Since the chances of finding a franchise that can be run without a team of employees is rare, you will need to have a plan that outlines where you will find employees, how large of a staff you will need, the qualifications you expect and the training you will give them. While franchisors will often extend training to you as a new franchisee, you will still be in charge of the hiring decisions within your franchise.
If you are a franchisee with a well-recognized brand name behind you, you probably won’t have any difficulty finding employees. In fact, applicants will often come to you. If you are working with a brand that is not well established yet, you will have to work a little harder to keep your staff at appropriate levels. This will likely mean looking for candidates who are interested in the products and services you offer. Even after your business is established, you will likely go through a process of trial and error while you figure out exactly what type of employee profile is most suited for your franchise.
Typically, the qualification requirements and application process will be laid out for you by the franchisor. Take time to decide what your ideal employee looks like so you have something by which to measure candidates. Common interview questions relate mainly to the candidate’s experience, customer service skills and schedule flexibility. Be aware that even seemingly innocent questions about a candidate’s personal life (e.g. marital status) are illegal. When in doubt, keep it professional. Make sure to also factor in neatness of their appearance, work ethic, industry experience and general interest in the tasks involved while you are making your final choices.
No matter how good you get at hiring, you will inevitably lose staff over the years. Teenage employees head off to university, long-time staffers may away or health and family issues might force good employees to resign. Don’t take it personally—people grow and sometimes your employment opportunity no longer fits with their goals. Always keep it positive and wish departing staff the best. If the employee had been a good performer, they may be able to suggest a substitute from their personal network or assist with hiring their replacement.
Supervising and training staff
Like any other business, you will be responsible for supervising and training your own employees. Given a franchise is built on the consistency of a recognized brand or service, it is very important to maintain a professional and uniform appearance among your staff.
As a general rule, remember your employees are a direct reflection of you and your business as a whole. Your franchisor does not want its franchisees or their employees to misrepresent or hurt their established brand name and image. You may be able to obtain some training materials for your employees through the franchisor, and you may also be required to periodically report on the progress of your staff. The level of involvement your franchisor will have is generally outlined at the beginning of your relationship.
No matter how much care you taking in hiring and managing your staff, there will ultimately come a time when disciplinary action will be necessary. When providing an employee with disciplinary coaching, be sure to keep a record of the coaching for the employee’s file.
If the worst case scenario plays out and termination is necessary, ensure you have just cause. This can include an immediate threat of violence or theft, or a history of disciplinary coaching with no improvement. If you act in haste and do not have just cause to fire an employee, it can be considered ‘wrongful dismissal,’ giving the terminated employee possible grounds for a lawsuit.
Decisions on hiring and firing are ultimately up to you. However, in extreme circumstances (e.g. where the employee’s actions negatively impact the brand as a whole), the franchisor may have grounds to mandate the employee’s termination. Look through your franchise agreement for a morality clause that can be used by the franchisor to override you in these areas.