Total Fitness’ new Leadership Training Programme wins UK Company Culture Award

Total Fitness, the leading mid-market health club brand in the North of England and Wales, has successfully launched an internal leadership programme which has been designed to promote staff from within the business to support their career development.

The Elevate Programme was launched following feedback from staff to offer Total Fitness employees more support and opportunities as part of their career progression within the health and fitness industry.

Since the programme’s launch, it has successfully won the Next Generation Initiative Award at the UK Company Culture Awards 2023, with judges commenting on how impressed they were by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail demonstrated by Total Fitness in developing their employee initiative.

Elevate has also been shortlisted for the British Training Awards in two categories: Retraining/Upskilling Initiative of the Year and Leadership Development Initiative of the Year.

Head of People, Andrea Cook comments: “I am incredibly proud that Total Fitness has not only won the Next Generation Initiative Award but that we have also been shortlisted for two further awards. The set-up and execution of Elevate has required support and effort from the full team and I feel extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.

“While a relatively new initiative in our business, the results from Elevate has been phenomenal, proving what a worthwhile experience it is. We’re really looking forward to progressing the programme further with our second cohort in the coming months.”

Elevate aims to organically grow teams and experience from within Total Fitness’ existing talent pool, providing employees with an increased network of contacts within the business and exposure to the requirements of a General Manager role.

Elevate runs for 12 months, with 80% of delegates taking part in the current programme having already been appointed to General Manager positions prior to completion. This allows candidates to progress further whilst they are still learning, enabling them to put their training into action.

To ensure participants achieve success, the programme focuses on topics from each area of the business, which are rotated each month including: HR, Training and Development, Finance, Brand and Member Services. This provides candidates with a wider understanding of how Total Fitness operates, whilst also exposing them to the different teams across the business, developing relationships with colleagues and broadening their knowledge and understanding of the different departments.

Delivery is supported by all members of the Senior Leadership Team including the CEO and Operations Director who launch the programme with a session designed to outline the pivotal nature of the General Manager role, drawing on their early experiences as club managers and now executives.

Leading voice within the leisure industry and CEO at Total Fitness, Sophie Lawler said: “In the same way as we are committed to lifting our members through the power of fitness, we also want to lift our team members by unlocking their potential. Elevate is one example of our promise to make more possible for our people and it’s one we’re really proud of – the recent award win is a credit to the dedication and commitment of the team involved.

“Our clubs are exciting places to be a General Manager, but it’s not without its challenges and so we owe it to our people and our members to create a best in class set of well-rounded leaders. I’m proud of each and every one of them and know that they’ll go on to inspire others too.”

Johnny, General Manager at Total Fitness Wakefield, said: “The programme is all about unlocking the future General Manager potential from within. Having worked at various Total Fitness clubs at many levels, Elevate has helped to contextualise the role of General Manager. Each module has helped me gather knowledge from my previous roles, while also providing me with the tools for future positions and truly understand the inner workings of a General Manger role from a different perspective.

“In previous roles, I’ve only focused on my own strengths and how I can apply them to my position each day. However, the Elevate Programme has refocused how I think. Now I recognise the team and their strengths and how we can work together to achieve our collective goals – and how we can support them to unlock their inner potential.”

Justina, General Manager at Total Fitness Walkden, added: “The General Manager buddy sessions have been invaluable to understanding the role in-depth. Spending a day each month at different Total Fitness clubs, shadowing the onsite General Manger and spending time with their teams, whilst understanding how they structure their club has provided me with valuable insights I know I’ll apply to my future roles.

“Elevate has taught me that although we’re working towards the same goal, the structures in place differ from one Total Fitness club to another. Being exposed to these processes and learning in a way that suits my personality has been incredibly useful.”

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