One of the roles that as a franchisee you will spend a lot of time is the area of recruiting staff. Unless you are operating a one man operation, this will be an important part of your business. Recruiting staff is an ongoing function of management and can make the difference in the success of the business. Experience has proven repeatedly that well-selected employees will dramatically improve your success.
Although some franchisors will assist the franchisee in hiring staff during the start up phase of a new location, once open it is typically the franchisees responsibility. Most franchise agreements will clearly state that you are required to maintain a sufficient number of staff and to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are trained and represent the brand well to ensure good customer relations. The franchise agreement will typically further clarify that as a franchisee you are responsible for all decisions related to hiring, firing, training, wages, hours supervision and discipline. The employees are clearly working for you and not the franchisor.
The staff requirements will vary depending upon the type of business. A full-service restaurant may have as many as 80 to 100 employees, where as retail concepts may require only one or two. Manpower requirements may also vary depending upon seasonal variations. Retail tends to have higher staff needs during the Christmas shopping season for example.
In industries where there is a high labor need, progressive franchisors have developed recruitment departments to address the current labor shortage in Canada and have programs to bring in foreign workers. Progressive franchisors are also looking at ways to reduce labor needs of the franchisees through outsourcing certain aspects of the operations.
The type of staff you require will vary depending upon the business model. Often the business will rely on you and your staff’s ability to build relationships with customers and sell your product. As a result, you will typically want employees that are people oriented. You are looking for staff that reflect that brands values have the ability to learn and are available the hours required. The more flexible employees are will make scheduling easier.
Before hiring your staff, have clarity on the staffing needs of the business. The franchisor will often provide details of staffing needs in the operation manual, as well as provide specific job descriptions and tools to assist you in the recruitment process. The franchisor will also typically provide tools in the form of leadership training, staff surveys for feedback and recognition programs for staff retention.
The recruitment process will vary but typically involves the following steps;
- Advertising to generate enquiries
- Reviewing resumes or applications
- Conducting interviews, either individually or by groups
- Checking references
- Orientation and training
- The franchisor, based on the experience of existing franchisees, can provide you with best practices for the entire recruitment process.
What you pay employees is dictated by labor laws and what is needed to attract employees in your specific market. Today market is competitive and you will want to be aware of what other companies are paying by doing a quick survey of the market.
The costs of employees go beyond the pay cheque. Depending upon the business and market, there will be the costs of employment taxes, workers compensation and benefits. But the biggest cost is the cost of turnover of employees. You will want to ensure that you take the time to hire the right employee and then provide a great work environment that will encourage good employees to stay. You can improve staff retention and reduce your hiring costs by becoming the “employer of choice.” Employees today are looking for;
- Career development and advancement opportunities
- On-going progressive training
- A fun environment
- Flexible work hours and time
- Fair treatment
- Involvement and consultation with management
Throughout the recruitment process franchisees will want to be aware of the employment standards and labor laws that are applicable to your area. The provincial Human Rights Code prevents employers from discrimination when hiring and managing employees. There are certain questions that cannot be asked during the recruitment process. Such things as race, age and religion are not relevant. Instead you need to focus on the position being filled and identifying the characteristics that a successful candidate needs to fill this role. There are also privacy laws to be aware of. You do not want to disclose personal information of your employees. It is the franchisees responsibility to be familiar with all applicable laws and to adhere to them.
Your business success is dependent upon you finding the right people that will deliver great customer service. No matter how good your employees, it does not diminish the need for you to be involved in the business. All franchisors will agree that there is nothing that can replace the dedication and commitment of a franchisee who has a vested interest in the success of the business and who has made a financial investment. Data indicates that sales and customer satisfaction increases when a franchisee is actively involved in the day-to-day operations.