Our hero today is Richard Hadden, renowned author of “Contented Cows Give Better Milk” — a book about how to get better work out of your employees by treating them right. Employee retention is important, especially in fitness, and replacing employees is very expensive.

In this installment of Gym Heroes, Richard tells us how to create a great employer brand. Why it’s important, how to build it, and how it can help you both find the right people and keep them.

What is Employer Branding and Why Is It Important?

Employer branding is the process of marketing an organization as a desirable place to work, just like how products are marketed to customers. In the fitness industry, where employee retention is notoriously challenging, having a strong employer brand is crucial.

Potential employees are looking for more than just a job; they seek a workplace where they can grow and thrive.

Richard emphasizes that creating a positive employer brand is not only about attracting talent but also about retaining it. He likens it to the adage “reputation recruits, but reality retains,” underscoring the importance of not just creating a positive perception but also delivering on it.

Building a Compelling Employer Brand

To create a compelling employer brand, organizations must first ensure that the workplace culture is supportive and engaging. Richard stresses the need for fitness organizations to go beyond simply offering competitive pay and explore ways to cultivate a work environment that aligns with employees’ personal values. This includes fostering a supportive work culture and providing opportunities for growth and learning.

Richard also emphasizes the need for organizations to utilize various platforms to market their employer brand. This can range from optimizing their website to showcase the work environment, culture, and testimonials from existing employees, to leveraging social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to reach potential candidates.

Additionally, investing in professional help, like hiring marketing agencies with experience in employer branding, can provide valuable insights and creative strategies for enhancing the employer brand.

Address a Poor Employer Brand Reputation

For organizations that have been plagued by a negative employer brand reputation, Richard advises addressing the underlying challenges in the workplace.

After addressing the issues, the organization should openly communicate the positive changes and the steps taken to improve the work environment. This transparency and commitment to change are crucial in rebuilding trust and attracting new talent.

Elevate a Lackluster Employer Brand

In cases where an organization’s employer brand lacks significant recognition, it’s essential to implement strategies to stand out and create a distinct identity. Richard suggests incorporating a memorable marketing hook, something that aligns with the organization’s culture and is appealing to potential candidates. This could involve playful branding, aligning with the values of the fitness industry, and incorporating a compelling narrative to draw attention to the employer brand.


Employer branding is a strategic tool for fitness organizations to attract, engage, and retain employees. By creating an appealing workplace culture and effectively communicating the employer brand, fitness organizations can distinguish themselves, attract top talent, and enhance employee retention.

Employing creative marketing tactics, leveraging online platforms, and seeking professional assistance can significantly contribute to building and strengthening the employer brand within the fitness industry. Embracing the value of employer branding can not only improve recruitment efforts but also contribute to sustained organizational success.

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