What kind of business do you want to run? One where employees clock in and out and fill the hours in between with minimal effort? Or a space that your staff considers their second home, where customers always marvel at how much fun everyone is having?
Defining company culture puts the power of shaping your company into your own hands. Culture is important for any business, but given that you buy into an existing company culture when you invest in a franchise, it’s important for you to understand what you’re getting into.
Each Franchise Has a Unique Culture
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies encourages franchisees and employees to wear flip flops and Hawaiian shirts, emanating a laid-back culture. Hooters, with its tight shirts and short skirts, provides a sense of accessible guilty pleasure. Every franchise has its own culture, and that culture permeates down to customer experience.
If you’re in the shopping stage of buying a franchise, spend some time in other locations to get a sense of that culture. Do employees embrace it fully, or do they seem forced to shout out a greeting when you walk in? What appeals to you?
Keep in mind that embracing much of a franchise’s culture will be required when you sign your franchise agreement. For branding’s sake, the franchisor wants to ensure that the ethos it has created is spread across each and every franchise location. There will be little deviation from that culture, so make sure to pick one you can embrace.
Spreading That Culture
Once you are up and running, it will be your job as the franchisee to spread that franchise culture to your team. Your franchisor will have some guidelines and suggestions on how to do that, but you can find your own innovative ways as well.
Start with the franchise’s mission statement. It will likely be front and center in your franchise paperwork, so study it, understand it, then pass it on. You’ll need to refer back to it again and again, so build team-building activities around it.
The hiring process is your next opportunity to ensure that you bring on employees who embody the characteristics that support the company culture you’re working to cultivate. If you are hiring for your high-end retail franchise, you will look for different qualities than you would if you were hiring for a fast food franchise. What would make a good employee? What kind of people do you want at your franchise?
Then, once you’ve hired help, incorporate communicating that culture in your employee training. This is your opportunity to explain the franchise’s mission statement and elaborate on how employees can embody the corporate culture of the brand.
Developing Your Franchise’s Subculture
Just because the franchisor has a specific company culture doesn’t mean you can’t have your own subculture specific to your location. Maybe you celebrate the start of the weekend by buying pizza for your staff on Friday evenings. Or you encourage everyone to wear festive clothes during the holidays. You have the ability to make working for your franchise a joy, not a slog. It just takes the right company culture.