How’s your relationship with your teachers these days? Do you come and go like ships in the night? Do you ever actually stop and talk to each other about the business, about how their classes are doing, about how they’re interested in growing? Or, do you just have casual conversations and check in to see how life is?
Running a successful studio relies so heavily on the teachers, including how inspired they are to promote classes. How long they stick around. How hard they work to retain clients.
So, stop for a minute and think about how you’re actually managing them. Are you leading them or working alongside them? Are you grooming them and helping them grow? Are they excited to walk in and work for you?
These questions are probably on their mind. They’re hungry to learn and won’t stay at your studio for long unless they feel appreciated and empowered. So, what can you do?
Here are 5 ways to attract and keep the best ones around.
1. Design an Onboarding Process. When you have a new teacher starting, be sure to create an onboarding process that not only teaches them the operational ropes, but also gives them a full understanding of your studio mission. They will be an extension of you, and if they aren’t aligned with your “why,” they won’t be the right fit long-term.
Test them on it. Be sure that they are able to articulate what you set out to do and how their offerings are one piece of the puzzle. Have them fill out a goals sheet so you know how to help them along the way. Offer a structured continuing education program. Ensure each one takes the MINDBODY front desk certification course in case they are required to help at the studio at busy times. Meet with them after one week, one month and the first quarter to talk about the good, the challenging, and the unacceptable
2. Schedule Reviews. This may sound counterintuitive, since it may come off as intimidating to some. But, in my experience, it’s actually the opposite. Employees love to know where they stand and love to know how they can get better. Give them an overview on the business. Let them know what goals you are shooting for and what benchmarks they are being measured against.
Teachers want to know that information. They’re hungry to find out how they can be better at their craft. No one likes it when three people show up to a class, and ultimately, that teacher won’t last very long at your studio (you know they’ll find a way to blame it on you).
So, find a way to work together. Collaborate to build numbers, grow the community and to make a better experience for the students there. Make the reviews a regular practice so it doesn’t feel like a punishment or reprimanding. Have fun with it.
3. Know their Love Language. Is the teacher an individual that wants to sit down over a glass of wine and have a casual conversation that flows into business information and really gives them an outline of how to move forward? Do they want a gift when they succeed? Are they a super structured individual that wants to have an “action items” list with specific goals? Or, is this individual somebody that really needs an emotional connection with a hug followed by deep questioning about their purpose at your studio?
Find out the way they like to be communicated with. When you have empathy and make your teachers feel genuinely appreciated, they will do anything for you. (Check out our favorite – Gary Chapman’s book here).
4. Learn the Why. Once you find out how to communicate with them, find out what they want and why they want it. (See goals sheet in onboarding). Why are they teaching yoga? Are they driven by money or something bigger? Are they teaching only for you? Do they feel like they have certain gaps in their expertise that they’d love to fill? How can you reward them when they’re doing well?
When you understand where the teacher wants to go, your goal setting meetings won’t be just for your business, but it will be for them as individuals too. You’ll have a really nice map of who they are, how they like to be communicated with, and how to lock them in long term.
5. Team Meetings. Meet quarterly with your whole team. I’m serious. It works. If it can’t be in person (it’s tough with part-timers), do it over Zoom. But do it. If you want to stand out to teachers, be the studio that works as a team.
And don’t be afraid of transparency. Talk about where your business is, the state of your membership and your retention numbers. Give them a glimpse into your marketing efforts and ask for feedback. Ask them to market! (MINDBODY has easy ways to share booking directly from their Insta Story).
Be an open book. Set some big team goals and offer some big team rewards. You are in it together. When everybody’s on board, the studio will thrive. As you develop deeper relationships with your teachers, you’ll find that they’re more inclined to stay with you and work for the studio.
It can be a challenge to manage part-time employees, but it can have major rewards if you do it right. Give them a reason to be interested in the studio and your business goals. Help them align their personal goals with the studio vision. Empathize with them and find out what drives them.
Most of all, remind them of how your studio is serving the community and making the world a better place one class at a time. Check out our Leadership and Management Training for more info on developing yourself as a leader.
San Diego based-MINDBODY Certified Business Consultant Laura Munkholm is the founder and CEO of Studio Solutions. She has worked with yoga and barre studios around the world to help them grow revenue, memberships and to improve the overall client experience.