24 Hour Fitness Social Recruiting & Branding


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Foundation document for the Interactive Workshop held during TalentNet Interactive at SXSW in Austin, March 2013. Participants used the 24 Hour Fitness program as a working "case study" to learn how to improve social recruiting & employer branding through:

1) Messaging
2) Social Platforms
3) Sourcing

Over the course of 4.5 hours, 24 Hour Fitness received marketing research suggestions for the improvement of their Social Recruiting program by nearly 100 practitioners & industry leaders. Participants received not only the same suggestions, but templates of the audit documents & step-by-step instructions on how to build the business case for program improvement to take back to their own organizations.

This was the first of what will be an ongoing workshop offered for organizations looking to improve their programs & conferences that want to offer hands-on, cutting edge material to their attendees. For more information, please contact crystal@brandedstrategies.com

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24 Hour Fitness Social Recruiting & Branding

  1. 1. We appreciate your involvementand support in today’s#TalentNet event! On behalf ofour case study sponsors24 Hour Fitness and SHRM,a very warm welcome andthank you!Sincerely,The #TalentNet TeamCraig Fisher (@fishdogs)Matt Charney (@mattcharney)Crystal Miller (@theonecrystal)24 Hour Fitness TeamMark Foley (@fmarksthespot)Lance Sapera (@LSap3pc)Welcome to the 3rd Annual TalentNet Live conference event during AustinInteractive. The TalentNet team has worked hard in concert with oursponsor partners to put on what is a very different learning event for ourindustry: TalentNet Interactive - a “living case study” excersise to beconducted through hands-on workshop sessions. These workshop sessionswill be held as a track option in addition to the valuable general learningsessions on pertinent industry topics that TalentNet conference attendeeshave enjoyed over the years.The workshop will begin with a brief overview of 24 Hour Fitness’ talentfunction and interview with Director of Talent Acquisition, Lance Sapera.In the weeks leading up to the conference, TalentNet team members haveworked in concert with 24 Hour Fitnessleadership to conduct a brand, culture,and recruiting audit of their programs.After the overview session, attendeeswill participate in three sessionsacting as “focus groups” exploring how toimprove 24 Hour Fitness’ talent programthrough:1. brand story & messaging/content2. social media platforms3. candidate pipelining and engagementAt the conclusion of each session,recommendations will be recorded bythe session facilitator. Following theconclusion of all three sessions, trackparticipants will reconvene to presentrecommendations & obtain firstimpression feedback from Lance.Templates are provided in workshopworkbooks for attendee use.
  2. 2. Overview –For the last 20 years, 24 Hour Fitness has worked to bring value to over 3.5million members across400+ clubs nationwide through fitness. The execution of this mission to“improve the lives of othersthrough fitness”makes each of the team members that work for the company part of something that’sbigger than just themselves, their individual roles.Until recently, 24 Hour Fitness had a limited online presence with very little employment brandpresence. The roughly 3,000 positions that were open and candidates being recruited for were largelymanaged through job boards and club-level recruiting. Upon reviewing their recruiting process,24 Hour Fitness identified several areas of concern that were affecting both their brand and recruitingprogram:1. An inadequate applicant flow of candidates whomatch company culture requirements of commitment tofitness & healthy lifestyle.2. 25 years of poor perception from previous/outdated practices such as high-pressure sales fromcommissioned sales people.3. Fragmented brand messaging & recruitmentprocesses due to recruiting disconnect betweencorporate and club levels.4. Employer reputation issue that club levelemployees were not adequately supported or preparedfor their career by corporate.5. Perceived lack of internal mobility6. Poor compensation leveling and structure,impacting candidate flow in certain highly-competitivetalent segments (i.e. tech, cash-driven commission sales)7. Significant levels of negative reviews on sites suchas Indeed and Glassdoor (where the company hasinvested in a branding presence)
  3. 3. 24 Hour Fitness: Current Talent Attraction StrategyLeadership not only took measures to address the issues impacting their employer reputation, butdetermined that a more deliberate focus on culture creation, employment branding, and socialrecruiting was needed. In an effort to improve their online footprint, 24 Hour Fitness created astrategy centered around their .jobs career portal and SEO footprint, with the help of the DirectEmployers Association. The strategy includes 15 microsites to address regional recruiting &specialized recruiting needs such as college, diversity, and military hiring. As a result, 24 HourFitness has seen a 661% improvement in Google Indexing (see graph) since April of 2011, with growthfrom 2% to a 25% conversion rate from visitors to actively clicking to begin the apply process.24 Hour Fitness also created a talent network, Careers Facebook page and career site leveraging SAP’sJobs2Web platform. In the first 4 months, they gained 105k talent network members. Finally, they arein the process of creating a focused careers strategy for Twitter, utilizing the Company-created hashtag,#24HRFitness, and tweeting from their consumer account via their corporate Social Media Team.
