Did everyone quit quitting?

I remember people being really excited 18 months ago about how 'The Great Resignation' was going to turn franchisee recruitment into the busiest, but easiest job in the world.

Did everyone quit quitting?

I remember people being really excited 18 months ago about how ‘The Great Resignation’ was going to turn franchisee recruitment into the busiest, but easiest job in the world. People would be storming out of their jobs en masse in search of a better future and walking straight into their nearest branch of FranchisesRUS ready to spend all their savings. 

Sitting here at almost the midpoint of 2023, I’m not sure that’s quite what happened. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve sold plenty of franchises in that time, but more than half have been to existing franchisees looking to expand their portfolios. But there must be some evidence of an upsurge somewhere – because in theory it makes so much sense. Google search stats revealed a definite and dramatic increase in interest in self-employment as a means to securing a more balanced lifestyle.

Before the pandemic, a significant number of people insisted that the only way a meeting could be successful was face to face, that you couldn’t manage a team remotely, that if you let your staff work from home, they’d watch TV all day. Then Covid hit, Zoom arrived, and suddenly it turned out lots of businesses worked just fine without all the ridged structures they previously assumed critical – some franchisees too.

But critically, it wasn’t only the employers that felt the sea change. Employees increasingly realised that life didn’t have to be that thing you fitted in around working. There was a wholesale shift in people’s priorities around time spent at home, not missing important family events, not accepting stress as ‘just one of those things’, and perhaps biggest of all, that some things were worth more than money. People made the decision to live, rather than work to live – and franchising makes that a real possibility for most. Why are they not banging our doors down?

I believe that the worse the external economic factors are, the more reasons there are to choose franchising over setting up a new business by yourself. To be clear, there’s never a good time to buy a bad franchise, or one you are completely unsuited for – but if you really want to break out of employment and do something for yourself, then franchising is the way to go. It’s your business to grow and make money from and develop into a valuable asset for your future, exactly like your own independent business would be – but with franchising you get training, ongoing support, a proven business model and statistically a far better change of long-term success. 

Anthony C Klotz, Professor at University College London’s School of Management was the person who coined the term “Great Resignation”.

He told the BBC he believes that “resignations have become somewhat self-perpetuating” and that “Turnover contagion is real. When you have colleagues who leave first, it’s almost always a bummer, because usually it’s a little bit more work for you. At the same time, though, it puts the idea in your head that it’s doable to make that leap. It’s hard to stop that cycle of resignations for organisations, because with each one, it’s like it logically puts the idea in other people’s minds about the possibility of it.”

Perhaps, in order to entice more people to buy our franchises, we should use the Professor’s logic in reverse. Why not better incentivise our franchisees to encourage suitable people from their own personal networks to follow them IN the door of franchising? After all, they’ve done it, they made the move from previous employment and are now doing well and enjoying all the freedom and flexibilities of franchising – someone they know must be quietly envious of that (a former colleague, university pal, relation) and perhaps all they need is a little push! If every franchisee encouraged just one person they know into franchising, that would double the industry. Maybe this could be franchising’s ‘Great Influx’?

Here’s a first step: next time you create a fantastic franchisee case study, ask your network to share it around too!

Suzie McCafferty
Suzie McCafferty