Published November 1, 2021
Create a “culture” mindset in your franchisees to differentiate themselves as an employer of choice
Hiring and keeping businesses staffed is clearly a top challenge for most business owners, and franchisees are no exception. In recent years franchisors have shied away from efforts around helping franchisees hire and support their employees over concern around potential joint labor issues. With COVID increasing the need to do more, franchisors are finding creative ways to develop tools and train staff to help franchisees run their businesses, while being careful not to get involved directly in the hiring or training of those employees.
In the past, most business owners promoted job openings and filled them the same way: Using signs in their locations, advertising, local newspapers, radio, and the internet to create awareness and solicit applications. Franchisees combed through applications and resumes, reached out to, interviewed and hired the best from the bunch. In the last year all of that has changed. Between people leaving the workforce for a multitude of reasons (child care issues, safety concerns, burnout) and local competitors driving wages up with large sign-on bonuses and poaching from each other, it’s become a major source of frustration and stress.
The IFA’s Operations Conference tackled it head on. How can franchisors help franchisees shift their mindset and focus on the culture within their own organizations to positively impact their ability to hire (and keep) the best employees out there? By getting them to examine their workplace culture and how their current employees feel about working there, and using that feedback to differentiate themselves in the recruitment process.
How to Help Franchisees with Hiring and Staffing Challenges
1. Encourage franchisees to measure the culture of their organization. It’s important to get a baseline of how the team feels. Include questions about their role, their connection to the team, and their direct manager. Corporate can create a survey and offer it to franchisees to send out to their employees on an opt-in basis or you can work with a third-party that can administer it directly through the franchisees. (FBR offers a Franchising@WORK program designed specifically for franchisees. Email me if you would like to see the standard survey questions we administer to franchise employees.)
2. Support franchisees in how to lead and strengthen culture. The Lash Lounge shared the steps they took to create a “Culture Club” within their corporate organization, and rolled it out to franchisees to focus on culture within their organizations as well. Employees want to work in a great environment, and can be more picky when everyone is hiring. Showing them WHY working in your business is better is important. How will you help them grow? Or how fun will it be while they are clocked in? What makes you different from the other 10 companies they applied to?
3. Share best practices around job postings and candidate outreach. Make sure the application process is easy for applicants and that franchise owners respond quickly. Remind them that 80% of hourly employees are using their phones to complete these. Remove requirements for a formal resume, TEXT applicants within five minutes of receiving an application, and then call five minutes later. Technology platforms like workstream can make this easier. Franchisees should also conduct exit interviews to find out why people are leaving.
4. Give franchisees ideas on how to use their current employees to help them recruit. Asking top employees to help interview applicants is a great way to give them more responsibility and help them grow, and reduce the workload on the franchisee (or manager). Offer referral bonuses ($250 was mentioned) to employees when they bring someone on to the team. Happy employees talking to friends and their community about their experience working in the store and being part of the team can make a big difference when there are job openings everywhere.
5. Franchisees need to know where their candidates come from (and maximize those sources). If you are working with Indeed, ask your rep about the state of the industry, average spend per location, and which franchisees are over or underperforming on the platform. What does the CAREERS section look like on your brand corporate website? Are you providing video and/or written validation from current employees? Do you share benefits offered? Is it easy to get to the local location sites/pages? Those pages should include the same content: employee validation, local benefits, and positions open. all of this content should be customizable by each franchisee.
6. Show franchisees how to get creative in filling roles. Some great ideas shared in the session included creating a pool of “substitute” employees to work short shifts (this can be great for students or parents of kids that can’t commit to a full shift). Use scheduling apps to make it easy for the team to change and pick up shifts. Some franchisees within the same region are sharing employees to give them enough hours so they don’t find a job somewhere else, and some multi-unit franchisees (or franchisees in a region get together) hire a recruiter to focus on speed to lead and getting jobs filled.
7. Focus on benefits employees want. Business owners are getting creative on how to appeal to more workers. Ideas included offering unlimited PTO to managers once they hit a certain tenure, providing child care or reimbursement of child care costs, work from home options (if the role can be done remotely), mental health wellness, and wellness packages or perks.
Hiring will likely be an ongoing challenge for franchisees for the foreseeable future, so creating and maintaining a positive culture will continue to pay huge dividends in retaining employees as well as giving franchisees a competitive advantage. Asking employees for feedback is the first step in understanding how effective their culture is and where there are opportunities.
Franchise Business Review’s Franchising@WORK program, designed specifically for franchise owners to measure employee engagement, is administered directly through the franchisee, so franchisors avoid joint labor concerns , yet franchisees are able to benchmark their employee engagement against other franchises. Learn more about Franchising@WORK for franchise businesses.
Franchise Hiring Guide
If employee recruitment and retention are a concern for your franchise organization, download our free guide and you’ll learn:
- Top 5 franchise employment trends
- Salary benchmarks for corporate franchise roles
- Most common benefits offered to franchise employees