  4. 4. Benefits Overview: Brand PerceptionsPerhaps the strongest benefit and aspect of 24 Hour Fitness’strategy is their brand promisealignment with employees. 24 Hour Fitness has been extremely deliberate in educating bothconsumers and employees on their mission/promises and then“living out”those values.Both current and former employees consistently reflect on this delivery as a reported positiveaspect of employment. This is a strong, underlying factor of their reported employee engagementlevels of 86% - significantly above the industry average.24 HOUR FITNESS BRAND STRATEGY:Maintain values alignment through shared consumer andemployment vision. One story, One Voice.24 HOUR FITNESS BRAND STORY:Primary Vision: “Our team members are dedicated to improving lives through fitness.”Secondary Vision: “More than a career… part of something bigger than ourselves.”Perceived Primary Brand Personality Traits:Passionate, Service, Teamwork, Community, Opportunity
  5. 5. 24 Hour Fitness Brand Positioning Statement:More than a career:- A passion: We improve lives every day by helping our members succeed in fitness.- A community: We work and play as a team to create an exceptional experience for all.- A lifestyle: We make fitness a way of life, for ourselves and the people we inspire.
  6. 6. Benefits: Culture BrandingEmployees are screened for and expected to maintain a passion about improving lives throughfitness – and must firmly believe in that mission as an essential element of both 24 Hour Fitnesscorporate culture and hiring criteria. Enthusiasm about fitness and a healthy lifestyle, passionabout great customer service and helping them on a fitness journey is engrained into theCompany DNA.The company provides every employee with a complimentary gym membership, pays for therecertification of personal trainer employees, and has expanded onboarding training forpersonal trainers to eight weeks to help ensure employees are properly trained to know andshare fitness best practices with club members.Recently, select employees from both club and corporate levels were used for recruitmentmarketing videos that have been integrated into branding efforts and are visible on 24 HourFitness’ careers sites and YouTube channel.One of 24 Hour Fitness’ primary selling points is the enthusiasm of employees for their workand its fitness-driven mission. Periodic employee engagement surveys have shown internalengagement at 84-86%, well above industry benchmarks.Within its category, 24 Hour Fitness enjoys the highest sentiment of employee reviews onemployee review websites, specifically Glassdoor.com, where the company has made asignificant branding effort.
  7. 7. According to Glassdoor, when current and former employees are asked whether or not they’drecommend working at each respective organization to their friends, almost 50% ofrespondents for 24 Hour Fitness responded yes, compared with only 32% at LA Fitness,and 28% at Lifetime Fitness, two of their primary competitors.Additionally, CEO Carl C. Liebert III enjoys a 64% approval rating, compared to 23% for hiscounterpart at LA Fitness or 43% for the CEO of Lifetime Fitness.
  8. 8. Recruiting Program:Organizational Structure:Under the leadership of Chief People Officer and Corporate EVP Mark Foley, 24 Hour Fitness’dedicated talent acquisition team consists of one Director (Lance Sapera), and two in-houserecruiters who handle corporate requisitions for:1. San Ramon headquarters2. Technology group based in Carlsbad, California,3. Field positions at the General Manager level or higher.Typically, these recruiters are actively managing 18-20 open requisitions. Despite manyhard-to-fill roles such as IT and finance staff, there is almost no usage of third party agencies orsearch firms, and limited investment in traditional job boards such as CareerBuilder or Monster.24 Hour Fitness does utilize the use of LinkedIn and Dice for technology postings as needed.For exempt positions at the department manager level or lower and all non-exempt roles such aspersonal trainer, recruitment and hiring is the responsibility of the General Manager at eachrespective club.The in-house recruitment team is responsible for driving applicants to the club level for reviewthrough the use of Brassring’s Talent Scout Product. The General Manager at each club canaccess this ATS to view relevant resumes for their location and oversees screening, selectionand hiring at the local level.Microsites:The recruiting program maintains 15 microsites to help with optimizing online presence, SEO, &driving applicant flow through the .jobs initiative created by the Direct Employers’ Association(DEA):All candidates receive an automated response upon receipt of application acknowledging theircandidacy and offering them a link to sign up for a free trial membership, an effort that’sdesigned specifically to improve candidate experience while aligning employer and consumerbrands.
  9. 9. Referral Program:Although their hiring function is extremely lean, 24 Hour Fitness does not have a formalizedemployee referral program – primarily because for the vast majority of their volume hiring(front desk receptionists, service representatives, etc.), they do not have the internal capacity tosupport the candidate experience and personal touch 24 Hour Fitness believes is necessary tomaintain a successful program. Referrals are accepted on an individual basis.Recruitment Advertising:24 Hour Fitness’ core career site is built on Jobs2Web; for corporate or GM positions, recruitersinitiate a kick-off meeting with the hiring manager to capture key requirements and build a jobdescription which is optimized for search engines through keyword targeting, organically drivingcandidates with relevant experience and skills directly to the primary 24 Hour Fitness CareersSite (http://careers.24hourfitness.com/).Once a position is created, it is automatically posted to their Careers site via the Jobs2Webplatform, as well as relevant microsites. These position descriptions are also scraped byaggregators such as Indeed, SimplyHired and Glassdoor. 24 Hour Fitness has invested inbuilding enhanced, branded profiles on both Glassdoor and LinkedIn, as well as specialized jobboards such as Dice for specific hiring needs such as technical and accounting professionals.Social Recruiting Program:24 Hour Fitness’ consumer Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/24hourfitness) has adedicated careers tab, exposing job opportunities to an active community of approximately225,000 fans:
