This week's guest post is by Sarah Kulbatski, professional franchise consultant.
The successful execution of the most brilliant franchise concept depends largely on one key initiative: training the daylights out of everyone in the system. Designing critical elements of training before you sell franchises is essential if your franchisees are to succeed. Not only will effective training contribute to your brand’s quality and consistency, prospective franchisees are impressed when they see you’ve committed to robust training throughout the organization.
Training is about equipping your franchisees with skills for success, and if it's done right, your franchisees will be motivated to work harder and learn more. Franchisors need to construct and present quality training to their franchisees, because often quantity takes the place of quality when it comes to franchisee training. Since franchisees can only retain a certain amount of information from a training session, franchisor training should focus on the most important and critical components of the franchise operations.
Effective training includes: unambiguous focus, high quality training materials, a variety of resources and franchisee feedback. By involving franchisees in the training process, by asking their opinions and ideas, the franchisor will know what franchisees need to learn and how what they learn would improve their performance.
Ingredients for a Successful Training Program
The components of a successful franchise training program include:
- Teaching the critical elements and components of how to operate the franchise. This should include ample time for Q&A and discussion.
- Ensuring the franchise operations manual and the training curriculum complement each other.
- Making sure franchisor trainers are experienced, knowledgeable and credible.
- Giving simulated and/or on-site location training to impart ‘real world’ experience. The training should be long enough to provide sufficient time to learn the necessary business methods and requirements, while avoiding information overload.
- Measuring trainee comprehension to insure that franchisees understand and learn what is being taught. This could consist of follow up discussions and/or testing at end of each training session.
- Utilizing role playing when appropriate.
Franchisee training must be carefully designed, constructed and presented in order to maximize the learning experience of new franchisees. Training results should be measured so that enhancements can be made when needed. Franchisors should utilize an individual with proven training skills to administer the training program. Using an existing staff member who doesn’t possess the required training tools may prove costly in the long term.
As you refine your system, alter policies, add new products and services, and find more productive and profitable methods for unit operation, you’ll need to revise manuals, franchisee, unit manager and employee training, and reshoot videos. Manuals should be revisited at a minimum of once a year. Thankfully, you’ll have started with a model for manuals that is sectioned and numbered so that pages are easily replaced! Revisit videos every 2-3 years. The better you are at continuously improving your business, the more you’ll need to update your manuals and training.