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The ideal job description for a fitness center

When we investigate on the critical management issues that afflict most sports facilities, we almost always point the finger towards the general disorganization and misalignment of individual employees with respect to the guidelines set by the structure. Various countermeasures can be taken to overcome these problems, the quickest of which being undoubtedly the creation of a job description.

The job description is a document that formalizes and highlights functions and tasks of a company’s personnel.

It is an essential document for any well-organised company, as it confirms what the company expects every employee and collaborator to do when carrying out the activities delegated to them, avoiding any free interpretation of their role.
An ideal fitness and wellness centre must look like a structured company. Therefore, it should have a job description. Unfortunately, in most cases this does not happen. Indeed, the job description is often considered by the owner of a fitness centre as a useless and superfluous bureaucratic document.

This does not mean that a fitness centre is free of any form of written regulation. However, it must be clear that job descriptions and regulations are different documents, with distinct contents and purposes. In fact, while a regulation is limited to indicating what has to be done or not to be done, a job description outlines instead the sphere of action for each staff member, indicating the boundaries of his/her responsibilities and referring the details of how to carry out their actions to specific operating procedures. While it is possible for a job description to incorporate the regulation, the opposite cannot be true.

What should a job description look like?

A complete job description must contain indications regarding general rules of conduct applicable to any role, as well as indications designed for each specific role, from general managers to individual sector collaborators.

Therefore, the first suggestion on the characteristics of a job description is to provide a first common part to everybody and one where everyone can instead find information about their own role. Useful information to the whole organization can concern the general company structure, the names of those in charge of the various roles, their company contact details and other useful numbers to contact for emergencies and extraordinary interventions.

The job description can be written either as a handbook made up of sections, chapters and paragraphs, or as a collection of cards to be consulted, where each card corresponds to a role. What matters is that to each role are clearly indicated, among other things, the human resources associated with it, the number of information to be transmitted as well as to whom, the practical activities required and their frequency.

Tips for an effective job description

In order for the job description to be really useful, it must carry out in almost complete autonomy the task of informing and answering at any time the most commonly asked questions and doubts about each role.

What should I do? Who should I ask? What can I do? How often do I have to do it? What are my other responsibilities? An effective job description can answer these questions immediately

If the job description is to answer these questions "at all times", It is essential that it can be always accessible, preferably by using both paper and digital formats.

In order to be able to respond to the employee "autonomously", the job description must be expressed in a simple and clear manner for everyone. Furthermore, it must not leave any room for interpretation for the employee; in other words, it must be "complete". In order for the job description to be autonomous and complete, it is advisable that - when inserting a new resource or sharing the new job description - the person who wrote it will be available to read or modify the document together with each collaborator involved.

A good job description must also be consistent with the company's philosophy and purposes, to which every staff member, regardless of his/her position, must always refer. That’s why a valid job description must include in its introduction a section dedicated to such aspects, which guide the actions and behaviour of the staff at all times.

Finally, the job description needs continuous updating and revision, in order to keep it relevant and up to date. In fact, an outdated job description would only risk creating situations of conflict between those still putting its guidelines into practice and those aware of its shortcomings.

Immediate results of a good job description

A job description that is clear, correct, complete and updated becomes an integral part of the organization, helping it to resolve emergencies, roles of responsibility among collaborators and other procedures.
In fact, just as there are specific procedures to manage the dynamics with members, such as reception, registration, subscription renewal and access monitoring, so there will also be common procedures to manage emergencies, malfunctions and dynamics with staff. It goes without saying that the effectiveness of the job description will depend on the way managers will accustom each employee to managing and resolving the various situations independently. In fact, a job description is meaningless if the director always expects a direct contact before any action of the employee or if they do not encourage the person to independently seek the answers and directions in the job description.

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