Jeff Meyers, vice president of international operations for the Dwyer Group, offers guidance on how to recruit and retain the best employees for your franchise
The number one challenge for any business is recruiting and retaining high quality employees, but finding the right people to hire is becoming harder, despite the growth of ‘find a job’ websites.
For franchise owners, finding quality employees can be the difference between a successful business and a struggling one.
Whether you’re starting a franchise or running an existing business, the staff you employ will play a big part in your franchise development. It’s therefore imperative that you make sure you get the right employees on board to help run the business profitably and smoothly. Any franchise owner will tell you that finding and keeping talented employees to run their business is a constant undertaking.
As the war for talent intensifies, it’s essential that any franchise positions itself as an employer of choice by boosting its brand, managing its reputation and making employee engagement a top priority. But with a decreasing labour pool, it’s getting increasingly harder for franchisees in many industries to attract valuable, long-term employees.
There is always a degree of risk when employing people and training new staff who may or may not work out in the long run, as it can be a costly investment. There are, however, strategies that franchisees can put in place to reduce this risk and help assemble the right team:
Take advice from your franchisor
Don’t feel you’re on your own when it comes to recruitment, as your franchisor should provide you with assistance and guidance on finding and retaining employees, as well as recommended training programmes and guidelines for further investing in staff and career development.
This can be a big selling point for attracting highly qualified and motivated staff into your business.
Keeping on the right side of the law
Your colleagues are your biggest asset, but they are also your worst liability. As a franchisee, it’s important you do not breach statutory rights when recruiting or managing your staff and ensure you follow your businesses’ policies and procedures.
Every member of staff you hire will have certain legal rights from day one of employment and the right to not be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age or religious belief.
However, the rights of your employees will be set in motion if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed and as a franchisee you will need to follow a documented disciplinary procedure.
Right to work documents
If you fi nd the perfect potential employee for your franchise, you’ll need to carry out ‘right to work’ checks before you hire them, otherwise you could be liable to a civil penalty of up to £20,000.
You’ll need to verify that the new applicant has all the necessary documentation, so ask to see their original documents and take copies, including a UK passport, a European ID card or, if not from the EU, a work visa.
Remember to always comply with data protection and privacy regulations, particularly now with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Paying the right wage
It’s important to take your employees’ pay seriously, as it’s not only against the law not to pay someone the rate they’re entitled to, but it’s a franchise cost that’s worth investing in.
If you pay your staff the correct wage, they’re more likely to remain loyal to your franchise and this is important for both you and your customers.
The national minimum wage is the least amount you must pay most workers according to the law. Workers over the age of 25 are entitled to the higher rate of pay known as the national living wage.
Contract of employment
All staff should have a contract of employment before they start at your franchise and it must include certain information, such as the names of the employer and employee, employment commencement date, wages, hours of work and the length of notice needed to terminate employment.
Having all this confirmed in writing before the new candidate starts will ensure transparency from the beginning. If you’re unable to provide a contract initially, you have a twomonth grace period to get the contract to your member of staff, otherwise you’re in breach of employment law.
Interviewing is a two-way process between the potential applicant and the franchise and first impressions count.
During an interview, it isn’t just the candidate who is being examined - how you come across as an employer could affect the calibre of candidate who accepts a job offer.
Once you’ve shortlisted three or four candidates for an interview, let them do most of the talking so you can get a good idea of their experience and desire to work for your franchise.
As the interviewer, you also need to come across well, as you want candidates to believe your franchise is the perfect place for them to develop their careers.
It might sound obvious to many, but when a company advertises a job, it increases the visibility of its brand and sets it apart from the competition.
Advertising also gives you genuine feedback from interviews and employees, so you can continue to refine your hiring process and improve your company culture.
Finding and keeping great talent remains a challenge for franchise operators and brings many responsibilities with it. There is a lot to consider when hiring staff for your franchise, but it’s only relative to the amount of benefit that recruiting the right people will contribute to your business.
Where to recruit the best candidates
Without any prior knowledge or experience of hiring staff, it can be difficult if you haven’t done it before.
First and foremost, you need to have a detailed job description of the role you’re looking to fill, as this will significantly improve the chances of finding the quality of staff you’re looking for.
An effective place to start your search is with other franchises within the same company, as they already have an existing knowledge of the way the franchise operates and what is expected of them.
Recruitment agencies can also be a useful tool in sourcing candidates, but you must work closely with them to make sure they understand the roles you’re trying to fill. Social media can also play a big part - Facebook and LinkedIn - as can online recruitment job boards.