It’s a tough labor market out there, and franchises are struggling along with everyone else. For new franchise owners, it’s particularly important to have qualified staff who are invested in the success of the business. So how can new franchise owners find staff in these tricky times? Finding ways to stand out can feel like an almost insurmountable task, but when it comes down to it, it’s really just about understanding employee needs and meeting them.
Offer Financial Incentives
Let’s be honest: financial incentives are one of the most straightforward ways to find and retain staff, especially in challenging labor markets. As much as you’re interviewing prospective employees, they’re interviewing you – and they have options too. Employees are looking for financial stability and jobs that will value them, so show them from the start that you’re a company that walks the walk.
For the most part, financial incentive strategies are directed at the candidates themselves. Offering a hiring bonus is one of the simplest incentives, which many companies have decided to implement. Where possible, raising your pay rates to put you above your competitors is also a simple but effective strategy. Perks and “fun” incentives are all well and fine, but prospective employees really just want to be paid fairly and well, and they’re going to go where they feel most valued.
There’s also the possibility of using financial incentives with existing employees! Offering a referral bonus can be an effective way to get current employees to use their network to help expand your staff. Just be sure to set up the referral incentive structure to reward quality referrals.
Get Innovative with Advertising
Advertising open positions on job boards and dedicated job-seeking sites is a tried-and-true strategy, but you also may be missing out on potential candidates by only using those resources. Utilizing social media can help your job postings reach more people, whether that’s job seekers themselves or someone who knows a job seeker who might be a great fit. There’s also the classic option of in-person advertising, such as banners and flyers located strategically in your area.
Another option is to partner with schools or even a shelter to recruit from their talent pool and give opportunities to their populations. For franchises in particular, this can be a great opportunity to build bonds within the community and gain a reputation as a true local employer. You might be surprised by the hidden talent you find in these less expected places!
Help Employees Overcome Challenges
Building a long-term staffing strategy requires looking at all aspects of an employee’s experience and addressing all the factors that might influence their decisions. A broader, problem-solving approach may help set your franchise apart. Effectively, this approach is about figuring out what barriers are preventing employees from taking a job with your franchise, then addressing those issues proactively.
For instance, you may find yourself with otherwise excellent candidates who struggle with reliable transportation due to cost, location, or other factors. Instead of writing them off, see if you can build a transportation allowance into their offer package. If they’re struggling with scheduling issues like childcare, see if you can negotiate either a hybrid/remote work option or offer paid time off after a certain number of days or hours worked. Show prospective and current employees that you care about making it work, and your reputation will help attract top talent.
Every franchise, like every other business, is always looking for the very best when it comes to hiring. That can still be true, but that “best” should be realistic. If you’re struggling with staffing in the current market, it may be time to reevaluate your job requirements and descriptions. Which requirements are actually necessary for the job, and which are just “wish list” items? By holding out for the “perfect” candidate, you could be missing out on some very good candidates who either self-select out because of the job description or who you reject in hopes of finding someone “better.”
Instead, as Entrepreneur writes, “Hire for fit. Train for skills.” Aside from highly specialized and technical work, it’s perfectly reasonable to hire someone who has most but not all of the skills you want and train them on the job. Focus on how well they fit with your franchise and with the role you need them to fill – and that means interpersonal skills too. Investing in your employees and in building a positive workplace culture can have long-term benefits for your franchise.
About the Author
Nancy Estep-Critchett is a founding Partner of Blue Rock Search, with oversight of the Franchise Practice. She has 30 years of successful working experience as a business advisor and executive recruiter in the franchising space. Nancy has built solid relationships which have spanned decades with industry professionals and internationally recognized brands.