Employing staff at your franchise – hiring and keeping the right team
The team that you hire when you start a franchise business will be the people who deliver your corporate vision, so they need to be just right if you are going to succeed.
There are countless recruitment and management tips released each year advising managers on the minutiae of finding and keeping the best employees, but ultimately the sheer volume of advice out there can make the process even more intimidating. Do your best to keep things simple, as it will help you keep the most important thing in mind:
Who do you want to work with?
Even though the recruitment and retention process pretty much boils down to this question, you do want to spend time making sure you get it right – mainly because it is expensive to fire people and recruit replacements. You may find that your franchisor will supply someone from their headquarters to help you gather your team – but any well-prepared manager can do it if needs be.
Your business plan should have a section in which you have sketched out how many employees you will need to make your enterprise a success, so the next stage is to flesh out these positions. It is absolutely essential to have it clear in your mind what duties each job entails, as this will inform you as to which skills and what experience you are looking for in a candidate.
Once you have advertised the available positions and received responses, you should create a shortlist of those people that – on paper at least – could fulfill the role. You could include a couple of candidates that you have a good gut feeling about because of their application, but don’t let your gut guide your whole recruitment process. Remember to check applicants’ references too.
At the interview, you need to get as much relevant information as possible from a short time; create a checklist of standard questions to ask but don’t be afraid to let the conversation develop naturally too, as this could help you get to know someone better – for good or bad. It can help to have someone with you to give a second opinion on whether the interviewee is showing evidence of the skills you want.
Personality is just as important as the skills someone has, so you might meet someone that has great potential but no real experience (Steve Jobs famously did this a number of times) – it is a risk, but you could bank on the idea that you could fill in their basic knowledge and have a cracking employee on your hands. Also, be aware of the mixture of personalities in the workplace if you are hiring several individuals.
An additional factor is that you may want to read between the lines a little and identify potential issues that could prompt them to leave after only a short time – for example, a university student who is in their last year of their course could leave the city after they finish. Make sure you clarify the situation as much as possible.
Once you have hired the best people for the money you have available, the next task is to hang on to them. If a staff member is truly excelling they may be thinking about moving to a new company where they can earn more or develop their skills – your job is to persuade them that staying put is the right way to go.
It is all a question of day-to-day management and motivation. On the management side of things, you need to strike right the right balance between being friendly and fun, with an underlying note of discipline.
People need to be managed to differing levels – you need to find the biting point.
In terms of motivation, it is a question of gauging what sort of person you are dealing with and what might incentivise them to work harder or stay longer.
This could be things like;
- bonuses for high sales revenues,
- a good pension scheme,
- additional training,
- more responsibility and
- flexible working hours.
At different stages of their career, a person will be motivated by different ‘carrots’, so speak to them and come up with a system that employees can work towards. One thing to bear in mind is that people may eventually leave simply because their life takes them elsewhere – what you are aiming to do is to get the best work out of them for the longest amount of time.