‘Empathy’ – the key to success for franchise brands in 2024

This is one boss’s view of the business world in an era dominated more and more by social media, as well as a growing need for companies to connect with their local communities.

‘Empathy’ – the key to success for franchise brands in 2024

This is one boss’s view of the business world in an era dominated more and more by social media, as well as a growing need for companies to connect with their local communities.

It is no secret that franchise brands have the unique challenge of navigating a world of viral videos and clickbait, amid the ongoing competition for consumer attention. And while the traditional marketing format of simply promoting a brand’s products and services remains an important part of connecting with an audience, the ‘human touch’ can also be ‘a winner among local communities.’

And this is certainly the view of Ryan Armitage, who is the managing director of healthcare recruitment franchise Tezlom. In this article he discusses why a franchise that champions empathy can boost the growth of its brand. And it’s especially vital in the current competitive economic climate compromised by higher energy costs and an on-going cost of living crisis.

Ryan Armitage says: ‘We no longer live in a world of suits and briefcases. Even in the corporate space, you would have to do some digging to find a cutting-edge brand that still operates with characteristics of impersonality and no voice. And honestly, who wants that? Over the last decade, and accelerated in part because of the growing impact of social media, many brands no longer have the opportunity to ‘hide’ behind corporate curtains.

‘As such, cultures of openness, vulnerability and empathy have become key drivers behind brand success and growth. With entrepreneurs now seeking to engage more with caring communities, it has never been more important for franchises to celebrate not only the human touch, but the humane touch in equal parts.’

Building Morale

‘Research* has never been more conclusive regarding the importance of morale in the modern workplace. In fact, a staggering 50% of employees would sacrifice some of their salary for a job they enjoy. And while financially this sounds like a quick-fix approach to attracting new talent, and growing a franchise brand, the workplace is still playing catch-up on these shifting attitudes and priorities.

‘With just 30% of UK businesses operating employee engagement initiatives, and 42% running employee wellbeing programmes, it is vital that franchisees and franchisors take control of their team’s wellbeing and morale. Without doing this, it makes it more difficult for companies to lay secure business foundations and prepare for future growth. Boosting morale through initiatives is not just a way of looking ahead.

‘As we know, the franchise industry thrives because of innovative, supportive and creative entrepreneurs who take control of their current environment and industry. Empathetic leadership from franchisors and franchisees creates an environment where employees and teams feel heard, valued, and understood.

‘This helps brand communities to further establish foundations of trust and collaboration. And this, in turn, inspires and drives effective communication, which are all important characteristics of successful franchise brands today.

‘By leading with empathy, anyone joining a franchise will experience a culture of psychological safety. And this feeling will spread to clients and customers too. Ultimately, this approach will eventually become natural and promote team building. It will also create strong relationships within a well-oiled franchise operation.’

Maximising Productivity

‘Empathetic leadership is not just effective for consumer and employee morale. Around 61% of employees, who are led by highly empathetic senior leaders, were reported to be innovative at work. And 76% of employees were found to be more engaged in the business.

‘Not only this, but thanks to operating within an environment that fosters a positive and engaging culture, teams naturally feel protected – encouraging them to flourish. This devotion to creating a permanent ‘safe space’ for employees, will ultimately increase engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.

‘The extent of a brand’s empathy determines the level of care for others and how well a franchise becomes embedded within a community. This sense of unity can be a huge factor determining if a team believes in a brand’s vision, its mission and its goals.’

Achieving Growth

‘This is achieved through people. People are the most important aspect of any business. As franchise brands take a greater interest in their staff’s personal and professional development, this will also positively affect their families’ overall wellbeing. Do not discount the importance of empathy to the growth and success of a company.

‘When empathetic leadership is discussed, it is often within the context of a welcoming environment, where managers and bosses have a strong sense of self-awareness, thus avoiding angry outbursts.

‘However, this angle misses a fundamental reason why empathy should be a priority in all franchise businesses: We all have an obligation to care for our peers. And leaders have an obligation to help their team reach its full potential. This can only be achieved through care and trust.

‘At Tezlom, for example, the beating heart of our brand is the importance we place on collective wellbeing and growth. Every member of the Tezlom team contributes heavily to our culture. If they do not feel protected, nurtured and rewarded, then the whole operation is hindered.

‘Our Group Brand Manager, Kay Lou Haskins, tells me: “Thanks to an infrastructure that’s been built on the foundations of care, empathy and openness, no one across the network is ever left behind.

“The franchise industry is continuing to see the benefits of reverse-engineering business models, where ‘people’ are viewed as being just as vital as the need to ‘create growth targets’. It is imperative that business owners nurture a team that they can trust both personally and professionally.

“Everyone is entitled to the best possible mental health and wellbeing. And, at Tezlom, we continue to inspire this change in franchising, as we develop an atmosphere in which everyone can play.With personal wellbeing in business becoming increasingly championed, I encourage other brands to follow suit and employ a culture of care and empathy. And this must be evident at every level in their workplace.”

Future Proofing

‘These core factors of empathy do create immediate benefits. However, it is equally important to emphasise that by establishing initiatives and programmes – which focus on wellbeing and development – franchisees and franchisors are future-proofing their businesses.

‘Put simply, ‘employee empathy’ is the key to nurturing a successful future. This devotion to improving interpersonal relationships between staff, workforces and customers, drives a brand’s vision. It ultimately helps maintain relevance through trust and loyalty.

‘During the past 12 months, we have welcomed eight new franchise territories and celebrated expansion across our network. We strongly believe that having ‘empathy’ is the core driver for success in our business. And we are confident that we have the balance right.’

For more information about Tezlom, and franchise opportunities with the company, please click here.

* Joe Pindar, 2023, 30 Employee Morale Statistics for 2023 to Show How Teams Really Feel;

* EMERITUS, 2023. Why Is Empathetic Leadership Important in Today’s Workplace?

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