How Zumba Hires in 5 Easy Steps

May 12, 2015

If you are unfamiliar with Zumba Fitness, it’s a total-body, dance-party workout that combines easy-to-learn choreography and high-energy world beats. Zumba encourages everyone to “Ditch the workout, join the party.”

With 15 million students taking Zumba classes every week in over 200,000 locations worldwide, the company clearly has a winning formula when it comes to recruiting. As one of those 15 million students, I was curious if the brand’s hiring process is just as high spirited as the classes. So I called Audrey Betancourt, VP of People & Culture for Zumba Fitness, to get the 411. In five simple steps, she broke it all down for me like a Zumba instructor guiding a class through new choreo. Grab your dance sneakers and get ready to get inspired by Zumba’s fresh spin on attracting talent.

Step 1: Create a video that embodies the company culture and rhythm.

“Since we are such a visual, energetic and engaging brand, we use our marketing materials to showcase our work environment and culture,” says Audrey. For example, last year Zumba launched this not-so-corporate corporate video on YouTube, set to Pharrell’s “Happy” and starring Home Office [as in headquarters] employees dancing through their daily duties.

The video conveys a powerful message about the company’s culture: “Every Day is International Happy Day at Zumba.” It also confirmed my long-held suspicion that Zumba Home Office is really just one enormous dance party. Viewing the video, it was easy to get swept up by the catchy energy of the brand, and it’s clear as sweat that Zumba employees love their jobs.

“Do we see people dancing in the halls everyday?” Audrey says with a laugh. “Maybe not everyday, maybe once or twice a week you’ll see that. Although this is headquarters - we call it the Home Office - it’s a very non-corporate facility. Our brand is very integrated into music, so we always have it playing here.”

So has the video been an effective recruiting tool? “By using our videos to showcase the office and culture, and through employee referrals, we have a lot of engagement with passive candidates who have the desire to work with our brand,” says Audrey. “And who wouldn’t want to work at a place that’s full of music, dancing and passion?”

Step 2: See employees as company ambassadors and immerse them in the brand accordingly.

New Home Office employees receive a copy of Zumba’s best-selling DVD, “Incredible Results System” on their first day, which encourages them to become Zumba brand ambassadors right from the get-go. They’re also invited to take the basic-level 8-hour training, also known as a B1 class, that every Zumba instructor is required to complete. It’s an opportunity for employees to have the Zumba instructor learning experience by literally stepping into the shoes of the instructors, and then benefit from the endorphin release that follows an amazing class.

Each August, the company immerses every Home Office employee in the full Zumba experience by paying for them to go to its annual Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) Convention in Orlando. Thousands of instructors from all over the world attend, so it’s an opportunity for employees to “join the party” and meet the instructors they help support.

Zumba classes, offered on-site three times a week, give employees another opportunity to stay fit as well as engage in the brand.

Step 3: Seek a balance of skills and Core Values alignment.

“When we make the decision to bring someone into the Zumba family, we carefully consider both their technical abilities and aptitudes as well as their behaviors. A balance of both are needed for success in this very fast-paced, entrepreneurial and creative environment,” says Audrey. “Zumba’s ‘Core Values’ represent how we expect our employees to act and interact, internally and externally; how we create and communicate, how we grow our business, and overall how we work.”

Each of the values boasts a fun and snappy title. In the spirit of the brand, think of them as dance moves every employee is required to learn and practice. For example, “#teamzumba” is about building strong relationships and collaborating for success. “Ego is not your amigo” advises putting aside personal agendas and focusing on the company mission. Then of course there’s “Have Some Freakin’ Fun!” – the company’s rallying cry for being passionate, quashing negativity, and doing what you love and loving what you do.

Step 4: Increase employee engagement and retention by providing opportunities for giving back and recognition

All Home Office employees are encouraged to participate in activities that build on the company’s rock-solid culture of community. This includes the opportunity to become part of The Department of Workplace Cultural Affairs.

“This group name is very tongue-in-cheek because we are the furthest thing from a typical corporate environment,” Audrey points out. The Department is a volunteer group of employees who collaborate with People & Culture (Zumba’s HR department) to organize and deliver activities to promote team building. Think bowling, happy hours, quarterly massages, ping pong tournaments, and various activities to raise funds for local charities.

Zumba encourages employees to participate in community give-back activities that are near and dear to their hearts by giving everyone one philanthropic day each year. Employees participate in reef cleanup, SPCA volunteerism, Junior Achievement, and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. As a company, Zumba supports “Party in Pink” (breast cancer) and “Augie’s Quest” (ALS).

One uniquely Zumba way of recognizing employees for their work is giving them a shout out during quarterly town hall meetings. Eight individuals are nominated by their peers for exemplary service in one of the eight Zumba Core Values. These employees then get to “pay it forward” and choose an employee who will be honored the following quarter for their exceptional work in exercising one of the Core Values.

Step 5: Diversify your recruiting methods but always remember that good people know other good people.

To grow the Zumba family, the fitness megabrand flexes its recruiting muscles in multiple ways: social media of course, namely LinkedIn and Instagram (#zumba and #zumbahomeoffice); niche websites for specialized roles; Meet-Ups for technology jobs; and specific channels such as South by Southwest to recruit for other unique positions.
“And still, after 15 years, Zumba continues to succeed through personal referrals,” says Audrey. “Lots of people are interested in working with us because they’ve heard through friends and networks that we’re a fun company, doing cool things that move people to a healthier and happier world. Many people join our Zumba Instructor Network because of the community aspects. We have often seen a Zumba student fall in love with the program and their instructor, and then become a licensed Zumba instructor themselves. Full circle!

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* image by Zumba facebook page

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