Happy team culture
Published October 26, 2021

How to Launch a Culture Club in Your Franchise System

The Lash Lounge shares the model they created to measure and improve culture in the corporate office and franchise locations

Culture matters. It’s not just a catch phrase these days — executive teams are beginning to understand how important it is to keep and hire great employees as the hiring crisis continues. 

Kristin Kidd, Director of Operations at The Lash Lounge, participated in a panel at the International Franchise Association’s Operations Conference and explained how her team identified ways to strengthen their corporate culture, and got their franchisees to focus on culture in their own organizations as well, by creating a “Culture Club.” 

The resurgence of the economy post-Covid created a perfect storm of labor shortages, the “She-cession”, and revenge spending for The Lash Lounge system. The team developed the Culture Club to mitigate those economic forces by shifting franchisees’ mindset. Kidd explained, “If we don’t address culture now, and teach our franchisees WHAT it is, and HOW to have a good one, then they will fail. They will constantly deal with debilitating turnover, and that’s no way to run a business.”

Here’s how they did it:

 

10 Steps to Launching a “Culture Club” 

 

1. Survey franchisees to find out what they are doing in their organizations to create a great place to work and support their employees.

2. Share the results and best practices with the entire network to get franchisees excited about new ideas to improve their culture. Presenting on a webinar and asking some of the franchisees to share what they are doing allows them to connect with each other and get more peer-to-peer buy in.

3. Start the Culture Club at the Home Office to SHOW franchisees how it’s done. Have someone on the corporate team own the project and set the plan for the next several months.

4. Survey corporate employees to measure their satisfaction and engagement. Include, “Does my manager care about my success?” and, ‘“Do I have a friend at work?” Questions that have high scores correlate to  increased retention by as much as 50%.

5. Survey the employees of franchisees. This is where the lawyers start getting nervous. Joint labor concerns limit how much franchisors should interact with employees of their franchisees. Here is how The Lash Lounge tackled this:

    • Corporate created the employee survey and shared it with the franchisees.
    • Franchisees have to be bought in on the value and purpose. Communication to the franchisees included the value of getting the feedback from their employees, and how the data could be used. 
    • Franchisees were allowed to opt in. There was no requirement to participate. 
    • If the franchisee wanted to be included, they had access to the survey and could send it out to their franchisees. No surveying was done by corporate.

6. Develop a plan for what needs to happen to improve the culture and employee experience. Things to consider in the plan: How you will set the example as leaders, what changes need to happen internally and externally to improve the culture, and how will you get buy-in.

7. Focus on what is the most important and start coaching. At The Lash Lounge, they started by creating a book club. They chose “Soup” by Jon Gordon and used that to start a discussion with all the stakeholders.

8. Create an Accountability Guide and distribute  it to the entire organization. Focus on the lower scored areas, and consider including sections on Leadership, Communication, Appreciation.

9. Have your franchise business consultants talk about it on their calls and in meetings with franchisees. Encourage them to discuss the results from their employee surveys, share the Accountability Guide, and talk about the steps they want to take to improve  culture so the corporate team can help coach and hold them accountable.

10. Follow up and repeat employee surveys every 12 months to review successes. 

Kidd says that the reaction they have gotten from franchisees and managers is nothing but positive, and the growth of The Lash Lounge system and the individual successes of their franchisees are directly related to the shift in mindset. “Learning to navigate this world as a business owner in 2021 is hard. There’s no real playbook. But people with good intentions, who seek to do the right things and create positive cultures for their employees, are succeeding.” 

Franchise Business Review offers employee engagement surveys to help franchisors and franchise owners measure satisfaction and engagement of corporate staff as well as franchisees’ staff. I’m happy to share our standard survey questions – just email me here. You can also learn more about our corporate employee engagement surveys here and our [email protected] program for franchisees here.


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The CEO’s Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Positive Culture in Franchising

Despite its critical importance, culture is frequently overlooked by leadership. This eBook provides practical advice for franchise leadership teams for creating and  maintaining a culture that leads to greater productivity and profitability.

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About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, chair of the International Franchise Association Women's Franchise Committee, and a Certified Franchise Executive. She 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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