Keeping Younger Generations Engaged in a Franchise Business

If you haven’t already noticed in your hiring, the cultural mores of your franchise employees are about to shift. With over 65 million Baby Boomers reaching or surpassing the age of retirement, Generation X barely a blip in the generational arc, late-blooming Millennial employees suddenly find themselves as the workforce of the future.

However, in growing franchise businesses that don’t properly engage younger generations, managers can find themselves faced with high turnover, absent employees, or younger employees who will jump ship to a different business simply for a buck or two or better workplace perks.

However, there are best practices you can employ to help you understand the dynamics of how to hire the right younger workers, understand their cultural identity and goals, and more effectively engage your team. Here are some places to start.

1. Understand that Millennials think and behave differently than older generations, and that’s ok.

They get married later and rent instead of buying, for example. More importantly, they want flexible work hours and demand not only transparency in understanding a company’s overall strategy but also real engagement that offers them the chance to learn and grow.

2. Get to know all of your employees.

This means getting to know and understand their goals, how they define success as well as pain points that can be addressed and fixed. When you show an interest in these real human beings that are working to create more success for your franchise, it makes a difference.
 
A millennial woman on her phone.

3. Don’t fear technology or the different ways that Millennials socialize.

Millennials spend a lot of time on their smartphones because it’s the way they engage with the world, their friends, and the larger society around them. The way they interact online is interwoven with lifestyle content and connections to their friends and family. You can use this form of socialization to your advantage by using collaborative training tools, social media, interactive work boards, and communications tools like Slack to foster a team environment.

4. Adapt the work environment to be more flexible.

We know that franchise operations work because they’ve been field-tested to create success and avoid landmines. However, Millennials prefer organizations with flexible and creative work environments where they can learn and grow. The degree to which this may be possible in a franchise business may vary but it’s still something to keep in mind if you want to keep your future employees and increase employee retention.

5. Explain the big picture.

Millennials are demanding transparency from their employers so it’s important to invest the time in explaining why they’re doing the work that they are doing, how it fits into the company’s business strategy, and how they’re making a difference. Even the most arbitrary tasks in a franchise operation have meaning, purpose and value but without context, those messages can get lost in the day-to-day work of keeping the franchise going.
 
A manager discussing work around a table with millennial employees.

6. Hire managers who are cool with the way Millennials behave.

Whatever the compositor or culture of your workforce turns out to be, it needs to have managers who understand and can engage with Millennial Employees. Managers with short tempers, rigid working styles and a tendency to micromanage are just going to repulse younger generations, who right now have plenty of options as to where they can go to work and get better management, as well as improved employee development.

Employees are a vital part of any franchise and one of its greatest assets. The more you can engage Millennial employees, understand and foster their work culture, ask for feedback and generate enthusiasm, the better your business will be.

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