Discover Nha Trang took a visit to California Fitness & Yoga, a young, forward-thinking organization that is re-imagining working culture. From a study of over 4000 companies, it was voted as the “2nd Best Employer in Vietnam”. We wanted to find out just why, and what this means for the people involved.
What makes a great workplace? Outstanding customer service requires staff motivated to deliver each and every day. The term ‘culture’ in business is often misappropriated to mean ‘perks’. Obviously, a decent living salary and some extra benefits form a sturdy base for employee contentment, but studies have shown that an exceptional working environment needs much more. Some of the important tenets include; supporting and rewarding excellence, providing clear opportunities for career advancement, fostering a team-orientated structure where personal bonds are nurtured, while allowing staff to think for themselves and use their own initiative. If variety is the spice of life, then monotony is the blandness that ruins your meal: what most of us need is to be consistently engaged and excited about coming to work.
Since 2009, the company has opened 28 clubs nationwide and has an aggressive expansion planned, aiming to operate four hundred by 2020. To achieve such optimistic ambitions, a culture of internal promotion is imperative. Employees are required to move up the levels quickly so that they become the leaders of the next generation of staff, currently at over 2400 – of which 95% are Vietnamese. The mantra is “Leaders Make Leaders”, and this is highly evident.
While this all sounds straightforward in theory, it is practically more difficult to implement, requiring focus and a consistent effort from the company’s leadership. Leading by example, it must put in place the correct structures, processes, and systems; to hire the right people with the right attitudes and the rights skills; and, above all, to inspire the entire organization to achieve the mission statement of the company.
California Fitness & Yoga’s mission statement is succinct yet powerful – “Making Life Better”. As a fitness company, it’s ‘raison d’etre’ is to boost the health and wellbeing of its customers, thus, it makes sense to extend this concept to the employees who are entrusted with delivering it each day. “Since I started here, I am have become more open, confident and happy as a person, said 23-year-old Marketing Executive, Vu Thi My Huyen. “We are constantly challenged to excel, and this makes each day exciting. I’m sent on new training courses regularly, and I’m learning new skills with which to advance my career”.
General Manager, Gerry Nguyen points to the desire to achieved as the main motivation tool. “We promote a high-performance culture across every department and provide clear, achievable targets for all members of staff. This gives them tangible, short-term goals that move them through the career map motivates them. This is followed by ‘two-way’ performance reviews every 3-6 months whereby we encourage feedback so that we can make the working environment better. Particularly with our sales staff, we offer excellent base salaries, with high commissions and bonuses to those who excel in their roles. There is certainly an element of internal competition both within and between the various departments, and this creates an atmosphere of achievement – our staff wants to be the best of the best, and this is what we continuously inspire them to achieve”.
These sentiments are echoed by Assistant Member Services Manager, Bach Thi Phuong Thao. Employed for over 3 years, she has worked in multiple cities and is rapidly rising through the ranks. She cites being pushed to improve as the best part of working with the company. “My promotion was to come and help set up the Nha Trang Branch, which means more responsibility and pressure. But I’ve been taught to thrive on pressure and to embrace it”, she explains. “I’ve become so much better at dealing with stress, and I honestly feel that there is no challenge too big for me, so I focus on making small improvements each week to enhance the customer experience at the gyms”.
From the first day they start their training, the staff know that the role they are in is just the beginning. If they perform to the standards required, they will be promoted, and the sky’s the limit in how far up the ladder they can climb. “We have GM’s at our clubs who started as sales assistants and regional managers who began as receptionists”, added Gerry.
23-year-old Personal Trainer, Tran Truc Vi, was serving fast food only 6 months ago but was passionate about personal fitness. She applied for a job with the company, and now spends her days keeping members in optimal shape. “I never imagined I had what it took to be a full-time personal trainer, but here, I have the job of my dreams. “My satisfaction comes from helping people to improve their fitness, and I’ve received training from so many great fitness coaches. If I work hard, I am rewarded, so my goal is to keep improving my abilities and become the best trainer that I can be”.
California Fitness & Yoga is the leader in the Vietnamese health and fitness industry. Its ultra-modern gyms contain some of the world’s most advanced fitness equipment, and it offers a complete range of fitness services including cross-training, bodybuilding, Yoga, dance classes, Kickfit and bespoke personal training programs. If you are seeking to improve your strength, lose weight or simply make a lifestyle change, drop into one of its many locations and ‘Make Your Life Better’!
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