The core of a successful franchise network is a strong training program. The more thorough and effective your training, the better you’re able to set your franchisees up for success.
A training program must provide franchisees all the information they need to help their managers and staff effectively perform their roles, as well as facilitate ongoing improvement and development. This type of comprehensive training program has many moving parts, but it will improve the quality of your franchise across the system.
Here are a few key elements to focus on as you develop your franchise training system:
- Start with the Manual
Your operations manual is the foundation of your business model, and it should be the foundation of your training program, as well. The manual contains information on everything from day-to-day procedures to big-picture brand vision and standards. It should serve as an ever-present resource for your franchisees throughout their training and once they are operating independently.
This means that your manual must be clear, thorough and grounded in best practices. When you make changes to products and procedures, make sure they are reflected in the manual. This ensures that your manual remains a relevant reference point for franchisees as your system grows.
- Support Franchisees
It’s important to create training that will guide franchisees through the entire process of launching a new location. However, training doesn’t end when they open the doors.
On-site training lets you help franchisees with the particulars after they’ve completed their off-site, corporate training. Set an agenda for this training, but be flexible, since the needs and experience level of each franchisee will differ. Sending an “opening team” to support franchisees during their first few days of operation will help them apply what they’ve learned.
Even after the location hits its stride, training for franchisees should continue. Make sure that franchisees and their teams have the necessary resources to continue learning and improving, like bi-annual refresher trainings and briefings on new products and procedures.
- Train the Trainers
Don’t assume that franchisees have the time and expertise to offer thorough, high-quality training for managers and staff – provide them with what they need. Webinars and online train-the-trainer learning programs are easy ways to make sure that franchisees have the resources to train their managers and staff. Solid managerial training builds value for all parties – turnover decreases while job skills and productivity increase.
- Don’t Forget About Corporate
Your training program should extend to your corporate employees, as well. Teaching everyone at your headquarters or corporate stores how to communicate effectively with franchisees will make for happier franchisees and fewer misunderstandings down the road.
Train your franchise development manager in basic operational information. That way, he or she will always be prepared to answer more technical questions from leads. Similarly, train your field consultants to quickly build trust with franchisees so they can act as helpful, trusted advisors.
- Better Too Much Training than Not Enough
When you grant a franchise, you are trusting that person with your brand and its reputation. As such, it’s better to over-train than under-train. The more extensive your franchisees’ training, the more capable and confident they will feel. They become better positioned for success.
- Keep It Fresh
If your training videos feature actors using fax machines and out-of-date slang, do yourself and your franchisees a favor and update your program.
If aspects of your training are outdated or out of touch, it reflects poorly on your brand. Let your training program be an area where your company constantly innovates and improves. Update written training material at least once a year to incorporate new products, best practices and company culture.
- Measure Success
Find points throughout the training process to test franchisees on what they’ve learned. This can include written and practical exams.
If a franchisee is showing a lack of competence or drive during training, that’s a red flag. Give your trainers the authority to evaluate and review franchisees in light of their performance during training.
Provide a similar framework for franchisees to train and test their employees. These employees are likely face-to-face with customers, so ensuring that they are as knowledgeable, if not more so, than their franchise owners is essential to delivering a consistent brand experience.
Likewise, give franchisees opportunities to measure your success. If your training system is lacking, the best way to find out is by asking. At the end of any training program, let participants offer anonymous feedback on what worked and what didn’t. Their insight will help you iron out the kinks and offer the best possible training throughout your network.
The experienced franchise management consultants at Winmark Franchise Partners can help your business design a training program that yields the best results. With 30 years of franchising experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing 1,200 locations for five brands, Winmark Franchise Partners is a trusted name in franchise consulting. For more information about how we can help you strengthen your brand, contact us here or at (844) 452-4600.