  10. 10. Social Recruiting Program:24 Hour Fitness Social Sites:Twitter: http://twitter.com/24hourfitnessFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/24hourfitnessLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/24-hour-fitnessFitness Community: http://community.24hourfitness.com/YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/24HourFitnessIncFoursquare: https://foursquare.com/24hourfitnessInstagram: http://instagram.com/24hourfitness/Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/24hourfitness/
  11. 11. Appendix A: Sample Job DescriptionJob Description: Sr Java Web Developer24 Hour Fitness is a leading health club industry pioneer, serving nearly four million members inmore than 400 clubs across the U.S. Throughout our 30+ year history, weve held fast to ourmission of helping people improve their lives through fitness. Join our energetic team and deliverhigh-quality software applications while enjoying what you do.We are looking for an energetic and team focused Java developer with experience in websitedesign to join our team, using technology to reach potential customers and give a competitiveadvantage to our team members. This is an exciting opportunity to develop for multiple platforms,both mobile and desktop, that will reach consumers both internally as well as externally throughour corporate website.ResponsibilitiesSenior Java Web Developer will design and develop new features and applications supportingthe sale of memberships and ancillary services. You will play a critical role in the design,implementation and delivery of the application releases. You will work on projects with cross-functional teams building new applications and creating new features.Core job functions include:· Develop, design, and troubleshoot new and existing Java-based applications· Design and develop reusable components/services using industry standard design patterns toaccess business data· Create necessary technical design documents based on functional requirements from theBusiness Analyst· Create prototypes and mock-ups, and translating those into working applications· Review and approve code solutions and deployment instructions provided by other teammembers to ensure adherence to standards and to validate quality· Provide both technical and leadership direction to less experienced teammates and resolvesissues at the lowest possible level and escalates when appropriateRequired Skills· 6 or more years of development experience with Java enterprise applications (JEE)· Java experience in web application environment required; JSP, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, andWeb Services· Knowledge of object oriented design principles· Knowledge of UML· Frameworks including Spring and Hibernate (or other ORM)· PL/SQL and Oracle database development knowledge· Knowledge of Adobe Flex a plus· Strong debugging and problem solving skills; analytical skills· Excellent communication skills· Leadership skills: ability to lead a team to accomplish goals and mentor othersKeywordsJava, Spring, Hibernate, Web Services, Oracle, JSP, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, San Diego
  12. 12. To leverage the considerable work that 24 Hour Fitness has made into creating acohesive, authentic brand story that resonates with both its consumers & employees to create ascalable and sustainable recruitment marketing & social recruiting programs that positions 24 HourFitness as the employer of choice within the fitness industry at both the corporate and individual clublevel.This strategy should support 24 Hour Fitness’long term talent objectives of expanding and diversifying24 Hour’s Candidate Pipeline as well as developing passive candidates and brand advocates within-demand experience and skills in a highly competitive industry and marketplace.You will work in teams to develop a strategic employer brand and interactive recruiting framework tobe delivered to Lance Sapera, Director of Talent Acquisition for 24 Hour Fitness. Your recommendationsshould include how to develop, launch, manage and sustain a comprehensive talent acquisitionstrategy for candidates across functions, levels, titles and geographies.When developing your recommendations, please note:1. The maximum budget allocated by 24 HourFitness for these initiatives is $5,000/yr. All strategiesmust fit within these budget parameters.2. 24 Hour Fitness’talent function is lean, composedof one Director and two in-house recruiters; all strategiesmust not take more than 10 hours a week to implement/ integrate into current workload due to these resourcelimitations.You will work with teams to develop a strategic employerbrand and interactive recruiting recommendations thatat the conclusion of the workshop will be presented toLance Sapera, Director of Talent Acquisition for 24 HourFitness.Your recommendations should include how todevelop, launch, manage and sustain a comprehensivesocial talent attraction & acquisition strategy forcandidates across functions, levels, titles andgeographies.After the conclusion of the conference, Lance and 24Hour Fitness’executive leadership will review yourrecommendations for potential implementation,documenting and delivering feedback which will beshared directly with conference attendees no later thanApril 17, 2013, at the conclusion of the SHRM TalentManagement Conference.The information on the preceding pagesprovide the background information on 24Hour Fitness’current talent acquisitioninitiatives and recruitment strategynecessary to answer the question:How can 24 Hour Fitness position itself asthe top career destination within thefitness industry to attract, hire, and retainthe best talent possible, whileensuring a candidate experience whichmakes even those applicants who are notselected feel engaged and positive aboutthe 24 Hour Fitness consumer brand?Lance and the entire TalentNet team arehere as resources to answer or address anyoutstanding questions, concerns, feasibilityinformation or context you’ll need tosucceed in helping one of the world’sleading consumer brands become one ofthe world’s leading employment brands fortoday – and tomorrow.