Franchisee Training isn’t Employee Training
Franchisee training is an important part of the franchise relationship. In fact, franchisors are required to articulate their training obligations in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). In a practical sense, training supports the core mission of a franchisor by helping them impart their vision and operational experience to the new franchisee. A strong franchise training program will go a long way towards supporting your brand’s culture and desired customer experience.
In this article, we will examine key differences between franchisee training and employee training. We’ll also identify four key training opportunities available to franchisors. Finally, we’ll review the most important LMS features that all franchisors should consider prior to buying a Learning Management System.
Key Differences between Franchisee and Employee Training
Employee training in most organizations is an ongoing effort. While there may be peak activity for on boarding a group of new employees or for special events throughout the year, the training load tends to be fairly consistent over time.
Franchise training requires tremendous up-front training effort every time a new location is sold. The franchisee employees will include people in a variety of positions with a wide range of professional experience. Anything which improves this process will lead to reduced costs and smoother openings.
Different Requirements for Corporate Owned vs. Franchisee Stores
There has been considerable concern among franchisors around the issue of joint-employer status. Prevailing wisdom suggests that certain training, such as compliance training, be left to the individual franchisee to avoid the suggestion of franchisor authority over franchisee employees. On the other hand, Franchisors are responsible for compliance training for the stores that they own. This situation demands a solution which can easily provide different types of training to different types of learners.
Entry Level Employees
Many Franchise businesses, especially in the quick service restaurant industry, rely on younger, inexperienced employees. It is not uncommon to average 75% annual turnover. Automated training is critical. Often traditional training tools such as long classroom sessions or operations manuals do not serve their learning style. Obviously, traditional employers also benefit from a modern learning management system, but franchisors will especially realize the value of distributing self-service training that can be specifically targeted to their unique mix of employees.
Training as Part of the Value Proposition
Training is a required component of the FDD because it is an obligation of the franchisor. Providing a thorough and attractive training solution will be viewed by potential buyers as an important part of your value proposition. An investment in training will help insure the franchisee’s success in the future, but it will also demonstrate your upfront commitment to your franchisee’s success.
Four Franchise Training Opportunities
A franchise store opening can be broadly categorized into several steps. Each step presents an opportunity to provide training to the franchise owner and employees.
“Before buying a franchise, you should obtain and review the operating manual.”
- Ohio State Bar Association
The first step, in many training programs, is to create the necessary documentation that memorializes operational standards, policies, and recommended best practices. These manuals may include a start-up manual which assists with site location, staffing recommendations, and other pre-opening activities. Most organizations offer an operations manual, sometimes called the Franchisee Manual, to cover store operations, requirements, standards, policies, procedures, staffing recommendations, etc.
Opportunity #1 - Pre-Sales
Prior to signing the contract, the potential franchise owner gives careful consideration to the investment that he or she is about to make. Offering training materials that help the buyer understand the value of your franchise and conditions of your FDD will benefit the potential buyer, underscore your commitment to their success, and help you and the buyer understand if the franchise will benefit both parties. Online resources can allow franchisors to provide this training with no operational cost after the content has been developed.
Opportunity #2 – Pre-Opening
Pre-Opening training comes after signing the contract, but before the franchise business is operational. This training makes certain that the new owner is given all the tools necessary to start a successful franchise. Since this training is generally outlined in the FDD, it is critical to maintain training records. Should there ever be a legal dispute, you’ll want to be able to clearly demonstrate what training was provided and when it was completed.
Opportunity #3 – Opening
In the case of a brick and mortar business, a store opening usually requires an on-site training team to help the new owner prepare for and execute a successful opening. This process can be simplified and the time onsite can be reduced by requiring online courses and online Instructor Led Training (via integrated webinar support) prior to the site visit itself. Once again, documenting all training activities is crucial in demonstrating that you’ve fulfilled your stated training commitment to the new owner.
