It is known throughout the franchise industry that the most successful brands are built upon a tried-and-true blueprint that has been followed since the respective franchisor began to scale their business. Whether it is regional, national or international expansion, brands need to put talent investment, and retention, at the top of their priority lists in order to maintain the proven system and position their companies for long-term and sustainable success.
Investing in professional development initiatives or programs can allow franchisors to start growing budding leaders within their system earlier in their careers. Additionally, having these curriculums in place for individuals that possess the inherent qualities that would make them exemplary future franchisees, provides franchisors with the opportunity to teach them how to effectively grow a business while simultaneously eliminating waste and inefficiency caused by variances to the overall system. Not to mention, trained and advanced people are more likely to give a higher quality of input and feedback that can truly improve the business. Trust is also built from the top down as staff can predict the actions of their leader, and direct reports feel safe in exceeding expectations because of the clarity that the leader provides.
At Express Employment Professionals, we’ve always valued exceptional talent within our system, and continually seek out ways to empower them as they rise through the ranks of our company. We established our “Bridge to Ownership” (BTO) program in 2003 as a resource for trained and credible employees who were interested in becoming Express franchise owners. The program focuses primarily on providing mentorship and guidance to up-and-coming franchisees while on their journey to business ownership. There have been 15 employees who seamlessly transitioned from the BTO program to become successful franchisees since 2019, and this has inspired us to invest even more into our people.
Recently launching the Emerging Entrepreneur Program, Express established a curriculum designed to provide potential leaders with the tools, expertise and strategies needed to be an effective worker while working as a salaried employee through our international headquarters in Oklahoma City. Applicants accepted into the program are given the opportunity to learn how to utilize their skills in on-the-job scenarios, while following a proven path to future business ownership, gaining insights from successful business leaders and more.
To invest in talent and achieve efficient growth, franchisors should consider the following to reap the benefits of the professionalism and expertise already existing in their system:
Identify Successful Peer Franchise Owners
Establishing a group of successful franchise owners that have the authority to be advisors and mentors can lead to the formation of peer networks. Those who are in the process of becoming a franchisee within the system can learn from what has brought other locations success, and lessons learned from previous failures.
Networking is known to improve entrepreneurial performance as it opens doors to a wealth of resources. Instituting a common network of successful peers creates a trustworthy community that both employees and franchisees can turn to when in search of knowledge and information as they continue to grow as professionals and business owners.
Hire, Retain, Promote and Reward Those Deserving
Promoting employees from within comes with many benefits, but to witness maximum potential, it is critical to stick to a standard so that the promotion is well deserved. When executed correctly, it shows the entire team that reliable work and loyalty is rewarded. Long term this also improves retention rates, providing a clear career path for strong performers.
On the other hand, it’s important to stop investing dollars, time and resources on employees and franchisees who choose to go against the grain, and do not operate under the proven system. If prospective business owners see this as they are onboarded into the system, it could lead to incorrect methods scaling throughout the network of franchisees.
Increase Investment in Training
For a system that is a well-oiled machine, there is no need to make any additional changes. What should be the primary focus is the construction of a training regimen around learning the process. If attention is aimed at going around the system, the franchise will be pursuing results that are not sustainable.
As employees and business leaders go through professional development training like the BTO and Emerging Entrepreneur programs we have at Express, they gain confidence in the system which can lead to quicker buy-in. The domino effect then sets in as this confidence results in leadership qualities and expertise that attracts A-players excited to work beneath them and maybe one day follow the same structured path to becoming a business owner of their own.
It’s essential to retain and grow system-oriented people who value the system over the charisma of the talent – charisma is icing on the cake, not the cake. Setting up staff members and rising business owners leads to trained and credible professionals who have a higher value because they have the ability to achieve buy-in to the same proven system they invested in. It will ultimately become engrained in the franchise’s culture and is influential on prospective franchisees interested in joining the network.
Jason Patrick is the owner of an Express Employment Professionals franchised office in Nashville, Tenn. and the director of Express’ new Emerging Entrepreneur Program. Before joining Express, Jason was the vice president of supermarket sales for Coca-Cola Enterprises in Dallas, Texas for 15 years. To learn more about Express, visit www.expressfranchising.com.