can point out and celebrate with the member every small achievement, quantifying results for the member is no longer a problem.

Members who like the environment, work out with friends, see results and receive encouragement with every work out are not the members leaving your gym.

Can team training really solve the industry’s retention problem? No, nothing will ever completely solve the retention issue, but it provides an opportunity to significantly help improve retention rates.

If you’re already running team training, congratulations! If you need help starting a program or getting a higher percentage of members involved, contact a VFP consultant.

VFP+ (1)
CEO, Visual Fitness Planner
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“ACA Reporting Requirements for 2018” By: Melissa Knowles, Vice President of Gym HQ- A ClubReady Company

aca.pngIf you’re like many business owners, your attention span and patience for understanding the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements wore thin long ago.  Will it be repealed? Replaced? What changes will we see? What are you required to do under the current legislation?  The only thing that may seem clear at this point is that nothing is clear!  Meanwhile, the IRS has announced that it is still moving forward with ACA reporting on the 2017 tax year with the 2018 deadlines. During the first week of October 2017, they published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for reporting on health coverage they offered to their employees in the 2017 year. While Congress hurls daggers back and forth across the aisles, we’re here to arm you with the latest guidelines and reporting requirements so you may prepare for year-end 2017.

ACA Reporting Deadlines for 2018

FORM 1095-C and FORM 1095-B

Due to employees Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Employers are responsible for furnishing their employees with either Form 1095-C or Form 1095-B by Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Employers are still responsible for filing copies with the IRS by Wednesday, February 28, 2018, if filing by paper or Monday, April 2, 2018, if filing electronically (same as Form 1094-C or Form 1094-B).

Which do you file?

Companies providing minimum essential coverage to an individual during 2017 must file an information return reporting the coverage. If an employer had at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) on average, the employer is considered an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), is subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the ACA, and is required to file Form 1095-C.  Employers with fewer than 50 FTEs are not subject to the shared responsibility provisions.  If no minimum essential coverage was provided to employees, no reporting is required.  If coverage was provided, Form 1095-B should be filed.

These forms help employees complete their individual tax returns by providing important information regarding their health coverage for the previous calendar year. On Line 61 of individual tax returns, employees must show whether they or their family members had minimum essential coverage.

Employers should report the following:

  • Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)
  • Employee ID number
  • Social security numbers of the employee and his/her dependents (not spouse)

FORM 1094-C and FORM 1094-B

Due to the IRS via paper: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Due to the IRS electronically: April 2, 2018

This form functions as “proof” that Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) provided the coverage they were required to under the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate. It also functions as the cover sheet used to transmit forms 1095-C or 1095-B to the IRS.

ALEs with more than 250 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) are required to file electronically.  Those with fewer than 250 may file on paper or electronically.

Employers with less than 50 FTEs who voluntarily provided minimum essential coverage and therefore filed Form 1095-B for all covered employees, should also file Form 1094-B.

FORM 8809 (Extension Request)

Employers who expect to miss the stated deadlines should file for an extension.  To apply for an extension, submit FORM 8809 on or before the due date.


Failure to file complete and accurate Form 1094-C or Form 1094-B by the form deadline will result in penalties equal to $250 per form, not to exceed $3 million per year. Failure to file and furnish correct information on Form 1095-C or Form 1095-B could result in a $500 per form penalty for employers.

Since the required reports are somewhat time-consuming to complete manually, consider outsourcing the process to a 3rd party.  GYM HQ utilizes Paychex as our preferred payroll platform for our clients.  They offer ACA reporting as an add-on service.  This is a great way to ensure that reports are accurate and timely.  If you’re preparing the filings in-house, start preparing now.

  • Ensure you understand how to complete all the required forms.  Instructions can be found on the IRS website.
  • Start determining the reporting you’ll need to pull from your payroll software and benefits website in order to complete the required forms.  Sometimes this involves building out custom reporting.
  •  Determine if you qualify as an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). See our guide on this.


  • Start communications with your staff on what they should expect.  Three primary messages to convey are: what form they’ll receive (Form 1095-C or 1095-B), why they should care (information is needed to file their taxes), and when they should expect to receive this form (by January 31st).


Melissa Knowles


Melissa Knowles
Vice President
Gym HQ / A Clubready Company
GGFA Think Tank Panel

Melissa Knowles has over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, gym hqfitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.
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