Do franchisees know how to manage staff?


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Managing Staff

In a recent interview concerning the pros and cons of male versus female franchisees, one franchise owner (Sandwich Baron) stated her belief that men were better at managing staff than women, because women tended to be too soft and involved in their employees’ problems.

However don’t be alarmed, because women came out having a number of their own advantages over men, including better persistence and customer service.

Nor does this let men off the hook. The curse of being a small business owner is that you have to do everything yourself, and end up being a jack of all trades rather than have a specialist approach to this difficult management responsibility.

On the other hand, one of the perks of being a business owner is having complete control over whom you hire and choose to work with on a daily basis. You can select people who you get along with to share your daily responsibilities. But there’s a catch to this: you’re the boss, and should you like them personally and get along with them, you might be tempted to become friends with them. Is this a good idea?

The benefits of workplace friendships

There are in fact some benefits to be derived from being friends with employees:

  • Employee retention – friendships in the workplace can generate better employee retention.
  • Improved brand loyalty – surveys in the US demonstrate that half of employees feel passionately close to the brand they work for, where they are friends with the boss.
  • Stress relief – friendships create a more comfortable work environment where people can freely express opinions.
  • Honesty – staff are less inclined to withhold their grievances or objections, when they feel they’re your friend rather than subordinate.

The cons

  • Favoritism, nepotism, the suspicion will always arise – those employees not so favoured with your friendship will wonder whether rewards and criticisms are more to do with your friendship than actual performance.
  • Emotional crossover – running your own business is a high-stress environment. Friendships can relieve stress, but just as easily a rough day at the office could lead to a personal argument that permanently sours your friendship. The same can happen outside the shop/office, leading to problems at work.
  • Tough decisions – friends can be hard to discipline or fire. It is also a decision that affects not just the office, but your personal life.
  • Insubordination – a close personal friend may not feel the need to obey your every order or show due respect.

How to Get The Best From Your Employees

All in all, it’s probably best to maintain a certain distance from your staff, as this allows you to get the full value of them. It is always the responsibility of management to extract the full potential of human capital. Your top priority is to ensure they perform as close to their full potential as possible.

An easy way to mentally judge this is the PIP formula:

Potential — Interferences  = Performance

Potential is difficult to quantify and almost impossible to truly manage. But if you want to ensure Performance, as per the PIP formula, you can certainly address the Interferences. As a manager or business owner you should see your role as almost exclusively the activity of removing interferences from work production. All obstacles, hurdles, difficulties and challenges that hinder performance, need to be effectively minimised or eradicated.

There are two ways to identify interferences: personal observation, walking about the shop or office to see what’s going on and where blockages exist. The other is by means of some good old-fashioned communication. Ask your staff questions and listen.

Here’s a way to directly address this

Potential – sit down with each staff member and have them write down what they consider to be their full potential in their role, and within the company. Compare this to your assumptions and see where an overlap occurs. Tabulate this.

Performance – then discuss their current and past performance and behaviour. Make notes, and keep a dossier on each employee so in future you have the required information at hand. Discuss any shortfall or over-achievements between their potential (determined above) and actual performance.

Interferences – between your observation and communication, list as many possible interferences as you can. Categorise them between business and personal, internal or external, micro or macro and so on. Find out what can influence these and develop an action plan to remove them as fast as possible. Prioritise them – some will be short-term and others longer-term.

In conclusion

Do this at regular intervals during the year, developing a record of performance, and you’ll find you have significantly improved performance both for most individuals – and for your business.