From the Great Resignation to the Great Inspiration
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From the Great Resignation to the Great Inspiration

From the Great Resignation to the Great Inspiration

While it seems no industry has dodged the Great Resignation, it is safe to say current companies that cannot function without onsite employees have been the most affected. Restaurants, hotels, doctor’s offices, retail, and fitness clubs all became less attractive to employees because working from home (WFH) was not an option. Yet some brands from these industries have been less impacted by the labor exodus. Why? Because long before the pandemic, they were obsessed with creating the type of culture employees wanted to be part of, even if that meant not having the WFH option.

There is a reason why Self Esteem Brands, the parent company of brands such as Anytime Fitness, Waxing the City, The Bar Method, and Basecamp Fitness is repeatedly ranked one of the top places to work. It starts in the DNA of their founders Chuck Runyon and David Mortensen and their obsession for building a work culture that employees truly love, one that goes far beyond work-life balance and results in a healthier workforce.

Creating the Best Culture for Attracting and Keeping Top Talent

Most business leaders, panicking over the last couple of years, have made the two biggest mistakes companies make when attempting to combat the Great Resignation: 1) just going out there and quickly filling positions with any person they can find, and 2) continuing to employ poor performers – the ones who merely take up space, dragging down a team’s collective energy and frustrating their “A” level prized talent.

The first priority for businesses today needs to be focusing on keeping their top talent by improving their internal culture. Stop trying to find great employees. Instead, focus on becoming the type of business great employees find.

Self-Esteem Brands has addressed the talent crunch by doubling down on their culture, which is allowing them to lap their competition. “Most business leaders hate the Great Resignation. I love it,” said Runyon. “People should have leverage and work where they want to work.” Runyon believes that since employees get to choose their jobs, they should love them and that employers are responsible for creating jobs their employees will love.

Runyon doesn’t buy what many leaders use as a crutch, that our workforce is lazy or doesn’t want to work anymore. “The great misinterpretation of the Great Resignation is that people have unrealistic expectations. Contrary to what bad bosses think, employees, want to work hard.” Purpose and connection matter to quality talent, something both current employers and those seeking new employees must keep in mind for greater retention of staff.

The two co-founders, Runyon and Mortensen wrote the book Love Work, which is based on the pillars they have built their amazing culture around, the 4 Ps: People, Purpose, Profits, and Play. Their obsession with building a world-class internal culture has more than paid off.

“As employers, we have a golden opportunity to transform the Great Resignation into the Great Inspiration. Especially after the past two years, people don’t just want to be paid – they want to be inspired. So let’s inspire them,” preaches Runyon.

A Greater Focus on Staff Wellbeing

Self Esteem Brands offers to pay for their employees and their families to access mental health experts through Modern Health. Every Friday in the summer is a non-working Wellbeing Friday. They encourage No Meeting Wednesdays, which frees up time for their team members to focus and dive into their roles. They offer unlimited PTO. Talk about a relationship builder! Such resources for staff can only add up to better emotional health for the company’s employees.

A great survey question to ask your employees is, “On average, how excited are you to work each day?” Do your employees jump out of bed in the morning and look forward to working, or do they have to hit the snooze button five times and chug a 20-ounce latte just to face the day? The sad truth is most people live in the second category, on default mode. When it comes to working, 70 percent of Americans are disengaged from their professional lives.

Runyon and Mortensen have made it their life mission to change this. Anytime Fitness is now the world’s largest co-ed fitness club franchise, reaching a bigger international market penetration more quickly than any franchise in history. More impressively, the Anytime Fitness logo has been tattooed on the bodies of more than 5,000 employees, franchisees, and gym members – a symbol of passion most brands can only dream of.

“Our purpose is to improve the self-esteem of the world – something we can only achieve through a workplace culture that provides the means for our people to put their own health and wellness front and center,” says Runyon.

The Best Employees are Those Who Feel the Most Valued

This employee-centric mindset is a growing trend among companies. What elements in your own employer brand positioning speak to your ideal candidate? In working for you, will they feel as fully valued as you expect them to make your customers feel? When hiring and training customer service reps, you must keep in mind the direct correlation between their levels of satisfaction as your employees, and the satisfaction of your customers. Why just throw a bunch of training at them, when you can guide and support them toward becoming brand evangelists and making you a customer service leader?

John R. DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or

Published: September 6th, 2022

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