What Is Employer Branding and Why Should Franchisors Care About It?
10 ways to position your franchise as a top franchise workplace and strengthen your employee recruitment and retention
Most companies spend significant amounts of time (and money) on creating a strong and memorable brand that resonates with consumers. For franchises it’s even more important. After all, the strength of the brand is part of what draws franchisees in — they know they’re starting a business that already has an established, recognizable presence in the marketplace.
But many companies don’t place the same emphasis on employer branding. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines an employer brand as “essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality.” In short, it’s your reputation as a good (or bad) place to work.
Why Does Your Employer Brand Matter?
Recruiting and retaining employees was challenging pre-pandemic, and while unemployment jumped dramatically during Covid lockdowns, the need for employees has returned much more quickly than the workforce and many franchises have job openings they can’t fill.
As franchises compete for employees—both at the corporate level and the unit level—it’s more important than ever that your company has a reputation that attracts top talent. Online reviews on sites like GlassDoor, as well as word-of-mouth, matter. When job candidates have multiple offers, they’re even more likely to seek out people they know to ask them what it’s like to work at a company, whether that’s reaching out to their LinkedIn network or friends in their local community. Employers need to have a clear value proposition for candidates—how their culture is different or better, what’s in it for their employees beyond a paycheck.
Your employer brand can also have a direct economic impact. Research from GlassDoor shows that a strong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%, and a negative reputation can cost a company as much as 10% more per hire. Furthermore, companies actively investing in employer branding can reduce turnover by as much as 28%.
Employee Recruitment and Retention Trends in the Franchise Sector
When it comes to employment in the franchise sector, there are some bright spots. Data from the [email protected] Employee Engagement & Compensation report showed that overall satisfaction among franchise professionals at the corporate level is high. FBR’s 2022 [email protected] Employee Engagement Index score of 80 went up 1% from the previous year, matching pre-pandemic levels.
Furthermore, 82% of employees state that their job is rewarding and satisfying and 4 out of 5 would recommend their company to a friend.
Yet, there are still areas for concern, especially among younger employees. While “My company is a great place to work” scored 81 among Generation Z (those born in the late 90s or after), nearly 30% also said that they would not recommend their company to others and a whopping 66% said they plan to leave their company within two years.
Companies that deliberately invest in employer branding can mitigate some of the effects of the labor shortage by becoming more competitive in attracting talent and reducing turnover. Here are 10 ways you can position your franchise as a top place to work and strengthen your employee recruitment and retention.
10 Tips for Creating a Strong Employer Brand
1. Define your employer brand. An employer brand is similar to company culture: You have one, whether or not you’ve invested any thought or effort in it. Document an employer mission statement about what makes your company unique and how it aligns with your company mission and core values, and use it as the foundation for your employee engagement and retention strategies.
2. Measure employee engagement. Conduct regular surveys to gather data on employee engagement. A survey will give you a baseline metric against which to measure whether your engagement and retention efforts are working, identify risks and opportunities, and benchmark engagement against other employers.
3. Monitor employee sentiment. You need to know what employees are saying about you. Job candidates will be asking their network what it’s like to work for your company. If your current employees aren’t raving, you could lose out on hiring a great employee. Make sure you regularly check sites like GlassDoor and social media platforms, and ask questions in exit interviews to learn where your culture shines and where there are issues that need to be addressed.
4. Communicate your core values. Even if you have strong core values for your organization, if existing employees don’t know what they are, or don’t see them in action, you’re missing an opportunity to engage them and excite them about being part of your business and contributing to meaningful work. And if you don’t have your core values defined, get on it. Our CEO’s Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Positive Culture in Franchising guides you through the process.
5. Get recognition! There are many workplace awards out there that demonstrate to job candidates, employees, board members and other stakeholders that you’re a great place to work. FBR’s [email protected] Awards are one of the most meaningful because they recognize the best company cultures—specifically within the franchise sector. Showing off your employee awards in all your locations and on consumer-facing materials (website, mailers, etc.) lets everyone know your employees love working there and will bolster local recruitment efforts.
Free eBook: The CEO’s Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Positive Culture in Franchising
Despite its critical importance, culture is often overlooked by leadership. Request a free eBook to better understand how culture impacts productivity and profitability and get 12 tips to align your culture with your goals.
6. Walk the talk. Culture is more than ping pong tables in the office, free bagels or company happy hours. As mentioned above, employees need to see your mission and values in action, and that starts with company leadership being thoughtful and purposeful about aligning their actions and decisions with your company’s culture and core values.
7. Focus on coaching. The number of tenured employees in franchising has seen a dramatic 40% drop in the last three years. Franchise Business Review’s research shows that the number of employees with 7+ years within the company dropped to just 18%, down from nearly 30% two years ago. Franchise companies can combat that by focusing on cross-training opportunities, professional development, and mentoring programs. As leaders, it’s your job to prepare employees for their next career move, even if it isn’t within your own organization.
8. Implement recognition programs. Most employees will say they are leaving a company for more money, but typically it goes well beyond just dollars. Instead, it’s usually precipitated by lack of engagement, poor communication, under-recognition, and failure to listen. Recognition programs can include bonuses and incentives, but they don’t have to cost a lot in order to work. Here are 7 Simple Ways to Build Employee Engagement without breaking your budget.
9. Create a strong onboarding program. This is your chance to make a great first impression on employees and get them excited and engaged right off the bat. A new employee might not be comfortable speaking up if they feel their initial training is lacking, so consider implementing a quick pulse survey for new employees once they’ve finished onboarding for them to provide constructive feedback. You’ll not only gain valuable insights on where you can improve, employees will immediately feel like their voice in the company matters.
10. Recognize that the pandemic has changed the norm. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on issues that typically might have been kept “outside of work”. Employers were forced to confront employee issues like lack of child care, mental health struggles and burnout. While most businesses have returned to normal operations, employees are still looking for support, Moreover, many employees found that the benefits of remote or hybrid work outweighed the traditional 9-5 office environment and are expecting employers to be more flexible about where and when work gets done. Employers who make work/life balance, flexibility, and willingness to listen to employees’ needs outside the office part of their brand, can increase loyalty, productivity and morale.
Finally, the strength of your employer brand carries over to your franchisees. In the midst of a labor shortage, the perception of your employer brand as a whole can have a significant impact on the ability of your franchisees to attract quality employees. Your franchisees rely on your consumer brand to draw in customers and be successful. Your employer brand can do the same to help them draw in employees in a tight job market.
Franchise Business Review conducts employee engagement surveys and pulse surveys for franchise companies, franchisees, and franchisee suppliers. If you are interested in learning how your company compares to others in franchising — or helping your franchisees identify areas of risk and opportunity in their hiring and retention practices — register here or contact us at [email protected] to learn more.
Related Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement for Franchises
Employee engagement is critical to the success (or survival) of franchise organizations, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to foster engagement. Download your free eBook to learn how to:
- Recognize barriers holding employees back
- Create a supportive and engaging workplace culture
- Make engagement a key part of your hiring and retention strategy
- Benchmark your team’s engagement against other franchise employers