Building a Workplace Community for Your Franchise
Wisetail | 4 min read
Every business has a culture. Creating and maintaining a positive, healthy working environment takes planning and engagement on the part of leadership. Franchise company culture combines corporate, brand, and individual location concerns, so it’s essential for franchise leaders to remain conscious of potential complexity when developing a workplace community.
Culture, the quality that gives any organization its self-identity, is just as important in a local franchise as it is in any other business. Culture encompasses the values, behaviors, policies, and interactions employees expect to experience during their workday. It supports and promotes the purpose and direction of your business, and creates a cohesive team.
Growing franchises share a few challenges when creating and curating their culture. Franchise networks are composed of individual owners, and members are not always nearby or well-connected. Franchises differ from other businesses in their need to reflect the corporate brand while simultaneously reflecting the needs of their employees in individual locations. It’s a balancing act that can be difficult to navigate.
But a healthy work culture is crucial to success. Clearly defined, positive work communities create a common purpose among disparate personalities and allow your employees to work in, and from, a well-developed common ground. Community culture builds a sense of unity and keeps employees on the same page as your franchise moves through the various stages of success. And of course, a positive work culture improves performance, motivates and engages employees, lowers attrition, and builds your reputation among job seekers as a desirable place to work — all critical components of a successful business.
Follow the Leader
Workplace communities involve every employee, but they begin with leadership — and engaging, personable leaders set the tone for success. Good leaders possess the skills they need to build community in the workplace — skills that can be learned, developed, and improved over time. Community oriented leaders:
- Express genuine interest in their team members. Good leaders show authentic interest in the well-being of those around them. They ask questions and are attentive to answers. They practice active listening and provide honest and relevant feedback.
- Demonstrate inclusiveness. Engaging leaders are aware of their speech and conversational habits. They understand the importance of being inclusive in both language and behavior, and they don’t alienate others with exclusionary actions.
- Maintain awareness of nonverbal cues. Body language speaks. Leaders stay conscious of nonverbal communication cues and can respond effectively when a team member’s body language conveys negative feelings, such as intimidation or disengagement.
- Practice intentional goodwill. People are acutely aware of insincerity when they encounter it. Understanding the importance of genuine goodwill toward the people they lead is a foundation of good leadership.
Create the Culture
So, can your franchises enjoy a successful work culture? With dedication and careful planning, it can. Franchises must create a culture that aligns with brand-essential goals while maintaining a personable and healthy community among their franchisees and their employees. To empower them in this endeavor, corporate considerations include:
- Prioritizing a positive workplace community. A healthy culture can only thrive with intent, direction, and leadership engagement — and it starts at the top.
- Demonstrating of your company’s core values. Authenticity is important to your workforce. Employees are aware of inconsistency and distrustful of leadership that isn’t consistently transparent and honest. Ensure your value messaging is easily accessible by franchise owners and their teams.
- Showing respect for all team members. Employees are essential for business success and maintaining a positive workplace community. Show them their efforts and input are appreciated at the local and corporate levels.
- Communicating frequently. Celebrate successes and communicate honestly about challenges at every level of your organization. Seek input and ideas from your employees. As your front line, their input is invaluable.
- Reinforcing your organization’s values and goals. Keep all your team members focused and working in the same direction by including community culture messaging in meetings, communications, and everyday work activities.
- Acknowledging employee value. Learning, training, development, and employee recognition opportunities engage employees and reward them for their dedication. Sponsor career development initiatives for team members at the corporate and local levels.
- Investing in community culture for the long term. Leadership should stay in tune with the efficacy of their workplace culture initiatives and ensure every team member is engaged and involved to the benefit of your employees, individual franchises, and your entire corporate community.
Building company culture is especially challenging when corporate and brand concerns share equal weight with your local franchise’s workplace community. A successful community culture relies on well-developed leadership, open communication, and ongoing employee engagement.
A comprehensive learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP) is the tool your company needs to build a knowledgeable, well-trained workforce, highly skilled leadership, and a positive workplace community empowered to drive every franchise’s success.