Creating a World Class Employee Experience: Lessons from Anytime Fitness CEO

By Jessica Wishart

dateWed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

I recently attended the 2014 Secret Service Summit all about how to create a customer experience that is so valuable that price becomes irrelevant.  In my opinion, one of the best speakers was Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness.  His main premise was that we cannot expect our customers to love us if our employees don’t.  The world class customer experience starts with designing a world class employee experience.  

Chuck cited a statistic that “increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year.”  Clearly, it is better for you, for your employees, for your customers, and for your bottom line to get serious about creating a culture your employees love.

Chuck talked about ROEI - Return On Emotional Investment.

He stated that we should all strive to work at the intersection of People, Purpose, Profits, and Play.

  • People - This is all about communication, alignment and trust.  When writing your employee policies, don’t mistrust the 98% just to control the 2%.  Trust that your people won’t take advantage of you.  Also, invest half a percent of your annual revenue in your people to create a culture of growth (personal, not just business).  Invest in employee wellness and health, too.
  • Purpose - If your company were gone tomorrow, would anyone notice?  Identify your company’s Core Purpose and share it with your employees so they can be passionate about their work.
  • Profit - This is about money and also about flexibility.  One way to help your employees profit from their work is to give your employees an experience, like a special celebration or trip; another way is to give them permission to never have to miss the most important moments in their lives.  This is one of our Core Values here at Rhythm Systems; “Family is a blessing” means that we cover for each so that nobody has to miss an important family event.
  • Play - This is about creating shared experiences and having fun together.

Here are Chuck’s 6 Essential Questions about Company Culture:

  1. How are you recognizing great customer service in your company?
  2. How are you giving your employees a voice?
  3. How do you infuse fun into your culture?
  4. What does your company stand for?
  5. How do you invest in your employee’s personal and professional growth?
  6. Do you have a culture of wellness?

Anytime Fitness has been so successful at building a culture that their employees love, many of them have the company logo tattooed on their bodies.  That kind of brand loyalty is hard to come by, but if you make your employee experience a priority, you can create a culture of employee fanatics that leads to world-class customer service and brand ambassadors, too.


Executive Summary from Patrick Thean's book Rhythm

Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images