No to proposed outsourcing of the World Bank's gym

We understand that GSD Group of the World Bank is conducting an analysis of the cost effectiveness of managing the World Bank Fitness Center by in-house staff vs outsourcing it to an outside service provider. While on a surface it might emerge that outsourcing is a more cost effective option, we strongly feel that it would compromise the quality of the service the Fitness Center currently provides.

What separates the WB Fitness Center from other commercial gyms is the following:

- Diverse highly professional dedicated staff that genuinely care about its clients - World Bank Employees.They have an intimate understanding of the special needs of Bank staff (frequent travel, work life balance, etc) grown over the many years of building relationships with the members.

- Fitness Center offers over 70 classes a week during different times of the day. 70% of classes are taught by the World Bank volunteers, 25% of classes are taught by Fitness Center staff and only 5% of classes are taught by outside instructors. The fact that the volunteers and fitness staff teach 95 % of the classes is, not only a huge savings for the program, but is a critical part of its success. In fact, classes run very smoothly and almost never are cancelled.

- The quality of the classes is exceptionally high given the deep understanding of member needs, as volunteer instructors are supported by the knowledge-sharing and on-the-job training provided by the Fitness Center staff.

- Ability to be innovative and start initiatives that benefit the whole institution:Back to Life- Wellness Program for Cancer Patients and Survivors at theWB,Fit on the Trip-offersexercises that can be done while traveling,Healthy Heart-focusingon cardiovascular health ofWBemployees

- Safe friendly environment that takes into account cultural diversity. The fact that there has not been a single incident of reported harassment or discrimination in 20 years, speaks volumes.

- Small turn-over of Fitness staff which allows for continuity and really getting to know the clients and serving them in the most tailored and effective way.

-Lastly, the personal relationships of Fitness Center staff with volunteers and members has allowed them to create a community that is committed to each other in the spirit of a "family" which provides a daily sanctuary for many members.

We, the undersigned, appeal to Jim Kim, the President of the World Bank, to reconsider outsourcing of the World Bank's Fitness Center to the outside service provider and allow the current Fitness Center team to continue providing their excellent service to the World Bank's employees.


  • Martin Lenihan As far as I know, there is no fitness center service in the DC Metro area, that can match the Bank fitness center in terms of price and quality. .

  • Kristyna Bishop It will definitely compromise the service. I was at the IDB for 9 years and they outsourced the management of the gym. The contract staff had no real commitment to the organization and it showed in their attitude and the low quality of their service. I was involved in a fairly egregious situation where one of the managers had some kind of personal issue with a long term yoga instructor who was beloved by pretty much all the members and she fired him. When the staff protested, we found out that there was nothing we could do because the members of the gym actually had no leverage or say with regard to staffing and HR issues with the management company. This also meant that there was nothing the staff could do in terms of the rude, arrogant and horrible manager who arbitrarily made decisions about classes, instructors and other issues. The IDB tried to institute a small committee of members but they were limited to things like proposing new classes and authorizing expenditures for new equipment. When I joined the WB, I immediately noticed the huge difference in the vibe and management of the gym. It is so nice to go to the gym at lunch with such friendly and helpful staff. Please please please don't outsource. It will change everything and the constant turn over of staff and arms length approach to management will ruin the WB gym.

  • Anonymous These people are what make the gym great!

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    Geethanjali Jagannathan

    10 months ago Comments: The gym is a family like environment. Please don't break this closeness by bringing other commercial gym service.
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