Is your staff growing your business? How to give constructive feedback to improve buy-in

Is your staff growing your business? How to give constructive feedback to improve buy-in

Read Time :

Reliable staffing is almost always at the top of the list when discussing a studio owner's goals, and it's not an easy subject to tackle. You want your employees to love their job but also connect with the clients, teach safe classes, show up early, and remember to turn the thermostat off when they leave. It can be a long list of expectations, and your teachers may not know where they're meeting the mark and where they're falling short. How do you help them succeed? Reliable feedback is your ticket to engaged, long-term relationships with your teachers. 


Does the idea of giving regular feedback to your staff make you uneasy? More than 75% of those surveyed reported that they found feedback valuable for their job performance, and multiple studies have linked employee engagement with consistent performance feedback. Although regular, scheduled reviews are important, each feedback opportunity doesn't need to be a formal process. Surveys show that the younger your staff, the more they prefer weekly or even daily feedback! You don't need to run out and buy a clipboard to jot notes on, but here's how to get the most out of your review process.


Why give feedback?

 A regular review process does more than keep your employees engaged- although that is certainly a significant reason in itself. Executed efficiently, consistent feedback clarifies staff expectations, improves employee behavior, identifies training areas that need more emphasis, increases employee confidence, and, perhaps most importantly, improves your clients' experience. Have you ever worked at a job where you didn't know if you were meeting expectations? Did it leave you feeling insecure in your job performance? If so, you're in good company. 64% of those surveyed in a global study said that their manager failed to meet the employee's regular feedback expectation. More than half! If you've found that your studio has become a revolving door of teachers, it's time to implement your feedback process. 


What if you’re an established studio?

Just because you haven't implemented a review process in the past does not mean you missed the boat. All of these action steps can be implemented if you're a brand new studio just starting out or an established studio of 20+ years. In either case, first, take the time to draft review policies that support your studio's mission for yourself and then bring your staff on board, making sure to explain why this benefits both the studio and the employee. Your new system should feel collaborative and constructive to building your employees' careers, too, not just a new top-down way to give feedback. 

Here's a quick exercise to try before we dive into how to give appropriate feedback. Close your eyes and imagine you've just finished teaching your class. Clients are preparing to leave, and you still have your class notes in your hand. You walk to the desk and find yourself face-to-face with the studio owner, who immediately launches into a laundry list of problems and perceived failures that occurred in your class. Do you absorb the feedback? Make a plan to improve? Feel empowered and supported? Probably not. The more likely scenario is that you feel attacked, and your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. If you're anxious about meeting expectations already, you probably blackout, get defensive or fail to digest the list of shortcomings altogether. Worst-case scenario as an employer, right? Even if the studio owner or manager meant well, the delivery was nowhere near conducive to learning and empowerment. Here's how to get it right.


fitDEGREE can support your Studio Fitness

Consult with us now!

Positive and Actionable

"You're always offbeat, and your cues are late." Do you feel particularly motivated to work on your cueing or musicality after receiving that feedback? It takes more effort to word your feedback in a positive light, but it conveys to your employees that you're on the same team and you're here to support, not drag them down. Make sure your delivery matches your intention. You're not giving feedback to make your staff afraid to see you in class. You want to help them be the best teacher they can be, and so do they! Feedback should be constructive and include actionable steps. 

"I noticed that you've been having a difficult time with your musicality. I remember how hard it was to catch the beat when I first started teaching this format, too. Do you know what helped me? Snapping the 8-count to any song I heard on the radio. Try it this week, and we'll regroup next week to see how it's going."  

You probably feel more inclined to practice your feedback now that you know 1. you're not alone in this struggle and 2. what steps to take to meet expectations. It might take practice, but remember, the goal is to help your team develop, teach them how to meet expectations, and increase buy-in, not tear them down and hurt their feelings.


Examples of actionable feedback:
  • Instead of "class felt slow." Try, "Let's work on memorizing your lesson plan and speeding up your cueing so that each exercise flows into the next. Practice with me real quick..."
  • Instead of "You're late again!" Try, "Starting classes on time is essential to our client experience. Does this time slot not work well with your schedule? I noticed that you've been 5 minutes late twice this month. How can we problem-solve to be sure class starts on time?" 
  • Instead of "great job!" Try, "I really appreciate that you come to class prepared and enthusiastic. It gives our clients such a positive experience."



Clear and Consistent

In a similar vein, in order to be effective, feedback should be both clear and consistent each time it's delivered. During quarterly evaluations, either take the class or sit in the back and quickly jot down notes. Talk to your employees about how you conduct evaluations ahead of time, and even explain that you'll be noting both positive and constructive feedback, so your teacher isn't left panicking every time she sees you writing. When you give notes, succinctly and clearly describe both the positive and the negative, so your employee isn't left guessing what precisely the feedback meant. It's hard to improve when you're not sure what you did wrong.

