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  • Writer's pictureTim Parmeter

Staffing and Labor Basics for Franchise Owners

Today, we are going to discuss a topic that honestly can bring up a lot of concerns and uncertainty with our clients as they are first, figuring out just what kind of franchise they need to own and second, going into the vetting process.

The concern we are going to talk about today is labor. We have recorded a whole episode of the Franchising 101 podcast on labor issues. In this article, we are going to talk about how to find the best type of staff for you as an owner as well as the franchisor support around that. In most cases, franchisor support is immense and overwhelming, and it comes from many different areas.

Before we get into being a franchise owner and what kind of staff you may or may not want to surround yourself with, let’s back up to talk a little bit more about our process when we work with clients. On our second call, which we commonly refer to as the “Assessment Call”, we will ask you tons of questions about your dream scenario. One of the categories we will discuss is staff.

One major challenge of being a franchise owner is finding the labor best suited to your franchise. This process comes with a litany of questions: What kind of staff is right for you? How can you streamline such an important process? How can you best utilize the resources of your franchise to hire the best candidates for certain roles?

In this article, we will cover some staffing basics. By defining some basic terms in the labor market as well as outlining some staffing resources at your disposal, we hope to help you better understand the staffing process and your options – as well as how you will be supported by your franchise.

Understanding Skilled vs. Unskilled Labor

First, you must define what type of labor you’re interested in. Different franchises employ different staffing models. This alters the number of employees your franchise may need and their required skill levels.

We break staff into three categories: sales, skilled labor, and unskilled labor. Salespeople do sales-related tasks. The second two categories, skilled and unskilled labor, are commonly seen to be opposites.

Skilled labor refers to all positions someone needs to be previously trained in. These positions include ones like electricians or barbers – essentially anyone who has a special skill that you as the owner may be unable to do. The reason you hire them is that your business specializes in their domain. You are not the person doing the work. Plug those skilled people in. Some people can manage that and enjoy that.

Unskilled laborers are people who must be trained on their job, whether that is how to flip a burger or how to wash windows – to name a few examples. Unskilled laborers also have the possibility to learn and level up to more skills down the road, and you will be responsible for training them.

As we continue with our Discovery Process, we will also talk about semi-absentee ownership models, in which you will be hiring a general manager, or models that allow you to subcontract out certain responsibilities. Usually, people have some type of preference, but it is best to maintain a degree of openness in terms of what staffing model you are looking for.

When we connect you with franchises, we will pair you with brands that have totally different models – we want you to discover your preferences and see which one is best for you.

Attracting Candidates

Now let’s say that you have found the right franchise and you are starting to get your business off the ground. How will you find and hire qualified candidates?

Often, people start a franchise in a completely different industry than the one in which they have prior experience. This lack of experience can come at you in multiple different ways and angles. It can be difficult to create something as simple as a job description to draw in the right candidates for the role when it is not something you have done before.

Even if you have hired and interviewed people, how many of you have had to create a job description from scratch for the job that you are hiring for? And if so, how do you know if it is done correctly or if it is going to attract the right people? You don’t. But that is yet another area where franchisors can support you.

Even knowing where to post your jobs can be difficult. Zip Recruiter, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, Monster, and Facebook… which ones are the right platforms to reach possible future employees? Once again, the franchisor knows the answer, and they will support you in the hiring process.

Plus, you will most likely be able to get on these platforms at a discount by virtue of being a part of a franchise. This is known as buying power, in which those in a franchise system are able to get goods for less by using the franchise system’s resources. Buying power is one of the hidden benefits of being a franchisee – you will pay less by virtue of being part of a bigger system.

Using the franchise’s resources you will likely also have access to systems that give you data on the recruiting process. They allow you to see what platforms your best candidates come from and focus on those sites, thus saving you time and money elsewhere.

So now you have the job description, you know where to post it, and you are on there for a discount. What else will you need to consider?

