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Published November 11, 2020

Franchise Culture: What Separates the Best From the Rest

Why Emerging Brands Need to Make Building a Positive Culture a Top Priority

Top-Quartile-Performance2018-1-1024x846We have spent the last 15 years imploring franchisors to put a strong emphasis on the culture within their systems. This is not just a warm and fuzzy “nice to have”.  if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the direct link between culture and the growth of franchise systems. Covid impacted us all, and while some businesses still struggle, others have seen the same or increased growth from 2019.

What we have seen in our research is that culture is a key factor: There’s a bigger gap than ever between brands with positive cultures and those at the bottom in terms of satisfaction. Pre-pandemic, brands that rated highest on “Leadership encourages a strong team culture” in our franchisee satisfaction research scored 20% – 25% higher in Overall Satisfaction, which translates directly into higher franchisee performance and lower employee turnover. When the pandemic hit, culture and leadership became an even greater factor. How systems came together and supported each other (or how they didn’t) not only impacted how you got through 2020, it will be the story candidates ask about, and franchisees tell, for years to come.

I have attended multiple sessions at events through the years where franchise executives shared the mistakes they made in the beginning, or what they wished they had done differently from the start. It’s much easier to get it right when you have two, four or 10 franchisees than it is to try and shift a large group of franchisees in a new direction.

At IFA’s upcoming virtual Emerging Franchisor Virtual Conference, November 18th and 19th, there will be great content to help you navigate these strange times, and continue supporting and growing your brand. I am looking forward to participating in a session on Thursday around the importance of culture, “Keeping System Standards and Franchisee Satisfaction Strong…Yes, It Can Be Done.” Brands with a strong positive culture are more likely to have greater compliance, and franchisees who follow system standards because they WANT to. We’ll  tackle how to integrate compliance into your brand as part of the culture and build relationships that keep your franchisees and the brand strong and productive.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the content on Franchise Business Review’s website. We have used our data and best practices from the amazing franchise teams we work with to provide lots of free content to help franchisors (big and small). I recommend starting with What Organizational Culture Looks Like in 2020 and The CEO’s Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Positive Culture in Franchising eBook.

Let me know if you are attending the conference, or what you’re doing to create a culture that is driving success through the challenges of 2020 and beyond.

download (3)The IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Virtual Conference, November 18-19,  is an opportunity to connect with leading experts in franchising to help trailblaze the future of your business and get advice about the foundational strategies needed to be sustainable and royalty sufficient.

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About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, the former Chair of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee. and a Certified Franchise Executive. She is the recipient of the 2022 Crystal Compass Award, has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is also a mentor of UNH college students. When she is not at work she is usually reading, playing outside, or hanging out with her husband and daughter.
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