Examples:
  • "I noticed and appreciated that you were diligent with your physical adjustments throughout class. Each client received personalized attention from you, and that's so important for our studio's culture."
  • "I loved the exercises you chose to include today. My only note is that the class ended rather abruptly, which felt rushed and surprising. Make sure you leave five minutes at the end of class to gradually cool down and help transition the clients back into their day." 


Regular and Predictable

No one likes a pop quiz, and the same is true for surprise feedback. Your staff should be able to anticipate and mentally prepare for their evaluations. If you don't have a system for feedback in place yet, take some time to create your best practice handbook and present it at the next staff meeting. Your staff should know the following,

  • How often are formal reviews conducted?
  • When should I expect informal feedback?
  • What will feedback look like?
  • If the manager/owner is in my class, is that an evaluation, or is s/he just there to workout?

Regular evaluations should be predictable in both schedule and delivery. Consider conducting your more formal assessments on a regular schedule, i.e., quarterly, so the employee knows what to expect. 


Informal Feedback

Let's say you've just taken a teacher's class and you noticed that the music volume was too low, which brought the energy down. This isn't a scheduled formal review, but feedback should still take place so your teacher can uphold the studio's standards for the next class. If you've built a culture of reciprocal feedback and consistent growth amongst your staff, it won't be a problem to share your observations and suggestions with your teacher. Just make sure the following is in place before you do:


  1. Wait for the clients to filter out. It's uncomfortable to receive critiques in front of an audience.
  2. Eliminate distractions. Put your phone down and maintain eye contact so that your feedback comes across as sincere.
  3. Check your body language and voice. If you're having a bad day, now isn't the time to share your thoughts, and the same goes for your instructor. 
  4. Check before you launch into your lesson. Ask your employee, "Is now a good time to talk about class today, or would you prefer to schedule a time this week?"
  5. Keep it short, positive, constructive, and actionable. All of your formal review rules apply for regular feedback, too. 


When It's Serious

As much as we love our jobs as studio owners and managers, it certainly comes with its fair share of difficult conversations. Sometimes, putting a positive spin on it isn't going to change the fact that your teacher slept through her 6 AM class...for the third time this month. When the feedback will be difficult or result in an employee's termination, remember the following:

  1. Document everything. This is essential. Even if you live in an at-will employment state, you need to document what exactly the infraction was and what steps, if any, come next to return your employee to good standing. 
  2. Give feedback in person. It might be easier to hide behind your keyboard, but that can leave room for misunderstandings. Delicate feedback needs to be face to face, so there's nothing left dangling between the lines.
  3. Schedule a sit-down ASAP. Negative feedback should be timely. Don't wait a week before meeting with your employee, but if you're really angry, you should schedule the meeting out at least 24 hours so that you are calm and level-headed.
  4. Try your best to take emotion out of the equation. If you don't have a handbook that clearly outlines employee expectations yet, now is the time to make one. Feedback is much easier to give and receive when the rules are clear for everyone. 


Recognize the growth

Although we all want to be - and employ - intrinsically motivated people, external validation makes us feel like our efforts are being noticed. Feedback isn't just for critiques. Let your staff know when they're surpassing your expectations. Recognition of a great job can be direct, "Ashley, that class was amazing! I loved the sequencing today; the class seemed to fly by!" Or public, like presenting your teacher with her favorite coffee at the end of a class she subbed, or a social media post sharing that one of your teachers just taught her 500th class. Get to know your staff and ask them, 

  • What makes you feel appreciated?
  • How would you like me to share positive feedback?
  •  Are you okay with public recognition?

Feedback often carries a negative connotation, but done correctly, regular reviews should make your staff feel supported, engaged, and important to the team. So, create your handbook, schedule a fun staff meeting, and share your ideas with your staff. Your staff retention will thank you for it. 


Looks like you are finding this valuable, would you also like our latest copy of Navigating the New Normal?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

How to Increase Your Boutique Studio Sales by Optimizing Your Intro Process

Are your clients staying? Improve your gym's retention rate with these strategies

8 reasons why your intro offer isn’t converting into long-term memberships

Are large class packages harming your gym's business? How to price for competitive growth.

7 Ways to Boost Your Event Marketing and Capture Your Perfect Customer

Are You Using Pop Up Classes to Capture Your Perfect Customer? Here's How.

