The following six trends have emerged from our research listening to senior franchisor leaders. We hope these stimulate constructive discussions within your franchisor team.
#1: How to maintain a culture of positivity and resilience
Many leaders are concerned that the stress and burnout their franchisees and staff have felt over the past few years is becoming embedded as a normal part of their business cultures. To prevent this, it is more important than ever that leaders look after their own personal vitality so they can authentically foster a culture of optimism and resilience in their networks.
#2: How to lead through uncertainty and change
While shifting market conditions have forced many franchisors to introduce new business models and technology, mergers and acquisitions in the franchising sector are also at an all-time high. This means franchisor executives are having to think carefully about how to gain the buy-in and commitment of their franchisees to an unprecedented amount of change. Empathy and proactive two-way communication on the issues that matter to people are essential here.
#3: How to attract and retain quality people
While staff shortages are being exacerbated by people calling in sick, there are other systemic generational issues contributing to the problem, such as a record number of Baby Boomers retiring. Smart franchisors and franchisees are identifying and protecting their internal talent by creating meaningful career pathways, reviewing their reward and recognition programs, and revisiting what is now referred to as their Employee Value Proposition, or EVP.
#4: How to keep your network fresh and growing
Our research indicates the average franchisee has a tenure of just over six years, with over a third in their second decade of running their businesses. Without new challenges and opportunities, many of these people are likely to become tired and complacent. Smart franchisors are actively exploring programs to keep their mature franchisees fresh and engaged, as well as assisting with succession planning strategies.
#5: How to promote collaboration and improve communication
To foster innovation and gain greater buy-in to change, many franchisors are revisiting the effectiveness of their Franchise Advisory Councils. Although franchisees have generally rated communication by franchisors during the pandemic as effective, they have simultaneously suffered from a sense of isolation. For this reason, smart franchisors are experimenting with meeting processes that promote greater interaction, collaboration and idea sharing.
#6: How to protect franchisee profitability and retain customers
As the cost of labour and materials continues to rise, many franchisees are facing margin compression, and are looking for ways to increase their prices without alienating customers. Smart franchisors are working in partnership with suppliers to identify opportunities to reduce franchisee costs. They are also strategically reviewing their pricing and marketing strategies to help franchisees protect profitability and retain customers.