Multi-location franchise ownership is on the rise, with multi-location operators now controlling 54% of all franchise units. And when you buy multiple franchises, you typically sign a multi-unit franchise agreement, which includes estimated dates for when you’ll have each location up and running – such as the first location within six months and the second within a year.
With countless to-do’s leading up to the opening of each franchise location in the agreed-upon timeline, one of the most important parts of your business plan should be your hiring strategy. Your employees are critical to the long-term success of your franchise, so the last thing you want to do is scramble in the weeks leading up to opening day trying to staff the location.
Whether you already own a multi-location franchise, or are considering buying one, follow these tips to hire your best team for each new location.
Use a Repeatable Hiring Process
As the owner of several franchise locations, you’ll save time and money, and increase your likelihood of hiring quality candidates, by implementing a repeatable hiring process across each of your franchise locations. Use an applicant tracking system to keep candidates moving through the hiring process quickly. As part of your hiring process, you should make it a priority to regularly review applicants and move quality applicants to the candidate phase. Across Hireology customers using our integrated process, 70 percent of new hires are reviewed within 12 hours of submitting an application.
A hiring process also helps you complete every key step along the way. While you might be eager to make hires quickly, overlooking steps such as multiple interviews, skills tests, and background and reference checks, poses a risk for overlooking top candidates or making a bad hire. Using the same process each time you hire a new employee will ultimately help you speed up the time to hire and hire the best candidates, while saving you time and money. And as a multi-unit franchise owner, this ensures you aren’t building a new hiring process from square one each time you open another location.
Host a Job Fair
For each new location, you’re likely to have dozens of open positions. What better way to get to know interested applicants than by hosting a job fair? If you plan to open a new location within a reasonable distance of a current location, consider hosting the job fair at a fully-operating location, so applicants can get a feel for how your business runs and the company culture.
A job fair helps you attract engaged applicants. If prospective employees are willing to put in the time to visit your business – rather than simply applying online – they’re likely very interested in your open positions. A job fair also offers you the benefit of getting to know applicants in a casual setting before the official interview phase, which can help you pinpoint quality applicants you’ll want to invite back for an interview. Before hosting a job fair, pull together key message to highlight the benefits of working for your company and when you meet strong candidates, make your interest clear. Also have a follow-up plan in place so you can move strong candidates through the hiring process quickly – and have your franchise location fully staffed before opening day.
Implement a Referral Program
Once you have at least one location up and running, your employees can serve as a top resource for referring new candidates – either for the same location or another location where you have openings. Encourage your employees to reach out to individuals in their networks directly who they know might be qualified and interested, or share links to open positions on social media. To get current employees excited about recommending qualified friends, family and former colleagues, also consider offering incentives for referrals.
Incentive offers can vary depending on your business needs and the specific position – and can include a cash bonus, gift card, extra vacation days or other incentives that might interest your employees. When encouraging referrals, always emphasize the importance of quality over quantity – your franchise location will be much better off with a handful of qualified candidates rather than a long list of referred applicants who aren’t the right fit.
Train Employees Ahead of Launch
After you’ve hired your team for a new franchise location, you’ll need to set them up for success ahead of opening day. In many cases, franchisors provide comprehensive training resources to their franchisees, but in others you might need to build training resources on your own. Either way, once you have your training materials in place, a great option for ensuring employees are prepared is by completing dry runs in the weeks leading up to launch. During this time, you can ensure employees understand their roles and responsibilities and feel confident in their abilities before opening your doors to the public. Once you have an effective training process in place at your first franchise location, repeat the process both for new locations and any new employees you hire across locations.
Multi-location franchise ownership is exciting, and at times, overwhelming. Your people are one of your most important assets and using a proven, repeatable hiring process to hire quality employees can put you well on your way to success each time you open a new franchise location.
Learn more about staffing up your franchise location by downloading our eBook.