When you run a franchise, your employees are the ones on the frontline, interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis. They're the people that you rely on to make sales, solve problems and ensure you’re profitable.
Therefore, in order for your franchise to be successful, you need to make sure that you recruit a talented team of employees. First, we explore why recruiting the right staff is so important, and then we go on to provide a guide to how this can be achieved.
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Five reasons why recruiting the right staff is important
- Bring fresh perspectives. Businesses depend on diverse opinions and perspectives if they’re to succeed. An organisation populated by ‘yes men' will not be able to maintain their success in the long term. No one person can guide a business through all of the diverse challenges it will face over its lifespan. Everyone needs advice sometimes, and it's best if that advice comes from people with different opinions. If you’re faced with a complex issue and want a complete answer, you need to see the problem from all sides.
- It only takes one sub-standard staff member to cause irreversible damage to your reputation. If they provide poor service to one individual, you're not only likely to lose that person's custom, but many others’, too. Customers don’t keep quiet when they receive poor service, they like to spread the word. This is never a good thing, but it’s particularly worrying if you operate in smaller communities, where word travels quickly and customers are quick to drop you.
- Bad staff cost money. A bad hiring choice can damage your reputation and cause you to lose money in that way. However, they can also cost you money in other ways. For instance, a poor salesperson is likely to mishandle a large number of customer interactions, minimising the amount you earn in the process. Some may be so bad at their job that customers decide they have to go elsewhere. There are an incredible number of ways poor performers can cost you – that’s why it’s vital you make the right choice in the first place.
- Poor staff can impact other franchise units’ reputation. It’s particularly important to remember that failing to hire the right staff can also damage other franchise units in your network. As you all operate under the same name and brand identity, a bad choice by one franchisee is a bad choice for all franchisees. The same goes the other way around. If another franchisee hires a poor performer, your business could suffer. That’s why it’s so important that all franchisees are on the same page when it comes to hiring and firing.
- High staff turnover is costly and disruptive. If you keep on hiring sub-standard staff members, you’ll have to keep firing them. It also means that you’ll have to repeat the hiring process over and over again. This is not only frustrating and disruptive, it’s expensive too. Training a staff member isn’t cheap. They often need to shadow another employee for a short period, which reduces that employee’s productivity, and they’ll have to improve as they go along. This means they’ll be earning you less until they’re up to speed.
A guide to recruiting staff for your franchise
- Don’t restrict your search to traditional mediums. Top franchises don’t just put an ad in the local newspaper and hope for the best. They’re proactive when it comes to finding the right employee. They look everywhere and ensure they’re advertising in the most popular places. A large percentage of franchises now do their hiring through digital platforms such as LinkedIn, Shapr and Opportunity. This gives them access to a demographic they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
- Write a precise job description. Franchise brands that write vague job descriptions will not entice the cream of the crop. Most of the time, candidates with the skills, determination and drive required to succeed also benefit from a great sense of purpose. They know what they want and they're going to work as hard as they can to get it. If your job description is not clear and precise, it will be unappealing. The type of jobseeker you're looking to attract will scan right past it. Include the main duties of the job role, personality traits and any qualifications that are required to fulfil the role successfully. Also, by writing a detailed job description and thinking about the role in detail, you should get a better idea of exactly what it is you’re looking for. This should also mean that the perfect candidate stands out more clearly in the interviews.
- Meet every suitable candidate in person. In the modern recruitment industry, we’re used to the idea that technology can perform a lot of the recruitment process for us. We can set our criteria, let AI software sort through the applicants and then just interview the top two candidates. However, this type of recruitment can lead to franchisees missing hugely promising applicants. It’s not until you meet someone face to face that you get a true idea of their capabilities. Consequently, it’s a good idea to meet as many suitable candidates as you can.
- Listen to your franchisor. One of the biggest benefits of franchising is that you will probably receive help recruiting staff from your franchisor. They should already have experience in this area and therefore share some handy tips and tricks with you. The level of training and support you will receive from the franchisor will be defined in the franchise agreement. The franchisor may have also developed training programmes dedicated to staff development. Make sure you find out about this and emphasise it in the interview, as this can be an attractive perk to high calibre staff.
- Consider using the help of recruitment agencies. You might want to seek professional help from recruiting experts from a recruitment agency. If you do decide to take this route, you need to work closely with them and clearly outline what it is you’re looking for. You’re probably best off choosing an agency that has a wealth of experience filling the roles you are recruiting for. If they aren’t sending you the right sort of candidates, check they are clear with the sort of candidates you are looking for, and if that fails, find a different agency.
- Leave all prejudices at the door. There are many types of prejudice that can impact on the recruitment process, including racial, sexual, religious, cultural and educational prejudices. When hiring, it's important to leave all these biases at the door and approach each candidate in the same way. If you don't, you're likely to make poor decisions, your franchise unit will suffer and you may even find that you're breaking the law.
- Establish your interview technique. It’s important to consider how you come across to your candidates, as this will influence the calibre of interviewee who accepts your offer. How you approach the interview and your level of professionalism provides insight to candidates of what sort of franchisor you will be. You have to remember that just because you want a candidate, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will want you.
- Consider looking within the franchise business. You could save time and money by hiring staff that are already employed by another franchise location. Then, they should already be familiar with the brand philosophy and how the franchise operates. Hiring such staff could also prove invaluable in the initial stages, as they can pass their expertise onto junior team members. You might find that there is a team member looking to relocate from their southern franchise location to your northern franchise. Or, there could be a staff member looking to be promoted to assistant manager, for example. Their experience with the franchise also puts them in a good position to advise you on junior team members to employ.
- Know what you want. Finally, it's difficult to hire the right staff unless you're absolutely sure that you understand what constitutes the right member of staff. What qualities should they embody? What do you need from them? What skills are most important? What can you teach them during training and what skills do they need to have developed themselves?
The best franchises to own are those in which the franchisor guides you through the recruitment process. No new franchisee can be expected to understand the franchise model enough to know exactly what they need and who fits the job. However, franchisees should also be included in this process and have the final say when it comes to staff member selection. Poor recruitment choices can have an enormous impact on a business' chances of success. Consequently, it's vital that you consider how you're going to organise and execute the recruitment process.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©