The largest global gathering of franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers came together in late February at the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) annual conference, IFA 2022 in San Diego, CA. Over four days, attendees participated in a wide range of educational and networking opportunities, from understanding common mistakes made during international expansions to how data can revolutionize marketing.
I facilitated two separate roundtable sessions during IFA 2022. Each offered participants a forum to discuss and share the many ways they use technology to fix labor shortage issues. Participants ranged from small boutique brands, including a non-toxic nail salon, to C-suite executives from global multi-brand restaurant concepts. The perspectives varied but there were some common themes, no matter how large or small the enterprise. Here are my top takeaways from these discussions.
- Rely on hiring apps for greater efficiency. All attendees agreed the labor market is bleak. In fact, some global franchise systems are seeing as many 20,000 to 30,000 open positions at a given time. When tasked with filling these slots, jobsites and hiring platforms, like Indeed or CareerPlug, make the process far more efficient and effective for franchisees and owners of every stripe.
- Leverage data from the job sites and apps to constantly improve your postings. One franchisee explained that when they post job ads, they often change the colors, position description or fonts in subsequent posts, then assess metrics related to how long a candidate looks at the various versions. On average, according to one study, people spend only 14.6 seconds looking at a low priority ad. If you can get them to linger longer by tweaking the ad elements, you’ll have a better chance of success when it comes to finding the right applicants and filling positions.
- Carry pocket cards. With the widespread use of QR codes, one franchisor explained that he has a set of business cards printed with QR Codes that link to a list of current openings. Whenever he comes across someone who possesses the qualities he values in an employee, such as being friendly and articulate, he hands them a card, tells them he’s hiring and encourages them to apply.
Some Non-techy Tips
While our roundtable sessions focused on technology discussions, there were still some helpful non-tech tips offered up by participants, including:
- Align hiring processes and expectations. We spent time talking about the real differences between hiring skilled vs. unskilled labor. A common frustration is that many candidates don’t or won’t take the time to fill out lengthy job applications. Knowing this, a franchisee hiring for a licensed position, such as a massage therapist or auto mechanic, may choose to streamline their application process -- making it shorter and less of an obstacle. Similarly, some noted they have also reduced qualifications; for instance, requiring a license, but foregoing a specific number of years of experience.
- Make the job sound sexier. No matter the role or position, franchisees urged one another to spice up their job titles – even for positions being paid $10-$15 an hour. For example, rather than Front Desk Help, perhaps the role is renamed, “Customer Concierge.”
- Pay a referral fee to employees. Everyone agreed that employee referrals can be highly successful, though there was wide disparity regarding the size of the fee itself. (One attendee advocated for a $5,000 payment!) In general, however, most thought paying $500 as a referral fee after the new employee reaches the 60 to 90 day mark seems reasonable.
- Develop a talent pipeline. When hiring within licensed trades, one recommendation was to develop a relationship with a variety of local vocational schools. Franchisees can then establish internship and training programs and have direct access to new graduates.
Clearly, the franchise community is eager to be creative and collaborative as it continues to overcome the residual effects of the pandemic. To learn more about how Hughes can help you navigate the unique franchisor/franchisee relationship and offer a consistent branded experience, click here.