Hiring for Your Sports Facility
The year leading up to your facility’s Grand Opening celebration is filled with site work, construction, marketing, planning, and more. When is the right time to hire – and who are the three most valuable players?
Your first hire will be your General Manager. No one in your sports and recreation facility is more important than your GM. This critical position should ideally be hired 12 months prior to your facility opening and will assist in building your business and provide critical leadership to all new hires. The General Manager will also build the working culture of your facility, make key decisions, and create results.
Your Marketing/Business Development Director is another key player. This hire should take place 10-11 months prior to your facility opening date. This person is responsible accountable for creating results in your facility – whether that’s booking new events, creating awareness, or generating sales. Look for someone who is a strong leader, knows how to multi-task, is current in digital marketing strategies, and is very action oriented.
The Finance Officer is another key member of your staff who needs to be hired soon after the GM – around 10-11 months prior to your facility opening. This person will set up your accounts, manage your budgets and books, and create critical financial/sales pace reports for the general manager and ownership group.
Much closer to opening, you’ll hire your sports and programming specialists. Generally hired 2-3 months prior to opening, these will include your sports directors, fitness managers, etc. These team members report to the GM and have some business development accountability. Sports directors are expected to help market and build a following for their programs. These people will also be your brand ambassadors in the community, representing your facility at various local events like trade shows, conferences, and expos.
A final key to hiring is to post early! Hiring is often a 6-8 week process, and it’s not ideal to be rushing to hire in any of these key positions. A bad hire in your general manager position especially can be crippling to your business in the pre-opening process – and so can replacing them – so post early, interview thoroughly, and spend some time with the best candidates.