This article first appeared on Franchising.com on June 1, 2021.
Years ago, I attended the IFA Convention where Cheryl Bachelder, then CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, was the featured speaker. She spoke to the significance of “treating franchisees as the most important customers.” I wholeheartedly agree. Without your valued and successful franchisees, you have no franchise system.
We often think our franchisees’ customers are the most important customers. I agree that their customers are extremely important. However, for a franchisee’s customers to be happy and valued, the franchisor must offer their customer – the franchisee – the most comprehensive onboarding process, resources, and systems to ensure franchisee growth. Without the proper training and tools it’s like asking a ballet dancer to tap dance, without providing the steps – or the shoes.
Let’s talk about value when it comes to onboarding our franchisees: the value of training, the value of learning, the value of culture, core values, communication, listening, respect, resilience, and so much more. What does value mean to you, in terms of both your system and your franchisees? When was the last time you listened to, heard, acknowledged, and aligned with your franchisees’ concerns?
An effective onboarding strategy sets up many advantages for a franchisee to succeed. It helps with morale, reduces conflicts, helps avoid disruption, and provides increased validation, which has a positive effect in growing the brand. And onboarding a franchisee does not stop with the initial training – it is a continuous journey and an essential part of franchisee success.
The powerful combination of franchisees understanding that you value them, coupled with open communication, continued training, and learning experiences can open up unlimited opportunities. This will lead to better and faster franchisee success, continued trust, engagement, great validation, and a stronger franchise brand.
5 tips for successful onboarding
1) Provide a formal franchise onboarding process. Knowing that everyone does not learn the same way, be able to remain true to the process and still be nimble. A versatile training program should meet the changing demands of the industry. It should employ blended learning tools such as technology, e-learning, and practical skills to equip them for the journey to success.
2) Debrief with your team after each onboarding program. Survey the new franchisees and validate what best resonated with them, what could be enhanced, added, or deleted from the program to make it more robust and successful.
3) Review the onboarding process with your team. At a minimum, do this quarterly. Document updates and communicate with leadership, franchise development, accounting, and all support teams involved with the onboarding process to ensure expectations are properly set and everyone is in alignment.
4) Be transparent with your franchisees. Open, honest dialog wins every time and keeps the network engaged.
5) Provide a franchise advisory council that truly represents your network. Be sure it includes all perspectives, not just your franchisor perspective.
Remember, the franchisor’s true customer is the franchisee. Continue to reinforce learning, share best practices, strategies, communicate, and stay engaged with the network. After all, the franchisee’s success is the franchisor’s success.
Maria Haan, CFE, CLC is the founder of Get Onboard Consulting. She has more than 25 years of business experience building franchise advisory councils, operational teams, and developing comprehensive strategies for growth. She has successfully created and implemented individualized coaching programs with a focus on operational strategies that guide businesses and franchise owners to launch and implement growth efficiencies and profitability. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-282-8194.
Published: June 1st, 2021