The responsibilities and daily tasks of an HR manager can be daunting even in a single-branch company. From continuously serving as the mediator between the employees and the C-level people, all the way to daily meetings and hiring improvements, any HR expert knows that it’s a multilayered role. Yet, this role becomes all the more complex when you are dealing with a franchise. Even with all the corporate training and expertise, there is always something new to learn when adapting a new branch in the brand family.
While there is no single HR recipe for every business out there, the following best practices are some of those timeless ways in which you can improve your franchise structure and day-to-day operations.
Coordinate with corporate
First things first, an HR manager working in a franchise is no longer just a communications bridge for employees and managers, but also a liaison for the franchise and the overarching brand corporation. There already exists a business structure that has been successfully implemented in a range of franchises which needs to be followed in your situation as well.
Compliance is vital when it comes to starting a new franchise, especially for hiring new staff, monitoring their performance, and reaching expected goals. You can and should use the tried and tested administrative processes for employee management, but you should also be able to point out to any mismatches between that particular franchise and the corporate system – after all, every franchise is an independent business, and should use the freedom to adapt existing practices to suit their needs.
Streamline with tech
Working as a part of such a complex system can often be stressful, but even more importantly, prone to human error. While you’re not expected to be flawless and there is a learning curve when juggling so many balls, there are ways to use cutting-edge HR software solutions that are meant to streamline the entire process in a secure, speedy way.
This is especially practical for businesses that count dozens, if not hundreds of employees scattered across various countries. Keeping track of all relevant documentation, employee complaints, feedback, sick days, and leaves of absence can be overwhelming if you don’t rely on modern solutions meant for such vast organizations.
Connect with other franchisees
As an expert in the field of human resources, it’s vital for you to understand and implement the best practices recognized and approved by the corporation. Handbooks and guidelines aside, even if you know what the best franchises to open are, and you know how to attract the right employees to join their ranks, getting in touch with existing successful franchises can help you learn about their challenges as well as their strongest points.
The more experienced managers can share some of their growing pains, strategies they’ve used to overcome them, and best practices when it comes to employees that aren’t outlined in the given corporate handbooks. This single step can save you plenty of HR troubles down the road, as you can prevent many of them from occurring with the right information at your disposal.
Educate on the existing policies
One of your key tasks is to create and provide a shared policy handbook with all the legal obligations and brand guidelines. Considering the fact that every modern business nowadays also has a digital presence, these policies shouldn’t just include details that focus on internal behaviors, but also on how your employees communicate the brand outside of the office. That includes social media as well as other digital outlets.
They need actionable advice to know how to embody brand values inside the workplace, but also how to stay in line with corporate policies. This applies to both the franchisee and the employees that work in that particular branch, in order to ensure brand consistency.
Refine your hiring process
Even though a franchise is only one piece of the corporate puzzle, it behaves as a separate entity that needs to justify its existence. One significant portion of that means bringing in employees that match the existing culture and have adequate qualifications and potential to perform their duties. This will lead to increased employee retention rates, which will, in turn, strengthen the brand image in the eyes of the employees as well as the public.
Transparency in terms of expected wages, health benefits, time off, and other perks helps establish trust with potential employees. However, you also need to make sure that you can eliminate subpar candidates, so refining your screening process can help in selecting the best people for the job.
Embrace regular feedback
No matter how far down the ladder a certain employee might be, their input can be of great value when the time comes to reevaluate your policies and workplace practices. The very act of seeking feedback from your employees is a step forward in maintaining loyalty and trust, but in order to close the circle, you also need to find a way to act on the given information.
As you have an overseeing corporate body whose approval is necessary to make any major changes, the least you can do is acknowledge an issue, run it by other employees to see how prevalent it may be, and build up your case before you hand it to the management. Even if not every suggestion gets accepted, employees should know they are heard and valued under your wing.
It may be a daunting task to work as the HR of a franchise, but with the help of these methods, you can help build a successful company branch dedicated to its core purpose. What matters most is to embrace the learning curve of this complex job, and do your best to help those around you thrive.
Victor T. Miller, a Sydney-based business and marketing specialist who has expanded businesses over 5 years. I am a person who loves to inform people about the latest news in the industry also as sharing tips and advice based on my professional experience and knowledge.