Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Performance Evaluation Criteria for Personal Trainers: An Analytical Hierarchy Process Approach

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Performance Evaluation Criteria for Personal Trainers: An Analytical Hierarchy Process Approach

Article excerpt

Not only are personal trainers the face of the personal fitness industry, they also generate a significant portion of revenue in this multi-billion dollar business. It is therefore essential to produce the best possible personnel. In order to assist the industry in selecting the best trainers, we developed a preliminary personal trainer evaluation system based on a survey of experts. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method was then applied to the system. Of the three major dimensions - achievement, teaching, and service results - achievement results, which include course sales and team achievement, were identified as the most important.

Keywords: personal trainer, performance evaluation, analytic hierarchy process.

Modern fitness centers provide many different services, and in addition to the basic software and hardware services, free parking, personal rental lockers, childcare service, multifunction cards, and more may be offered. Increased public interest in health and fitness has led to greater demand for personal trainers and training programs to meet the specific goals of different individuals, such as weight loss, muscle gain, physical therapy, and so on. Personal trainer courses also bring in significant revenue for fitness centers that in the past have operated through income generated by membership fees and monthly cleaning expenses, personal trainers now provide members with the opportunity to use more than basic gym services. For example, the World Gym in Taiwan charges US$330 for six one-on-one courses, and US$782 for 16 courses (Tai & Chiù, 2007). In addition, personal trainers achieved market sales of US$260,000 per month at the Tungling Branch of California Fitness Centers in 2004. As this branch employed approximately 100 personal trainers, this put the value of each trainer at around US$2,600 per month. The CEO of World Gym in the United States commented that personal trainers brought in one third of the firm's total gross profits, further highlighting the importance of instructors to fitness centers (Tai & Chiù, 2007).

This year, Time magazine listed fitness instructors as one of the 20 hottest occupations in the world, and it was noted that, at the time, there were approximately 400,000 personal trainers in the United States alone, with the number expected to rise. This trend is also apparent in Taiwan, where health clubs and fitness centers have begun aggressive promotion of the services of personal tramers (Wu, 2006).

One well-known institute called FACE TO FACE conducted a survey of fitness center members and found that 25% expressed an interest hi using a personal tramer. Personal trainers are required to fulfill many different roles, including those of teacher, tramer, consultant, supervisor, supporter, nutritionist, dietician, and lifestyle management consultant (Chen, 2006). Sessions with personal trainers can be priced at US$50-60 per hour, and the quality of the service can significantly influence the reputation of fitness centers (Tai & Chiù, 2007).

Evaluations of their work can be used by personal trainers as references for pay raises and promotions. However, inappropriate evaluations of personal trainers may lead to a wide array of problems ranging from minor issues such as unqualified instructors, a mismatch between clients' needs and personal tramer courses, and a lack of emphasis on the service content, to major problems such as instructors' distrust and disappointment in the club's productivity, and a loss of morale that leads to a decrease in service quality and quantity, and, thus, a lowering of the profit margin of the health club. Consequently, it is essential for health clubs and fitness centers to design an effective personal trainer performance evaluation system so that those clubs and centers can ensure that they are providing the best possible service. Therefore, the main goal in this research was to develop an effective performance evaluation system that can improve service quality as well as being fair to instructors, and that will increase the demand for personal trainers, and thus, revenue of fitness centers. …

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