7 Steps to Create a 12-Month Marketing Calendar to Boost Engagement All Year

How to Maximize Guerilla Marketing to Drive New Clients to Your Gym

Is your gym set up for success? How to create and set achievable new goals in 2022

Is your staff growing your business? How to give constructive feedback to improve buy-in

How to increase your gym's profits without actually making any more money

Client Communication Excellence: Stand Out With These 4 Tools

Member Retention For Long Term Growth

Why Getting More Reviews For Your Gym Should Be A Top Priority

Referrals Should Be A Top Priority For Your Business

Navigating The New Normal

Testing And Tracking Intro Offers

How To Build Your Intro Offer: The 3 Variables to Consider

Membership Contracts and Why You Need Them

Creating A Successful Sales Process

Importance of an Initial Consultation

10 Rules For A Standard Group Class Model Pricing Structure

5 Key Factors For Creating A Revenue-Generating Pricing Structure

7 Things Your Website Needs To Turn Clicks Into Clients

5 Tips to a Successful Studio Management Software Transfer

The 5 Social Media Tools You Need Right Now

Why your Fitness Business Can't Survive Without Community and How to Build a Powerful One

7 Things Your Website Needs To Turn Clicks Into Clients

Why your Fitness Business Can't Survive Without Community (and How to Build a Powerful One)

Membership Contracts and Why You Need Them

Switching Studio Management Software: Reality vs. Expectation

How To Build Your Intro Offer: The 3 Variables to Consider

10 Rules For A Standard Group Class Model Pricing Structure

5 Tips to a Successful Studio Management Software Transfer

The 5 Social Media Tools You Need Right Now in Your Fitness Studio

5 Key Factors For Creating A Revenue-Generating Pricing Structure

How To Build Your Intro Offer: The 3 Variables to Consider

What Does It Cost to Run a Barre Studio?

How the Best Fitness Studios Niche Down to Build Their Business

How to Practice Self-Care When Your Job is to Care for Others

12 Facebook Live Tips for Fitness Studio Owners

Friends Don’t Let Friends Yoga Alone: 11 Tips for Successful Referral Marketing

How Your Yoga Practice Can Spark Gratitude

The 3 Main Ways Your Studio Website Is Failing You and How You Can Fix Them

Should You Crowdfund Your New Yoga Studio Business?

4 Reasons Your Members are Bouncing After Their Class Pass is Finished

Why Yoga Studios Are a Booming Business Right Now

Using Your Yoga Studio Business Software for Marketing 

The Importance of Having Yoga Studio Scheduling Software

Are Your Instructors Making or Breaking Your Studio Brand?

Comparing the Features of Different Types of Yoga Studio Business Software 

Best Software for Keeping Studio Management Simple

Pricing Breakdowns of the 5 Best Yoga Studio Management Software Options

3 Essential Tips for Keeping Yoga Students Happy

Why The Barre Workout Studios Are Growing So Fast 

Insider Secrets for Branding a Yoga Studio that Succeeds

How Yoga Studio Software Benefits Smaller Studios

How to Successfully Run a Yoga and Pilates Studio

Work Smarter, Not Harder: A Guide to Creating Work/Life Balance

Comparing the Five Best Studio Software Consumer Apps

How to Use Prenatal Pilates to Bring in New Clients

5 Things to Do When Opening Your New Fitness Business

What You Should Know About Your Yoga Studio Software

Pilates vs Yoga: What Classes Should You Offer?

4 New and Innovative Ideas to Market Your Yoga Studio

 The Top 5 Benefits of Having Yoga Studio Management Software

9 Strategies for Getting Your Members to Review Your Yoga Studio

How to Get a Pilates Certification

How to Determine the Best Yoga Studio Management Software for Your Studio

5 Portable Ballet Barres You Can Take Anywhere

Reviews of the 10 Best Yoga Studio Management Software

8 Steps to running Your Yoga Business Mindfully

How to Get Your Barre Certification

Fitness Marketing 4 New and Innovative Ideas To Market Your Gym

How Can I Make My Yoga Business Successful

Posts You Might Like

How to Increase Your Boutique Studio Sales by Optimizing Your Intro Process

As a gym owner, new leads are likely a high priority for your fitness business. Each client who walks into your studio has the potential to bring thousands of dollars in new revenue, but they have to convert from their trial into a membership.

Are your clients staying? Improve your gym's retention rate with these strategies

As a boutique fitness owner, you likely focus a majority of your time and energy on encouraging new clients to sign up for a membership at your studio or gym. Hopefully, you regularly check in on your conversion rates from intro to long-term package in your fitDEGREE software, and you've choreographed your ideal new client flow using steps like these...

8 reasons why your intro offer isn’t converting into long-term memberships

Most studio owners agree that attracting new leads who will purchase a long-term package is a top priority. Studios spend much of their budget on advertising, but capturing the right client with engaging, effective marketing is only half the challenge...

Software Updates

Want to know about the latest improvements to fitDEGREE?
SEE LATEST SOFTWARE UPDATES
Black Friday
sale
Ready to switch to a more affordable, customer-friendly management tool? We've got you covered.
SCHEDULE A FREE FITDEGREE DEMO

Get all the resources
in your inbox

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.