Communication is the key to brand consistency especially in the field. Many multi location companies have tried to figure out how to be more effective at communicating across their network and sometimes they overthink it. Going back to the basics is the first step in driving more effective communication.
Let’s start off with listening. Listening is the key to all of our relationships. Everyone needs to be able to understand what the other person is saying and where they are coming from. From a franchise standpoint, franchisors want to act as a unified unit and keep brands standards consistent across the board. Listening is at the heart of this. Franchisors need to listen to the franchisees when they visit their locations and understand their unique challenges. Franchisees need to listen to and understand that the franchisor has established standards that, if followed by all franchisees, strengthen the brand and their customers’ experiences. Communication is a two way street. Whether the communication is taking place face to face, on the phone or on email, each party involved must remain active and aware of each other. Joe Schumacher and Robin Posey point out some good communication strategies in this piece.
What is it You Want Them to Know?
The content of the communication is as important as it’s delivery. Staying up to date on current goals, branding, market conditions and changes in policy are key as well. It is very important for everyone to stay on the same page. Having mutual alignment of goals and giving the resources needed are key and the only way to get here is with communication and trust among the parties involved. Everyone is stretched for time so regional managers in charge of location performance should ensure that they are communicating consistent, measurable and specific directives. Subjectivity is the enemy in field management. Managers and franchisees need to make sure they understand what is being asked and offered and they need to actively engage their field managers and liaisons in productive, specific dialogue.
Call out the Positives!
Just like it is very important to point out the negatives in order to keep standards up to date it is just as or even more important to call out the positives. Making people feel important is key in keeping employees engaged. Everyone wants to know that what they are doing for you is being noticed and is being appreciated. How do you point out the positives? Well that’s the easy part. It can be done verbally, pointing out an employee publicly who has had a successful month in sales makes them feel important and to keep working just as hard. It can be done in a written form, in which a hand written note/ an email is sent to acknowledge the good that is going on. Another good source of positive reinforcement are rewards that align with goals. A reward can be anything from money incentives to a silly trophy that someone can keep for the month. Not only does positivity work to make employees feel important but it also has the ability to increase productivity and the morale of individuals or departments. Chris Joseph goes more in-depth on positive reinforcement in this thoughtful piece..