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Delegating management to franchise employees

Handshake to seal a deal after a job recruitment meeting in an oBy Kelley Robertson

Q: When should a franchisee delegate management authority to an employee?

Kelley says:
Delegating management authority can be a great way to reduce the burden on your own shoulders. There are several factors to consider first.

Has the employee demonstrated leadership potential? It is common for franchisees to only consider an employee’s performance in his/her current position, but even when an employee has been highly effective in that role, it does not mean he/she will succeed when given management responsibilities. Rather, the employee should display leadership potential.

Is the employee respected by the other staff? If not, he/she will struggle in a role of authority, which will cause additional problems for you as the franchisee. I have seen many situations where highly capable employees were promoted to management, only to fail miserably because they did not get along with other employees.

Finally, does the employee want the additional responsibility? Some have a keen desire to move up in the business, while others simply want to continue in their current role. So, you should have a one-on-one conversation to determine their interest before delegating authority.

Q: How much authority can a franchisee grant in this way?

Kelley says:
The amount will vary from situation to situation, but a common, fatal mistake is to delegate too much, too soon or too quickly. You will achieve better results by gradually increasing an employee’s authority.

If you own a restaurant franchise, for example, you can assign supervisory duties to a full-time server. The initial responsibilities might include training and assisting newer servers and checking sections before other wait staff clocks out. Then you can add other tasks, such as scheduling and placing orders. As the server proves his/her ability to execute those responsibilities, you can have him/her manage the restaurant for a few hours and eventually open and/or close it on a slower day.

It is important to avoid throwing your employees to the wolves, so to speak. Make sure you provide ample training and direction, especially in the early stage of their development.

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