Workplace culture may seem like a trendy subject, but it’s important to discuss, especially as the next generation are putting good work culture ahead of pay and status when looking for that ideal role
It’s imperative for businesses to acknowledge that workplace culture revolves around more than providing a comfy couch and board games in the break room. People are genuinely more concerned with the ethical standards of a business and how it treats its staff and network.
Franchisees are no different and expect to invest in a franchise that has met with minimum standards, provides adequate ongoing training and support and is constantly working to improve how it engages with the network.
The British Franchise Association (bfa) is determined to celebrate and promote franchise systems that go above and beyond to create a culture of ‘people first’. This is reflected by the recent changes to the 2019 bfa HSBC Franchise Awards. The categories of Leadership & Culture and Social Enterprise were added to recognise the importance of providing essential services and being people centered.
The bfa hopes to encourage more systems to build on their culture and evaluate what more could be done for the people in their businesses. Here are three ways to cultivate a happy and healthy franchise culture:
Face to face acknowledgement of achievements and success will leave franchisees feeling appreciated. No matter how big or small, understand that a success for them is also a success for you, so appreciate the hard work that goes into building the brand as a whole.
Denise Hutton-Gosney, founder and managing director of Razzamataz, a UK-based theatre school franchise system, found that recognition was the number one motivator in her business. She says: “We surveyed our franchisees about what motivates and makes them happy and the highest percentage was for ‘recognition’, so we work hard to recognise all successes. To reward growth and teamwork, Razzamataz offers a number of incentives to franchisees, including afternoon teas and overnight stays in luxury hotels, to make them feel valued. It’s not just about the big successes - there is plenty of recognition for all.”
Outside of recognition, people want to know what the company can do for their individual needs. Gone are the days when people accepted they were just a name in a large organisation. Franchisees go into franchising for many reasons, but a big motivator is being able to take back control of their lives.
Denise agrees: “The Razzamataz ethos is about flexible working to give people a better life/work balance. We pride ourselves on being family-friendly and creating businesses that people can run around their other commitments.”
No franchisee would be happy unless they had a clear line of communication with their head office. So if they have feedback, ideas, need help or want advice, there needs to be an open and easy way for them to communicate this to the franchisor.
Finding a way to regularly speak with individual franchisees through reviews, conferences or meetings will make the network feel more respected. Some franchise systems organise annual conferences to bring the network together to update on strategy and vision. Franchisees deserve to hear this, as they are partners in your business and must be able to execute the brand’s vision. It also gives them the opportunity to provide some input or pitch ideas, as well as meet and work with other franchisees.
Pip Wilkins is CEO of the British Franchise Association.