Opportunity #4 – Ongoing Training
Once a store is up and running, there will be an ongoing need for owner, manager, and employee training. Changes to the operations manual need to be documented. Redlined versions of the document must be distributed and reviewed by owners. New employees must be trained in the products and services offered by the brand. The value proposition for new products need to be clearly communicated to all employees. Given the size and scope of many Franchise operations, being able to automate this process is necessary to ensure consistent training is available to managers and employees of the franchise.
“One of the most common forms of microlearning that Millennials have grown up with are videos. Short, low-cost videos can quickly explain a process, product, or procedure.”
- Association for Talent Development
LMS Features for Franchisors
A modern Learning Management System offers many advantages to Franchisors.
- Reduced travel expenses
- Reduced travel burden on trainers
- Improved training consistency
- Reusable training content
- Detailed training records
The Accord LMS offers all of the features that are of particular interest to Franchisors who wish to reduce their training costs while improving their franchisee training. Please consider the following features carefully when making the decision to enhance your current franchisee training program.
Teams and Learning Roles
The Accord LMS is capable of quickly creating new teams of learners and automating their training assignments. This allows a franchisor to quickly add a new store to their LMS and populate the store’s team with learners. Based on their profile data, each learner will have one or more learning roles automatically assigned that will assign training according to your training plan. Once your training plan is in place, it can be easily deployed for each new franchise.
You’ll need an e-learning system that accommodates your growth at a price that makes sense. Accord’s pricing model is fair, affordable, and flexible. 1000 active learners cost only 75 cents per user per month.
The Accord LMS automates repetitive Learning Management tasks. Once you’ve articulated your training plan, Accord will create assignments, apply due dates, expire training, renew recurring training, send reminders, deliver reports, and more. Automation allows for better consistency with less administrative maintenance.
Mobile Friendly Training
Most experts agree that mobile usage is outpacing desktop computer usage. This is especially true with younger workers. Having an online learning platform that works flawlessly on mobile devices is no longer an option. The Accord LMS’s fully responsive design is perfect no matter what device is being used to view your training content.
Local Administrators can oversee training for a single store or a group of related stores. A local manager could monitor employee compliance with franchisor assigned training or a multi-store owner could monitor each of her own stores. Local Administrators will only be able to see stores and employees assigned to them.
Franchisees will have their own training requirements over and above the training provided by the franchisor. Accord can allow local administrators to augment franchisor training with their own local employee compliance training. The franchisees essentially have access to their own private LMS as a benefit of the Accord LMS enterprise features.
Diverse Training Content
The Accord LMS supports SCORM training content in addition to Instructor Led Training, video demonstrations, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, PDF files, webinars, quizzes, surveys, or nearly any web content. With Accord’s built-in course assembler, you can build your own courses using a wide variety of content types.
Assessment and Survey Authoring
Accord’s built-in authoring tool gives you the functionality to create assessments and surveys to evaluate each learner’s training comprehension and satisfaction. Surveys can also be used as an independent tool to conduct research throughout the franchise.
The Accord LMS can track every interaction a learner has with managed content in the system. Administrators with appropriate permissions can view report results in a dynamic on-screen report viewer. The report viewer allows admins to quickly categorize, organize, and filter the data to find the exact information they need. Custom report definitions can automatically distribute reports to interested stakeholders via email. Finally, franchise LMS admins can export all report data to an external data system if necessary.
The Accord LMS includes a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that will reflect your brand. Franchisors who support multiple brands can create sub-portals which reflect the look and feel of each individual brand while still sharing data and content with the primary LMS portal.
Franchisee training presents its own unique challenges and opportunities. Training is an intrinsic part of the business relationship and an important franchisor obligation. Before purchasing a Learning Management System for your franchise, you’ll want to make sure that the LMS easily supports all the training requirements of your distributed franchised business. Unlike many of our competitors, the Accord LMS was built from the ground up to support multi-store extended enterprise training environments.
Please contact our sales team to see how the Accord LMS can accommodate your franchise training needs.