This information is from our chat with Jeannie “The Pole Digger” during her webinar November…
Finding qualified instructors to work at your pole dance studio can be tough, keeping them can be even tougher!
While many pole teachers say how much they love to teach and would do it for free, this is not a long-term viable strategy for them or for your pole studio. Treat your instructors like the valued staff they are, communicating with them, finding ways to keep them happily employed at your studio, and providing them a path to continue to succeed.
Check out these 5 tips for how to retain instructors at your pole dance studio.
1. Be clear about your payment structure and benefits
In the early days of pole dancing, we heard of instructors working for free in exchange for studio time. We do not recommend this method for long-term viability of your staff or your studio. How you pay people (contractor vs. employee), and what benefits you provide can vary greatly depending on the size of your studio, the location, as well as other variables. Some studios can offer full time employment benefits like health care, where others might offer free studio time, photo shoots, or other benefits that are more accessible for their situation.
Not sure what to pay? Or what other benefits might be appropriate? Check out the Pole Industry Financial Survey Results.
2. Pay commiserate with experience and provide a path to increasing wages
Create longevity for your instructors by creating career ladders within your studio. Do you pay more for instructors with more experience or who have achieved more certifications? You should! This is a selling point for your studio and makes your studio safer for your students. Paying brand new instructors the same as instructors who have been teaching for you (or just simply teaching) for years, is demoralizing, especially for instructors that continually invest in their own education.
3. Offer training and continuing education activities
While not every studio can afford to send their instructors to training opportunities, do you make training opportunities available at your studio? These could be informal like instructor pole jams or more formal such as hosting a certification. Some studios have been reticent to train their instructors, worrying that instructors will “just leave” once they are certified. Be clear about what you offer and if this is a benefit to working at your studio, perhaps it is also tied to a requirement to teach for a certain amount of time.
4. Offer staff bonding activities outside of the studio
If you have a small studio with one class running at a time, your staff may never have the opportunity to interact with each other. Offer staff bonding activities that are not training opportunities which can be held in the studio like a potluck or outside the studio like a bowling outing. People stay at jobs that they like and finding community at your studio is important for your instructors too! Not everyone is able to attend social activities due to timing or other commitments, but it’s nice to offer them.
5. Listen to your staff suggestions and communicate with them
Make sure you have an open line of communication with your instructors where they can come to you with issues, and you can come to them with issues as well! Listen to their suggestions as they will have a different perspective than you. You don’t have to follow through with every suggestion but do make sure your instructors know that you have heard them. Not feeling heard or valued can be a major source of dissatisfaction.
Even though pole is fun, it is still a business. Treat your instructors well, communicate with them, and make sure they know they are valued. Otherwise, you may be spending a lot of time finding new instructors rather than retaining the ones you have!