Fitness First: Culture change from the inside out

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Fitness First is one of the leading health and fitness groups worldwide. Since it began in the UK in 1993, the Fitness First Group has expanded rapidly and now operates in 16 countries. Fitness First Australia has more than 240,000 members who visit 78 clubs across QLD, NSW, VIC, the ACT and WA more than 15 million times a year.

Fitness First strives to maintain a highly supportive and motivating environment for its members and employees. They invest in training programs to develop the core capabilities of their employees. Each staff member is given the opportunity to become Fitness First Certified through a three-tiered strategy that provides a clear career path for every employee. The annual performance review period is not the only opportunity to formally recognise and reward employees – Fitness First has eight annual club awards which are linked directly to key business objectives.

Communication is key in order for Fitness First to gauge employee satisfaction. Regular breakfasts, twice-weekly newsletters, leadership and fitness summits and the Managing Director’s monthly electronic diary ‘Pete’s Blog’, help to keep employees informed and engaged. Staff feedback is integral, with the company’s values “Our Winning Ways” emerging from several staff workshops across six countries. “Culture change occurs from inside out,” said Sarah Sammut, head of human resources. “Our staff needed to represent this change in order for members to see and feel our new direction, and communication was central to bringing that to life.” This commitment to staff has seen the business be honoured as an ABA100 Winner for Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2014.