Among the things changed by Covid is how we view work and how we prioritize the things employees always told people were more important to them than their jobs.
This impacts the franchise industry in two different ways:
- Finding the employees owners will need to build their businesses
- The number and quality of franchise candidates looking into leaving their jobs
The pipeline of hourly employees for restaurants, retail and service businesses has always been a big focus for business owners and managers. For decades the process hasn’t changed, employers often focused on getting the lowest cost employees they could find without much focus on the work experiences or their lives outside of work.
Unpredictable cash flow during Covid for many hourly employees caused them to look closely at how they worked, how they lived and what was important to them. Some had chosen the restaurant or retail industries as a career path, others fell into it as ready work until they found the job they really wanted.
Growth in jobs like shipping and warehouse roles at Amazon, side gig roles like Door Dash and home-based administrative roles have attracted former hourly restaurant and retail workers for the time being. But as the economy swings back to the in-person experiences we were used to the need for those other roles may diminish, sending the workforce scrambling again for opportunities.
As that pendulum swings employers and franchisors have an opportunity to learn from what went into the decisions employees made to migrate to other types of work to attract a workforce that is, hopefully, a little more stable and contribute more to the business.
Is this a new idea? No.
One example, but not the only one comes from a friend of mine that operates a location for a well-known fast-food brand.
Paul has a great role as an operator, he works when he wants to, travels a lot, spends time with his family and makes a good income from running his restaurant. This did not come to him by accident.
Both before and during Covid, Paul had a stack of applications and could cherry pick the best employees in the market. This is because of some key moves he makes. First he pays well above market rate but in return for that gets a far higher productivity level from each employee. He also creates a very good work environment, all employees are respected and treated well. He has created a culture where employees like going to work, contribute a lot and stay long term.
One of the very public facing hourly employee contributions was that after they closed their dining room for Covid, they went from one drive through lane to two. Local customers frequented his drive through and while they moved fast the staff figured that they have more capacity if they could gets more cars to the pickup window. The hourly staff figured out how to add a 3rd drive through lane and substantially increased revenue. Paul was hiking in the mountains that day, his staff was empowered to make change.
His revenue numbers have long been good, but during Covid they increased substantially and his staff stepped up to the plate like never before.
With the hourly workforce increasing in age and the obligations they have at home, it has never been more important to have values they can align with, create a workplace they like spending their time in and provide them opportunities to advance if they wish to. If you dial in those parameters then you may find that you also have a stack of resumes and be able to select those employees that can take your business to the next level.
While the hourly workforce is a consideration, we are also seeing the same desires from franchise candidates coming to us from middle and executive roles.
I am talking daily to executives that have been working from home, spending time with their families. In some cases “working from home” meant moving to a rented home in a dream destination and setting up their work and school operation there. They got to wake up in the place they wanted to be, spending time with the people most important to them. They didn’t have to put on a suit and play the old corporate game. They did not have to be a road warrior.
Franchisors, much like employers, can create a culture for their franchise systems that fits what these highly skilled executives and middle managers want to experience. In many ways they already offer some of that via a National map of open territory.
Keep focused on the personal needs and desires of your franchisees. Do what you can to create the culture and voice the values that will increase the personal rewards those franchisees will appreciate.
What is your success story? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.
Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.