Baby Steps For Hiring Your Key Franchise Employees
A simple guide to hiring and managing franchise employees
Franchisors want their franchise owners to succeed. Recruitment is one of the many areas where you can rely on franchisor support. When it comes to hiring employees, you should always refer to, follow, utilise and implement the franchisor’s hiring materials in their operations and procedures manual: ad templates, job descriptions, training programmes, employment contracts, and other onboarding resources.
Notwithstanding all the help available – it still comes down to you as the franchise owner and your choices. For franchise businesses, hiring and retaining the right employees can be the difference between a thriving franchise business and a struggling one. You need a team, but accumulating that team can seem daunting given everything else you have on your plate. By breaking the process into baby steps, it can become more manageable:
Step one: Determine what positions you need to be filled
- How many employees do you need to maintain operations and provide a positive customer and employee experience?
- What benefits will you provide to your employees?
- How much can you pay them?
- What opportunities are there for advancement and pay increases?
- Are there franchisor-provided services that can support your hiring efforts and HR needs?
Step two: Leverage your franchisor and fellow franchisees
Being part of a franchise family has the advantages not only of prepared resources, but having other owners who have done everything before you. Ask around, meet other franchisees in the network, and even enquire whether there are trained staff surplus to needs within the group. Once established and running, hiring from within is a sound option. In addition to possibly boosting employee morale and loyalty, existing staff may require less training and already be acquainted with the company’s culture. Recruiting from within your own franchise can be particularly smart for management and other senior roles. Perhaps your franchisor has a few people that they could recommend for your open position, but what isn’t allowed is poaching from other franchisees in the network.
Step three: Create compelling job descriptions
Make it stand out from the crowd by advertising any out-of-the-box ideas you have, from flexible work schedules to monthly company outings or office lunches. Above all, make sure your job descriptions are accurate and thorough. Well-defined job descriptions can help you get your mind around what you require, as well as benefit a candidate who will then know what to expect if hired. Your franchisor will likely provide you with a starting template for the primary positions, but as you gain experience with the franchise you will most likely want to focus your own needs and wants that fit your personality and the team however, it would always be best to run it past the franchisor first before marketing the position.
Step four: Plan your interview strategy
Establish a checklist for the interview process that ensures consistency and fairness, and don’t rush the process. Draw up a list of questions, and don’t be shy to design some penetrating or off-the-wall questions to shake up the process a bit but again, check your operations and procedures manual provided by the franchisor, there might be a template to guide and assist you. At a minimum you need questions that help assess prospects on the following:
- their level of experience
- whether a candidate has the qualities to succeed if you provide training
- their work ethic
- a positive attitude
- the ability to follow a defined process (being a franchise), and
- any franchise experience in the applicant’s résumé
Step five: Spread your net as widely as possible
Don’t only rely on search engines to do the filtering for you. As franchise models vary and depending on what the franchise policies allow for, you could share your open positions everywhere and as often as possible – social media (if your branch has its own social media platforms but they are generally a centrally run marketing tool), friends and family, and industry-specific forums. Engage in social recruiting by promoting open positions on your social media channels (remember to just check your franchise’s policies here). Make the most of the careers page on your franchise website which your franchisor would be able to assist you with.
Step six: Exercise judgement and emotional intelligence in your communications
Hiring can also be a Public Relations exercise for the franchise. Consequently, communication must be done in a timely manner. If they aren’t a good fit for any reason let them know right away. Be deliberate and succinct in your communications so that the candidate knows precisely where in the process they stand. Develop templates for these communications whenever possible to cut down on the time needed to respond.
Step seven: Choose wisely
Often the most successful franchise employees are ones who have risen from the bottom of the ranks, having performed a variety of jobs to gain knowledge and familiarity with the unique ways a franchise business operates. At a minimum, a candidate must have good references, but also look for the following criteria:
- Individuals with a wide breadth of experience from customer service to shift supervising and inventory management.
- Their level of reliability and accountability. Will they consistently arrive on time? Are they dependable? Can they be trusted with access to money or to complete a task that’s critical to your business?
- A positive and professional attitude that sets a good example for everyone else.
- A candidate who speaks highly about past employers.
In conclusion, always remember you’re never in this alone. If in any doubt, approach your franchisor, other franchisees or colleagues for advice.
By Eamonn Ryan