Largest Planet Fitness franchisee builds culture & engagement across 150+ locations
“Crew really brings to light our genuine commitment and investment in team members’ development.”
Operations Services Manager
United PF Partners, LLC became the largest Planet Fitness group in 2016 when it was formed through the merger of several franchisees, each with their own culture and internal communications style. Now the company operates over 150 gym locations in 14 states, and has plans to continue its expansion through ongoing development and acquisitions. This explosive growth and dispersed organization creates several challenges – from difficulty cascading important updates to frontline teammates, to defining a distinctive culture that feels like one family.
Leaders struggled to keep the mostly deskless workforce on the same page, since each fitness club shares a single email address and had challenges with disseminating messages. As a result, managers relied on word-of-mouth, individual calls, or text-based conversations, which were inconsistent and created potential compliance issues. United PF’s headquarters support team prepared a weekly operations bulletin that was sent to regional directors, district managers, and club managers, but they didn’t know for certain whether the information was getting to everyone in the field.
Management knew they needed to increase visibility and eliminate communications gaps, while also supporting culture initiatives and career development as United PF grew. They discovered Crew, a team communications and scheduling solution that meets digital natives where they already are – on their phones. With Crew in their pockets, all team members always know when promotions are happening, new job openings are listed, or store holidays and last-minute schedule changes arise. Above-store leaders can now have conversations directly with customer-facing teams, and the open rates for corporate announcements have improved.
Crew cultivates camaraderie amongst teammates through targeted, dynamic forums that connect different groups of people, such as personal trainers or front desk co-workers. Teams also enjoy having a centralized place to access their shift schedules, so they no longer have to come into the club to verify their hours and can easily swap shifts in real-time via the Crew mobile app when needed. This, in turn, saves managers the time they previously spent tracking down shift covers.
“Crew’s communications platform is like a meeting of the minds, bringing us together as an organization to seize opportunities and solve problems. It also helps us deliver a clear and concise message from leadership on down, so everybody’s hearing about goals and expectations first-hand.”
Tracy Toomer, VP of Operations
Team engagement builds a lasting culture
Crew helps United PF maintain its family-like culture with each new hire and every new club it opens or acquires. As team members come into the company, they immediately sense the approachable feeling of interacting with managers and co-workers through Crew. Field leaders build instant connections with their teams and are empowered to advance and further define the organization’s values.
“With Crew, our leadership can remain present and preserve our openness and accessibility even as the business expands,” noted Tracy Toomer, vice president of operations at United PF Partners. “We love to share pictures and celebrate milestones, like new hires, Planetversaries, or even new babies or other personal achievements. We really care about our teammates and want to show each one that they’re a critical piece of the United PF puzzle.”
United PF recently created a sub-community in Crew for team members attending its annual group-wide conference. Leading up to the event, corporate shared logistics details and built excitement through the app by posting teasers about the agenda and speakers. Afterward, Crew helped everyone continue the in-person relationships they created by exchanging stories across different clubs as they implemented what they’d learned.
Individual and collective recognition supports career development
Crew also allows United PF to spread encouragement for stellar efforts and results. When an individual is promoted or selected as trainer, manager, or teammate of the quarter, for example, the news is shared on Crew, and their peers in multiple states can chime in on the celebration with a digital thumbs up or comment. “Recognition is an integral part of our organization, and Crew really brings to light our genuine commitment and investment in team members’ development,” said Allison Falls, operations services manager at United PF Partners.
By breaking down geographical barriers, Crew also enables above-store leadership to keep an eye on upcoming stars at all levels of the organization. Finally, United PF uses Crew to acknowledge collective successes as well, such as new club openings. This makes everybody aware of the business’ excellent track record for growth and shows that there’s a clear path and opportunity for career development.
All of these interactions help United PF get to know what really drives people and how to keep them engaged with the future of the company. Over the past year, Crew’s communications capabilities have contributed to several valuable business benefits, from keeping everyone on the same page with streamlined communication and increased team engagement to culture-building through recognition.