How franchisees recruit and keep loyal employees

Franchise industry, franchisors, franchisees

by Johnny Francis

Most franchisees run operations where they need employees. Some franchises only require a small team, with maybe just one or two employees. Other franchises, however, can be scaled to large operations, with teams of 20, 50 or even more than 100. Attracting, hiring and motivating these employees can be a continual challenge. Having a reliable team is not only essential for your success as a franchise owner, but for the entire brand. The great news is that as a franchisee, you will get help. Your franchisor will likely have some standard operating procedures and guidelines to follow when it come to human resources. Beyond that, it’s up to you as a franchise owner to build a winning team. Through my many years of franchising in multiple brands, I have found some tried-and-true tactics that have worked for me consistently. Here are just a few:

Attitude if everything

When it comes to recruiting new employees, I believe the number-one thing to pay attention to is a match between a candidate’s values with yours, and the values of your organization. The old cliche “hire for attitude and train for skills” definitely applies. People’s individual attitudes and approach to life usually doesn’t change. Employees can always learn how to do specific tasks, but soft skills such as enthusiasm, attitude and work ethic simply can’t be taught. 

Ultimately, the culture of an organization comes from the top down, so it’s important that you, as the owner and leader, model the behavior and approach to work that you expect from your team. Those values need to be real and demonstrated consistently. While positivity and enthusiasm is contagious, so is negativity and apathy. It’s up to you to set the tone.

If you find that you have an employee who is not really a fit for your franchise business, my advice is to let them go sooner rather than later so they can find a better-suited position elsewhere. A swift dismissal is usually better for everyone involved.  If you maintain employment of someone who is obviously not doing a good job or is simply a poor fit for your organization, you will do more damage to the rest of your team by keeping that person around. When you let them go quickly, it sends a message to the rest of the organization that “we will not tolerate mediocrity, we have expectations we hold to and we mean it.”

Recruiting with referrals

Another approach that often works well is to have current employees offer referrals from their network for potential new employees. The people who know you, understand the business and culture, and work with you every day, know how to represent you and work opportunities to other new candidates. Offering incentives relating to recruiting and retaining suitable candidates could be a win-win for you and your employees. 

Related to this is enlisting existing employees to help in the interview process of potential new employees. This approach allows for some internal validation and helps your existing staff feel more important by being included in the process of building the team. While this may not always be appropriate or applicable, in certain cases it can add tremendous value and deepen the relationships across the employees as well.

Retaining good employees 

Once you’ve found a perfect employee, you will want to keep him. Depending on the size of your business, you can do this in many ways including promoting from within and providing training opportunities to grow. Your strong performers will want to know they have a career path, not just a job. Creating a collaborative, positive work environment with clear expectations and goals is a formula for successful employee engagement and retention.

As part of a franchise, you are in the unique position to get input from other franchisees in the system. What has worked for them when it comes to hiring, motivating and retaining employees, will likely work for you too. After all, you are running the same business…another perk that comes with franchise ownership!

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John W. Francis has more than 30 years in franchise industry, as both a franchisor and a franchisee with multiple brands. He is a sought-after keynote speaker, industry consultant and strategic advisor. Because of his wealth of experience, he is known throughout the industry as Johnny Franchise.
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