People matter - we know that. Nothing has been more obvious in my career than the fact that people make all the difference.
With this in mind, we put a lot of effort into the onboarding process: we use recruiters, pour over resumes and hold multiple interviews all in hopes of finding just the right talent for our franchise organizations. It’s a significant investment of time and money, so once you find that right person and get them started, you want to give them all of the tools needed to succeed.
Having just gone through this process with one of the boards I serve on, it occurred to me that once you are lucky enough to bring new talent into your organization, there are things that could be included in the process that are specific to the franchising industry:
- Provide them with the Franchise Disclosure Document: In addition to the normal onboarding materials and business financial information, make sure you also provide new executives with a copy of the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document). Seems obvious, but sometimes it’s missed. This will provide them with critical information about the business relationship that exists between the franchisees and the franchisor. Sharing the FDDs of your industry competitors can also be helpful.
- Give Them the Lay of the Land: Even more so than in other businesses, it’s important that your new executive knows everyone involved in the business. This doesn’t just mean everyone in headquarters - but also who the top, bottom and middle franchisees are, as well. If your organization has 100 franchisees or less, try to give this person a quick, 5-minute intro to all of them. If your organization has more franchisees than that, then you’ll have to generalize a bit. Keep in mind, you don’t have to provide all of this information at once - you can break it up by spreading it out over a week or so.
- Introduce them to the franchisee “key players” in the organization: Start with the advisory council and then have them schedule one-on-one phone calls so that the executive and the franchisees get to know each other. A big part of working with a franchise organization is working with franchisees and developing trust - it doesn’t happen by accident. During this process, it’s important that the executive doesn’t overcommit and instead manages expectations. By carefully exceeding their expectations, franchisees might develop trust for this new person in the organization more quickly.
- Introduce Them to Vendors, Suppliers and the Industry at Large: In addition to the individuals who work for your business, you’ll want them to get to know those who work with your business, as well. This includes your franchise organization’s key vendors and suppliers, as well as any industry associations you belong to. As we’ve said in the past, even though you may work for a restaurant franchise, you’re in the business of franchising. This introduction to others can be especially important if your new executive is new to the franchise industry.
Developing relationships with the franchisees - and building trust - is also incredibly important. We’ll discuss this more in a future blog article, it’s a never ending process....
If you have questions about onboarding new talent, I’d be happy to talk! Please reach out anytime.