Ask the Expert: Evan Hackel

“What’s the best way to hire the best employees for my franchise?” – John P., owner of a home cleaning franchise in Iowa.

Dear John,

I am willing to bet that there is a second part to your question that you left unsaid. I suspect you are wondering not just how to hire good employees, but how to recruit them for the money you have to pay. Many franchises are facing this problem.

Let me start by addressing retention, a related issue. If you get good people to stay with you longer, you will need to hire fewer employees. And as you know, it costs a lot of money to recruit, hire and train new employees.

If you have good employees now, paying them a little more is cheaper than hiring new people. Another way to keep good workers is to offer them health benefits. Too costly, you say? Well maybe. But the money you spend on a health plan could be less than the cost of high turnover. Consider structuring your health plan so that employees who have worked for you for a certain period of time will qualify to take part. If you do that, you’ll be eating away at one of the biggest dissatisfiers out there.

Okay, let’s discuss hiring now. The first step is to do a really good job of interviewing. To review how well you are doing it, take my quiz, “Are You Doing Everything You Can to Recruit a World-Class Workforce?” on the Ingage blog.

I would also encourage you to take a close look at your best current employees and ask, “What are they doing that makes them so successful?” Do they have great attitudes, do they take extra care about their grooming and personal appearance, are they excellent listeners? Once you pinpoint their desirable traits, you can screen for them when recruiting new employees.

Also consider administering a personality test to evaluate applicants’ attitudes and suitability to your job. If your franchise makes one of these tests available to franchises that are hiring, I would encourage you to use it. If not, many companies out there offer inexpensive personality tests. Look for them online.

I would also urge you to think about the real costs of employing and paying people, and to consider paying good employees a little more to keep them on board. Many owners of small businesses think that every payroll dollar they spend comes right out of their pockets. But that is not really true. Better employees increase profits. They build repeat business, sell more, keep your premises cleaner, and pay you back in more ways than you expect.

My father, who was a very successful retailer, often said, “Hire slow . . . leave slow.” He meant that if you invest time and care to hire carefully, the employees you bring on board will be with you for a very long time.

A Note from Evan . . .

Have a question about your franchise? Email your franchising question to I look forward to hearing from you! Please note that your questions may be edited for length prior to publication.

Evan Hackel the creator of the Ingaged Leadership concept, is a recognized franchise expert and consultant. Evan is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, a consulting firm in Woburn, Massachusetts. Follow  @ehackel. To learn more about Ingage Consulting and Evan’s book Ingaging Leadership, visit

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