As someone who’s worked in the industry as a franchisor for over a decade and recruited many franchisees, I strongly believe that one of the key factors contributing to a franchise network’s success is the diversity of its franchisees. In today’s increasingly well-connected world, the diversity of an entrepreneurial community – not to mention of its thoughts, ideas, background and experiences – is massively important.
A balanced workforce can be one of the biggest strengths of a franchise network as it can unlock innovation, drive growth and even help you solve problems better. A group that’s made up of people from a range of backgrounds is able to look at a situation in different ways, so it’s more likely to come up with innovative solutions. Consider the alternative: relying on people who share very similar perspectives and approach things in very much the same way.
To benefit from a diverse network, franchisors need to put processes in place to attract franchisees from a range of backgrounds and ensure they’re open and fair to all. It’s vital that franchises get rid of the one-size-fits-all mindset. Tailoring franchisee recruitment strategies to appeal to a spectrum of candidates should be a long-term investment rather than a quick fix.
The first step to creating a more diverse network involves removing any bias from your recruitment process. Human nature means that unconscious bias inevitably creeps in and even the most open-minded franchisors can unwittingly allow unconscious feelings to guide their recruitment process. Review the language you use in everything from your marketing material right through to the way you interview potential franchisees. Understanding what might be putting off people who have a different background is a good start.
Using a variety of recruitment techniques can also help attract a more diverse crowd. Social media can be an outstanding way to reach certain demographics while face-to-face events and getting involved in networking groups for minorities – for example a women’s networking group – is another very useful avenue to help you find potential franchisees.
As you’re doing this, you should consider how to build a reputation of being a franchise that prizes diversity. Demonstrate to the different communities you’re targeting that opportunities are open to them and that you’ll commit resources to meet their needs. Existing franchisees and their diverse backgrounds can be the best marketers for your network, so remember to involve them in your marketing activity.
Attracting people from different walks of life is not going to be an overnight success but it’s worth the time and effort. By learning how to make the most of people’s differences you’ll be able to spark innovation, understand your customers better and gain a competitive advantage.