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The 5 Best Ways to Motivate Your Employees

With unemployment rates hovering at 4 percent or lower throughout much of 2018, it’s been difficult for employers to hire and retain good workers for hourly positions. The abundance of available hourly positions makes it easy for employees, especially younger ones, to hop from job to job. This is especially troublesome for franchise owners who often rely on younger hourly workers to staff their businesses and provide exceptional customer service.

For franchise owners, constantly having to hire and train new employees takes time away from running and improving your business, which makes employee retention paramount to your success. But retaining younger employees like Millennials and Gen Z-ers may require a different approach than older employees. As a franchise owner, providing them the right support and encouragement can be key to keeping them around. With that in mind, here are five low-cost (or no-cost) tips to help franchise business owners motivate and retain employees.

Start by Hiring the Right People

One of the best ways to keep employees happy is to hire people who are a good fit for your business. Hiring out of desperation only leads to employees who are more likely to leave as soon as they find a better opportunity (and probably won’t help drive your business forward while they’re employed).

As you search for your ideal employees, look for people whose values, views and behaviors align with your own and those of your business. An employee who embraces the ideals of your business is more likely to show up to work already motivated to help your business grow and stay around longer. To help you find the right employees to hire, here’s a helpful resource with 10 questions to ask during the hiring process.

Provide a path forward

Millennials and Gen Z-ers get a bad rap for being entitled and lazy, but they’re a lot more complicated than that. Younger employees today aren’t necessarily entitled, they just typically have higher expectations and standards. To keep these employees motivated, you need to provide them a growth plan. This doesn’t mean you have to set forward a path for them to take over the business on day one, there are a lot of ways to motivate your employees with incremental growth during their tenure:

  • Ongoing training: By consistently training employees how to complete additional tasks, you keep them engaged in the business. Ongoing training also helps you fill gaps when the time comes for other employees to move on.
  • Learning new positions: Same with ongoing training, cross-training employees in other positions is a great way to keep them motivated by allowing them to learn new skills. For example, if you own a franchise restaurant, don’t just stick talented employees behind the grill; teach them how to run the register, manage inventory or put together orders.
  • Training others: After your employees master their normal job responsibilities, provide them a sense of ownership by allowing them to start training new employees on the position. You can even implement a certified trainer program to encourage ambitious employees to learn the skills they need to train others.

Promote Growth Across the Business

To keep your employees passionate about your business’ potential, it’s helpful to set the example as a franchise owner. To do this, constantly look for opportunities to improve and grow your business by leveraging the latest technologies and systems from the brand. This dedication to progress will likely resonate with your hourly employees and give them the feeling they’re all working towards something bigger.

Here’s an example of this in action: recently, The UPS Store introduced 3-D printing for its franchise owners to offer. By embracing this new technology, their franchise owners can accomplish a couple of things when it comes to keeping employees motivated:

  • Providing a new and exciting tech solution for hourly employees to learn how to use.
  • Showing you’re committed to growing the business by expanding your services to include the latest technologies.

Allow Employees to Do What They Do Best

Younger employees grew up with the internet so they’re typically very savvy when it comes to digital channels. If you don’t have a lot of experience with social media (or a lot of time to manage it), allow your younger employees to take the lead in helping you build a stronger online presence for your location.

Make sure to give them the tools and guidelines they need to represent your business on social media the right way. Here are some of the resources you should provide your employees when you entrust them with your social media presence:

  • Access to the brand guidelines so they can create brand-compliant, on-message social posts.
  • A clear set of rules for social media posts – what not to say, how to use images, etc.
  • Scheduling tools to manage social media posts so your employees can spend less time manually posting content and more time on their day job.

Reward Good Work

Younger employees often need more feedback than members of older generations. For Millennials and Gen Z-ers, no news is often bad news. As a franchise owner, make sure to reward employees who are working hard to make your business better, while also providing additional support and encouragement for struggling employees.

This doesn’t mean you have to constantly hold employees’ hands or dish out a steady stream of bonuses. In fact, there are plenty of low-cost ways you can reward your employees and keep them motivated:

  • Recognizing a job well done: When an employee goes above and beyond, make sure to share their success with your other employees. This gives the employee a sense of accomplishment while motivating other employees to do the same. 
  • Offering team incentives: Whether it’s hitting sales goals or earning customer praise, reward your team for major accomplishments. This could be simple rewards like giving out gift cards, bringing in food or throwing an employee party.
  • Implementing a recognition program: Offer employees a way to congratulate each other with a program for them to recognize co-workers. Whether it’s as simple as Post-it Notes on a billboard in the break room or an online system, these programs are a great way to give employees a sense of pride in their work.