We are in a time of unprecedented change. There is no simple guidebook on what to do next. Even the most dedicated Franchise Home Office Teams and Franchise Business Coaches (FBCs) are wondering how to keep supporting franchisees. The first priority is to respond and be there to help franchisees as they are coping with changes in their stores or regions or complying with new regulations such as going delivery and take-out only. There are also some things that you can do to help ease concerns:
Check In More
As human beings, we are social by nature. Increase number of one-on-one video or phone check-ins with franchisees to increase morale. Even if they have temporarily closed down their location, or have changed their operations, checking in will help them feel motivated, and part of an extended group.
Build Chat Communities
In a time of social isolation, connecting in the digital space can be a welcome substitute. Create a chat community with your franchisees, region or training group using Slack or Facebook Groups. This helps strengthen connections, and some franchisors pursuing this find that the franchisees may already have an informal one. While you can chat about business, you can also take a break and chat about your families, share pictures, humor, or even share heartwarming stories of people coming together. This also helps facilitate franchisees supporting each other.
When we are afraid, it is easy to get tunnel vision but sometimes opening up a bit can help you in supporting franchisees. Get creative on keeping spirits up. Some are trying to instill a sense of camaraderie, such as setting up virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours, where people share a cocktail on Skype or Slack. It may feel a little weird, but everyone feeling weird together can be a way to bond.
Provide the right tools
In a time where it may not be possible to send FBCs on field visits, creating self-assessments or polls with images and videos can help franchisees be prepared. Please see our COVID-19 post for more information.