This article appears in the September/October 2013 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
Becoming the owner of a new franchise business, or taking over an established franchise business, can be a very stressful time for everyone involved. You might need to employ and train an entire team of new staff members, or you might ‘inherit’ an existing team.
If taking over an existing business, change of ownership can cause anxiety and unrest. Therefore, it’s important that the new franchisee is sensitive to the landscape.
Similarly, putting together a new team, which involves the process of selecting and training the right candidates, can be extremely stressful for all concerned.
Because of the way many people run businesses these days, they sometimes forget people need to be nurtured and led. As Director of my own small company, which specialises in Human Resources and training (amongst many others,) I am passionate about understanding how my team works together – after all, my business depends on it!
All staff members are profiled using TMP (Team Management Profiling) and their work place choices are addressed accordingly to ensure they are always inspired and engaged. Personal Development plans for all team members are continually being developed and reviewed.
We have developed an energetic workplace culture and our staff reflects that enthusiasm whilst maintaining our high ethics and integrity and strong client focus.
My personal philosophy is that engaged, empowered, and satisfied people deliver results.
Creating a ‘brand new’ team
If you are embarking on a new franchise business and need to employ a brand new team, it would be expected that you will be supported and trained in this by your franchisor, as an extremely important element of the franchisee induction program.
The franchisee induction program should include leadership and management modules for a new business owner.
If the new team members you have carefully selected based on guidelines and criteria provided to you by your franchisor, and if they are well presented and trained, this will result in greater customer satisfaction and subsequently greater sales.
Individual profiling is often the first step that should be taken by both managers and their staff to understand people’s natural preferences of what they like to do in the work place, and help them understand the way they like to approach work.
Profiling. How does it work?
TMP identifies and works on several important factors:
• Individuals’ profiles and work preferences.
• Team dynamics and group preferences.
• Future individual and group strategies for work efficiency and effectiveness.
This approach focuses on identifying and understanding key work elements that prove to be reliable and valid in explaining why some individuals, teams, and organisations perform work effectively and achieve their objectives, while others fail.
I believe a quality franchise system should be continually looking at different ways for franchisees and staff to increase their performance in a measurable way.
The implementation of TMP recommendations results in increased performance of staff, which increases the success of the franchise system.
As an experienced franchise industry trainer and facilitator I have delivered TMP to hundreds of franchise industry employers and employees.
Basically, a TMP profile will analyse a person’s work place preferences to see if they have tendencies towards particular personality traits and how different types of people can work well together.
TMP could provide the answers you are seeking to understand how you and your team members can work together more effectively and efficiently.
TMP profiles can be carried out on potential new team members as part of the recruitment process to see how this individual will fit in with your company, and is also useful for existing teams who may be underperforming to identify where the problems could lie.
‘Inheriting’ an existing team
If you are taking over an established business with existing staff members, the following tips are important:
1. Perception is reality – don’t ask your staff to do anything you aren’t prepared to do yourself. You have just bought the business and if you want to show you’re serious about growing it prove that you are not afraid to get your hands dirty and learn from them.
2. You must be seen to lead – you want employees to become more cost conscious, more profit focussed, more customer service oriented and more business savvy.
3. ‘Level’ with your new staff – call a meeting and tell your staff how you plan to deal with the first three, six, nine, 12 months of operating the business. If you don’t, your staff will make inaccurate and misinformed decisions.
4. Collaboration, not confrontation – new ownership is the ideal time for collaboration between a new owner and their staff. It is certainly the wrong time for threats and intimidation. You need full co-operation from your staff. You want to engage them and listen to their ideas and comments. They need to feel free to make suggestions and participate fully in helping the business grow and improve.
5. Key people are more important than ever – retaining your key people is very important during a new ownership period. Ensure that they are ‘onside’. They are the core of your business and because they are good at what they do, they are likely to be attracting the attention of your competitors.
6. Increase rewards and incentives – that’s right, increase them! This isn’t the heresy it appears to be. Incentive and Reward systems are usually used to reward superior service, but when you first take over a business you want to retain your star performers. So offer superior rewards.
7. Staff know where the ‘fat is hidden’ – all businesses have areas of ‘fat’ or wastage. Quite often your staff know exactly where those areas are. Ensure you encourage your new staff to identify these potential savings and suggest action to gain them.
8. Intensify training – train intensively during the new ownership period as there’s a good chance you will need some up skilling or refreshing on the business’ systems or processes. Make sure your staff can get access to this increase in training also.
Your new staff will be used to a certain style of management and it’s highly likely that yours will be different. Keep in mind that neither style is right or wrong, but your style is what the team has to work with now.
Once in your business, be sure to maintain a clear and concise message, be consistent in dealing with your team, praise when warranted but discipline when required. Set a follow up team meeting a minimum of four weeks after changeover to revisit what is working and what needs focus in your business.
However, no matter how well you transition your team, some staff will leave. It is not because they are bad team members or you are a difficult leader. It is simply that your style is not what they were used to and as such they choose to move on. Be prepared for this and develop training for new staff alongside your existing team.
Training is key
Finally, whether you are creating a new team or taking over management of an existing team, remember that one of the reasons you bought into a franchise system was because of the support and training provided in this area to help you succeed.
Franchisors have a responsibility to allocate funds to and then use those funds in the best way possible to develop all team members. Is there a franchisee management program available which you can attend to further up-skill yourself in skills such
as: communication, team management, interpersonal skills, human resource management, conflict resolution, or coaching and mentoring of your team members?
Are there self-paced training programs which are available to you that you can administer for your team members such as customer service, workplace health and safety, etc. or an opportunity for your team members to complete relevant registered certificates in retail, hospitality, warehousing and the like?
Like everything in life, you will only get out of your business and your staff members what you are prepared to put in.
When it comes down to understanding your team and how it works, it all comes down to support and communication.
Corina Vucic, the 2012 FCA Woman in Franchising (Vic/Tas) is committed to delivering operational learning and development in a proven and practical manner and is an experienced and highly qualified mentor, trainer and business coach.
She is an expert at influencing success through motivation and engagement and providing leadership, support and guidance at any level.
For further information contact Corina Vucic, Director at FC Business Solutions:
Phone: 03 9533 0028