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The Five Most Important Rules of Employee Engagement

Advice from real franchisees who have reaped the benefits of happy employees.

By Nick Powills1851 Franchise Publisher
SPONSORED 2:14PM 01/19/17

Thriving business owners credit many things to their success, but there’s one factor that far outweighs the others: the staff. An establishment could crumble without a well-operated and committed group of employees, but what needs to be done to ensure that commitment? We spoke with a few franchisees to learn best practices to boost motivation.

Jennifer Leonard, a multi-unit Your Pie owner who has written a handbook on employee engagement, insists the process starts at the beginning with hiring the right talent.

“The first 12 months are the most important when determining whether an employee will be successful,” says Leonard. “We want them to stay as long as possible, so defining expectations and culture up front are key.”

This, according to Leonard, goes hand in hand with teaching an employee about the people currently working on the team and what the pulse of the store is to ensure it will be a good fit; how someone experiences the process determines whether they’re engaged.

Once the new employee is in place, Leonard says to outline what success looks like (and celebrate it). It’s vital to make sure people understand the mission of the business as well as their value to obtaining that. “I like to lay out mini goals and then evaluate, because it gives great markers of accomplishment and an opportunity to celebrate them,” she says.

In addition to motivating through outlined success, Smoothie King franchisee Dave Cotron, Jr. likes to reward his staff with prizes.

“I think positive reinforcement goes a long way,” says Cotron. “I love to build little incentive programs and purposely buy products that I know would be a great payout for my team.”

Cotron doles out incentives daily to encourage his team to perform at their highest levels. Monetary prizes and fun gifts are given for anything—from boosting up-sales to receiving positive guest surveys.

Cotron’s rewards aren’t always monetary, though. Sometimes they come in the form of acknowledgment, a practice that comes along with his next tip: be honest and understanding.

“Being honest and consistent about expectations sends the right message to employees,” he says. “And when expectations fall short, it’s constructive and loving criticism that will hopefully fuel motivation.”

The last rule of engagement is a simple one agreed upon by both Leonard and Cotron: Care about your employees.

“It’s the easiest, most obvious thing in the world,” says Cotron. “Caring doesn’t mean enabling, but it doesn’t mean being a hard-ass either.”

Running a business requires a lot of hard work, and the employees play no small part in that. According to these successful franchisees, the best practices include recognizing what your team deserves and calling out achievements, working together with honesty and learning to understand what motivates them.