Last year, and into 2021 we’ve been given time. Time to hold a microscope up to many of the systems we have in place throughout our society. Systems like our health care system, our government institutions and even our school system. What we found was loud and clear. That we could no longer be silent about the inequity and injustices that exist within.
Increased awareness and mobilization to ensure fair representation and diversity, particularly in the fitness industry is critical. All fitness businesses, from gyms and boutique studios, to suppliers, apparel, and technology companies are called to lead the way. Ensuring that your fitness business supports everyone fairly and fosters safe spaces is pivotal. These noticeable adjustments not only elevates your brand’s reputation, but also creates greater brand appeal to a wider audience.
Making transformational changes to your business is not an overnight task, this requires a long-term and comprehensive strategy. Because there are many things that you can implement to demonstrate your commitment to creating a safe space for everyone regardless of their age, race, culture, sexual orientation, or ability, it will take time. Long term changes should include collaborative thinking and diverse voices at the table.
To help you on your way to a diverse and inclusive business model, we’ve compiled some top strategies and best practices:
Build it Into Your Core Values
Commit to inclusivity by making it part of your business’s mission, values and policy framework. This may require you to take a step back, reflect, review, and possibly revise. It’s an essential preliminary step to transforming and improving the inclusivity of your fitness facility.
Recruit with Purpose
Expand the diversity of your team by employing trainers, staff, and leaders who come from different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. Ensuring there is a representation of different groups on your team will make your organization, not only more inclusive, but more creative. Team members with fresh and varying perspectives is a gold mine of insight and information that you may not previously have had.
Get Everyone on Board
Generate buy-in and support from everyone at all levels in your fitness business. This is critical in cultivating and growing a culture that is welcoming and inclusive. From front desk staff, to trainers, instructors, and senior leaders, everyone needs to be aligned with the same vision. To have every member of the organization champion diversity and inclusion as they interact with one another and with clientele will yield the most successful results.
We’re All Students
Ensuring that every associate is inspired to uphold and commit to diversity and inclusion can mean that each receives training such as Diversity and Inclusion and Bias Awareness Training regularly. Keeping everyone informed of relevant and up-to-date information on current definitions and resources can help everyone stay involved and inspired in the movement towards real change. Consider hosting a Lunch and Learn with your team to encourage corporate learning and growth. When you make the conversation about inclusivity a primary part of your business, it will flow into better peer-interactions and create a healthy and welcoming workplace.
Show. Don’t Just Tell
Ensure your marketing materials include images that reflect the people you want to see in your space. It’s your job to let your members and potential members know what you are here to help them, and the best place to tell them is in your marketing material and on social media. These channels will influence brand perception. Let your members see themselves in your stories!
There are many other strategies beyond the ones we have mentioned in this blog, so don’t stop here. But remember that a sense of belonging for everyone requires empathetic leadership, ongoing commitment, and an ability to create connection, and cultivate trust so that others feel safe to share openly. It can be overwhelming so start with one thing and make it work for you, then add another thing when you can do more. Take the next step and celebrate along the way.