Cut-Throat Company With Unethical Practices
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- If you want to get promoted or even stay employed, it’s vital you partake in the “Leader Led” behaviors promoted by 24 Hour Fitness. My Club Manager (CM) has been recognized on National Newsletters and District Conference calls time and time again for being a prime example of these behaviors. With that being said, I would now like to illustrate what I witnessed since he arrived at my location:
· The CM enjoys avoiding responsibility for anything that happens in the club that is negative and taking credit for any success we had in the fitness, membership, and service department. In other words, point the finger at the people who work for you when something goes wrong, but take all the credit if you reach or exceed budget. As the District Manager (DM) stated, “The Power of One”. This demonstrates the Leadership Competency of Set Direction.
· The CM did not process PARS, Bio’s or do any administrative work when the club didn’t have an SM for over 3 weeks. This resulted in employees not getting paid properly, supplies not being ordered, and delayed new employees from getting hired. The CM likes to blame it on a faulty computer error.
· The CM made sure to bring his iPad or iPhone into the club to watch “Bad Grandpa” and “Two Guns” during his shift during the week and especially if he had to work on a Saturday. However, the DM was only aware of the CM's good behavior. Therefore, the CM would be praised for ‘working’ on a Saturday and be recognized for all of his hard work via conference calls. This would be the Leadership Competency Lead with Passion.
· The CM didn’t introduce himself to various team members for several months. He made sure to only approach team members when he needed something or wanted to see what they would be selling for the day. Also, and this is vital, he stressed the concept of “Do NOT train and develop your staff because it’s a waste of time”. You could be, “Selling a membership”. This demonstrates Building a Great Team.
· The CM made sure to sell at least 5-6 Intro 5 Packs to members who were not really interested in training at the beginning of the month. This allowed him to reach the counselor fitness budget very quickly and it helped to decrease the Active Client Count in the Fitness Department. It was at this point that he was able to boast during conference calls about how he hit the CF goal quickly, but would then coast in that area the rest of the month. This is an excellent way to demonstrate the Leadership Competency Innovate.
· The CM made sure he was (and still currently is) the DM’s “Puppet” by running the play every month even though the play might not be effective for that particular club or the entire district. The CM would rather see the club miss goal, but “run the play”, than hit goal and be innovative. Making sure the play was ran definitely got him recognized.
· To sum these key tactics up, he made sure to put all administrative work, training, development, and talking to members and staff aside so he could “sell, sell, sell” as the DM would phrase it.
· Finally, and most importantly, “Take Decisive Action” was demonstrated by giving out Final Warning CAR’s to staff with no prior infractions. He was ready to FIRE his employees if they hit their goals every month, asked any questions, or didn’t agree with everything he said because it was, “HIS club, HIS staff, and HIS culture will be implemented in every department”.
I was told in my final two months, the ONLY thing I was allowed to do was walk on the floor and book New Member Sessions (NMS). PERIOD. I was clearly instructed NOT to call our new members, the backlog, the inactive clients, or past clients. My ONLY responsibility was booking NMS off the floor, selling them training, and passing clients off to the staff. According to our PT Coaches Playbook, there were numerous ways to sell new business, but the CM’s “Play” was the only thing that mattered. If I did anything other than what he instructed, I was being "insubordinate". The DM and the CM took away the tools that had made me successful in the past, as evidenced by me winning Regional and District FM Personal Production contests months before this CM came to our club. At this point, my job was nearly impossible to succeed at and I was set up for failure.
In closing, time is more valuable than money. I can never get back the 9 years of hard work I dedicated to 24 Hour Fitness. The only thing that kept me with the company is my team that I deeply cared about. Every action I took was for the best interest of my staff and I hope this is apparent by the letters of recommendation, client testimonials and my club and personal production numbers. The most detrimental aspect of this situation was the mental stress placed on me by my Area Director / District Manager, my District HR Representative and my Club Manager telling me I was not a good leader, I was inadequate, and I should leave. If they would have been honest and said they were cutting costs and could no longer afford keeping me on the payroll or offered me another position, I would not be writing this review. I've always been transparent and honest with people in my life. I thought it would be beneficial for people to know exactly how this company operates and how disposable I was after I dedicated several years of my life to changing people’s lives, helping the company reach their mission, and fulfilling my obligation and duty as a Fitness Manager III, Assistant Fitness Manager, and Master Trainer.
Get out while you still can. I've had close colleagues get fired in a similar fashion to me after spending 10-15 years of their life with the company. Instead of being transparent they will lead you to believe you aren't performing well, find a reason to give you a corrective action, and fire you on the spot. This is to avoid paying you any severance or unemployment benefits. Worst of all it reflects badly on your resume and you can't use them as a reference. I left 24 back in 2010 and they recruited me back in 2013. I had a great job at a private facility making very good money, but they promised me the World when recruiting me, only to fire me less than a year later. Keep in mind, I hit goal 7 out of my 8 last months there and had the best track record of any FM in that club's history. This was when they were in the process of selling the company and were looking for ways to cut costs. There is a tremendous amount of politics involved and regardless of how hard you work if you're not brown nosing the DM good luck on getting promoted.