Interviewing Candidates

The farther up the corporate food chain you get, the less likely it is that you have done any interview – whether you are the one interviewing or the one being interviewed. What questions are you gonna ask? How do you know what questions to ask?

Often the trial-and-error process of finding the right questions for interviews results in a few bad hires. Luckily, most franchises have a vetted list of questions for each position you may be staffing. These questions are known to garner the best results when it comes to finding employees.

Now that you have the questions, it is critical you know what to look for in the answers. Many new franchise owners will not have prior experience in hiring for specific positions. Franchisor support can be extremely helpful if you run into this issue. They will often give you tips on what to look for, whether it be background or mindset. They may also give you sample responses common amongst many of their top performers.

Furthermore, imagine that you are trying to pick between two candidates. Franchisors will likely have someone with specific know-how in these cases, who may be able to choose between the two. If they are unable to make the choice, they may be able to give you further clarity into the role so you will be better able to make your own decision.

Training Your Employees

Once you have hired your employee, it is necessary to know how to train them. Training often requires a lot of time and technical know-how. Even something as simple as making a sandwich requires that person to know how to slice the bread, how much ham to put on, how to layer the tomatoes, and what the finished product should look like.

Without prior experience, creating a training program that covers in-depth every detail of the job can be daunting. To aid in this task most franchises provide their franchise owners with a comprehensive training manual. With franchise training support, you will most likely be able to tailor training methods to each individual’s learning style, whether it be reading, watching, listening, or something more hands-on.

You yourself will likely go through a training curriculum provided by franchisor support. Down the line, when you may want to hire someone for a higher-level position, they may be able to go through the same training curriculum at the corporate headquarters.

For things that are more technical, you may even have a franchise with 24/7 support. There are things that may crop up on the job that were not covered in training. If your team encounters one of these obstacles, they have access to a number through which they can reach franchisor training experts in the field through this hotline.

Paying Your Employees

What is the appropriate way to compensate your employees? Is it hourly? Is it salary? Does it come with a commission bonus? Franchises provide a standard for pay ranges, along with org charts and a guide for how someone may naturally progress in your company.

When it comes to promotions, not everyone wants to be the boss. As a franchise owner, it is critical that you provide that support to your employees, whether or not they want to level up, to help grow your business.

But remember, when it comes to staff, the number one factor in employee turnover is not necessarily pay. It’s you. We have all had bad bosses. Bad bosses can completely alter a work environment. What is that expression? People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.

If you find that you are following the system the franchise laid out and still dealing with turnover it may be time to reflect on your style of management.

Don’t Be a Bad Boss

Your first objective as a boss should be to take care of your people. Build a great culture; a place where you would want to work. The best sign of success in this regard is referrals for new staff from your current employees. If you lack this, it may be necessary to reflect on your leadership and its effectiveness.

The most common advice given to new franchise owners is to follow the plan given by the franchise and put forth the required effort. Following this guidance, coupled with focusing on your staff is a guaranteed path towards success. However, as a boss, you must also be able to manage yourself along with your staff.

As a franchise owner, you must be self-disciplined. This position gives you a lot of control, which you must be able to exercise not only over your business but yourself. Franchise owners should be dedicated to the improvement of their own managerial skills.

But remember this: If you are concerned about labor and staffing, recall that concerns and challenges often arise when you don’t have enough information. That is where our Discovery Process comes in. As we get through this process and gain more information, it is going to be so crystal clear at the end that you have picked the right franchise that it will not even feel like making a decision.

Who Are We Anyway?

You are probably wondering where all of this great advice on staffing is coming from. The answer? FranCoach. We are a national search firm dedicated to working with individuals who are interested in owning a franchise. We have partnered with over 600 of the top franchisors in the country, spanning nearly 70 industries.

Our number one goal with our clients is to help them find the absolute best franchise for them to own. Our goal with our Franchising 101 podcast series and this series of informational articles is to help educate people on all aspects of franchise ownership.

Reach out to us to learn more about potentially becoming a franchise owner. There’s never any fee for our service, so why not take the first step today toward your better tomorrow?

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