Do you want to be a continuous learning franchise? Doing so isn’t natural or organic – it is something to be created and can go against your instincts. Newton’s first law of motion tends to be true in franchising organization – an object that is set in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an external source.
But, if you are committed to serving your community with your franchise, whether it be through ice cream for families or staffing needs for HR professionals, continuous learning will serve you.
Henry Ford said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether they at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Building a continuous learning organization also helps you stay competitive in this fast-changing world.
For example, mobile has come up very recently and marketing professionals know that more people now access the web through a mobile device than a traditional desktop, and young people are doing away with e-mail altogether, using just a phone number instead. Dealing with this shift takes the ability to build on what you have, while adapting it for the modern world.
What is a learning organization?
A learning culture was defined as “a set of organizational values, conventions, processes, and practices that encourage individuals—and the organization as a whole—to increase knowledge, competence, and performance” by a contributor to Oracle. When learning is a habit, workers are constantly upping their games in terms of learning, skills and performance.
The benefits are staggering. According to Pinnacle a learning organization has the following benefits:
- Increases efficiency, productivity, and profit
- Improves employee morale
- Decreases turnover and boosts employee satisfaction
- Promotes a sense of ownership and accountability
- Helps workers adapt to change
- Eases transitions
Einstein said “once you stop learning you start dying” – so, if you want your business to thrive, start now! How can you transform into a continuous learning franchise?
1. Develop Information Sharing Processes
At the heart of the continuous learning experience is to lean through experience. So – having information sharing processes such as the following can be very helpful:
- Wikis where people can share learnings.
- Learning Management System (LMS) such as SmarterU to help continuously roll out education programs to your franchisees.
- Internal Vimeo library where you can share your video resources.
- Social media group through Facebook or LinkedIn.
Your organization can complement these technological tools with connections. The annual conference is of course a fantastic way for you to spotlight up and coming initiatives, along with a regular webinar program. According to INC, strategic sharing sessions take one training initiative, and spread it across the team. According to the article:
“When an employee wanted to attend a training program outside the office, they had to complete a continuous education request form. Part of this form required them to present a business case explaining how the desired training aligned to the company’s overall mission and how it would enhance the employee’s ability to do their job.
In addition, they had to agree to schedule a sharing session with the rest of the company so that the knowledge they acquired didn’t reside only with them. This allowed the information to cascade through the company, and benefit everyone.”
2. Shine the Spotlight on Learning
Learning paths developed by Human Resources are a great way to emphasize learning. Additionally, offering formal training beyond what happens when you are onboarding franchisees is a fantastic way to keep your training fresh.
You can also share the success that works within the franchising environment. According to INC, sharing learnings on projects are fantastic:
“Each quarter, we selected a project team to present on a recently completed project. They had full creative license to present however they chose. Not only did this educate the rest of the company on our skill sets and achievements, it empowered the project managers to look for similar opportunities in their own customer environments.”
In franchising, this could be shining the spotlight on franchisees who have added a new location, or a new service such as off-premise by allowing them to do a webinar, or creating a “step-by-step” manual on how other franchisees can follow suit. Others will be inspired to make it their own, or franchisees will get curious and try something else that will build on the profitability of their business.
3. Recruit Franchisees Who Love to Learn
Our last recommendation is to recruit those who are curious. In franchising, you quickly learn that it is all about having those motivated and energized people as franchisees. Having those who are committed to ongoing education is even better. I have personally witnessed franchisees who were over 70-years-old still taking books worth of notes at the annual convention. If you recruit people who are committed to lifelong learning, creating a learning organization will be that much easier.
The Learning Network Effect
Committing to learning is one of those initiatives that touches everyone in your organization, and the effects can stretch to your customers and suppliers as well. While being a continuous learning organization can go against momentum, it will create a competitive advantage that is uniquely yours.