You’ve done it – launched your franchise and it’s beginning to grow. With success comes risk, and as all franchisees learn quickly, you cannot do it alone for long if you want to scale your business.
To support growth, you’ll need to employ others who will follow your vision and deliver superior service to your customers. Of course hiring the right employees for your business is a daunting task, but without employees who can wear many hats, you may find your business in trouble.
It’s important to understand that not all people excel in dynamic entrepreneurial environments. With that in mind, you may be thinking… What should I look for in potential employees? How can I cultivate the ones that I have?
The following are 11 characteristics that franchisees should seek and nurture in potential and current employees:
While intelligence is important, creativity is critical for success. Most innovative ideas and solutions are not found by building silos and micromanaging employees. Creative thinkers look at issues from different angles and figure out how to solve them. Entrepreneurs ultimately want to harness the passions of employees and encourage creativity rather than stymie growth. Look for creative problem solvers.
Current or potential employees who do not feel empowered to solve problems on their own or do not think to solve problems on their own will likely have trouble in this environment. Resourceful employees identify and solve issues before they become problems. They do not need to be micromanaged. Instead resourceful employees understand the challenges of operating a franchise and are able to find solutions with what they have. Resourceful employees see what’s possible – and work to solve issues within these confines.
Look for potential employees who understand job responsibilities but are flexible, willing to learn and take on new and unknown areas of the business. For current employees, encourage entrepreneurial spirit and expect the ability to multitask. Adaptable employees work well in ambiguity and uncertainty. Set clear direction and allow employees to take the ball and run with it. In the end, you want dedicated employees who feel like they have skin in the game.
4. Strong communication/people skills
The ability and willingness to communicate is critical in any business. Whether employees share knowledge, information or ideas, they need to use communication skills to solve challenges, engage other employees and respond to customers. Many people believe that they are strong communicators, but lack essential skills. Communication skills include verbal skills, sharing information, listening, non-verbal communication and understanding/ engaging various audiences. For potential employees, many of these skills can be assessed in an interview, such as eye contact, listening for understanding, asking clarifying questions, articulating clearly, and responding in a timely manner. Encourage current employees to actively listen, respond quickly to customers and proactively share information on projects to ensure that everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction.
5. Brand ambassadors
These employees have drank the Kool Aid so to speak. They are committed to the company and act as if they own it. This attitude spills over into daily decision making about solving problems, spending company funds and how their behaviors and actions reflect the company and its culture. Additionally, these employees are proud to work for the company and spread the word about the products or services they represent.
These employees believe that they are responsible for their actions. You can count on them to do what they say they are going to do. For a franchise owner, accountability is a critically vital trait in an employee as it allows you to have confidence that work you allocate to others will get done. Personal accountability allows employees to deliver against the end goals, and if they do not accomplish a goal, they will be able to identify the root cause rather than blame others.
7. Proactive self-starters
These employees have internal drive. They take on new responsibilities willingly and proactively seek ways to develop and grow. Look for potential employees who have examples of adding skills, responsibilities, projects or other growth experiences. Find opportunities for current employees to seek new responsibilities.
Entrepreneurs use passion to turn dreams into reality. Find potential employees who love what they do – and want to do it with you. Ask questions about past job experiences and gauge excitement related to what they may help you to do. Passionate employees exhibit enthusiasm even in tough situations. Small businesses and franchises face a myriad of issues, and a positive attitude goes a long way in uncertain or challenging situations.
9. Lifelong learners
No one knows everything, and if you hire someone who thinks he/she does, you will likely have issues with the employee in the long run. Look for potential employees who have a thirst for knowledge and ability to learn new skills. For current employees, encourage a safe learning environment. Nothing stymies motivation, learning and growth like fearing failure equals job loss. New ideas, information and skills are crucial for employee development and satisfaction. Socrates words still hold true, the more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.
Current and potential employees need to work well together and deliver superior customer service, even if these employees do not think that their role is customer facing. It’s all about relationships with customers, employees, vendors, and consultants – and ultimately your company’s brand. You need employees who work well with others. In the end, all employees should expect to be relationship builders and interact with customers.
11. Traits that are not exactly like you
While you may relate to people who are most like you, and think like you, you need people who bring other perspectives, ideas and innovations to the table. You need your employees to cast a wider net of thinking to approach and solve problems.
Perfect employees look, act and think differently. However, these employees share some common traits. They’re proactive, creative self-starters who believe that they can identify and solve problems with internal drive, flexibility and passion. While they don’t know it all, these employees are eager to learn.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll
compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those
You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.