Gerry O’Brion: Find & Keep ‘A-Players’!

SPEAK! has had the pleasure of working with nationally recognized speaker and branding expert, Gerry O’Brion for a few years now and he continues to exceed franchisor and franchisee expectation, each and every time—more and more—hitting homerun after homerun!

Gerry works with lots of franchises—MANY within the foodservice sector. And listening to franchise teams, he hears over and over (as we are 🙂 ) that hiring, engaging and retaining staff is a HUGE challenge for franchisees. Gerry just wrote an article on this topic, entitled, 9 Strategies to Build a Staff of A-players Without Busting Your Budget. I’ve included some highlights below. Could this be foundational content for a keynote or breakout session at your next event?

(I particularly love #5 & #6 🙂 !)

  1. Create a great place to work. The #1 reason franchisees are have a hard time hiring people is that their business isn’t attractive to prospective employees. What have you built into your business that makes it a great place to work? Even better, what makes it so good that it’s chat worthy? Learn what your ideal employees are looking for and build that into your business.
  2. Gerry O’BrionPick A-players. Your A-players want to work with other A-players. If you hire or keep B or C players, your A-players will leave, reduce their performance, or be generally annoyed. Settle for “good enough” and that will become your brand.
  3. Increase your expectations. Starting with your interview process, make it clear that you have high expectations for your business, your franchise brand, yourself and your employees. A-players want to strive for greatness—B and C players just want to get by.
  4. Give them the tools for success. Set high expectations, and then give them the ideas, training and resources for success.
  5. Give feedback early and often! This is particularly relevant for Millennial workers. They want to know how they’re doing, like, now. Why? Think about how they’ve grown up—they can know anything they want, immediately—from Google. They don’t want to wait for feedback in an annual review—they want it today. Another valuable benefit is that if they’re not performing, you can help them improve or get them out quickly.
  6. Live your values and make a difference! Another one especially suited for your Millennials—92% of Millennials believe that business success should be measured by more than just profit, and 84% believe that making a difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. They want to work somewhere that has values aligned with theirs and actually lives those values. Not sure what to do? Have your younger workers help create your strategy!
  7. Listen to their ideas. Your front-line staff has better insights about what your customers want than anyone else. Simply asking for their opinion goes a long way. As a franchisee, it’s your job to listen, learn and decide. The best AND worst ideas both come from your employees. But if they know that you care and are listening, it can make all the difference.
  8. Show them the path to advancement. Employees may be willing to work hard for less money today if they know it will pay off in the future.
  9. Compensate them fairly, or even a little better. Hear a great story on this one below!

If your next franchise event will be addressing hiring, engaging and retaining great franchise teams, Gerry is a fresh option. He immerses himself in the franchise culture, history and brand—then works diligently with the franchisor team to marry content with their learning objectives. This preparation, along with Gerry’s natural ability to connect, results in engaged, inspired franchisees who leave with actionable takeaways which change their businesses!

Gerry’s fees start at $15,000 and he travels from Denver. I’d love to talk to you about Gerry’s full range of programs—he’s Founder of What Big Brands Know® and the author of The Restaurant Formula. His calendar is starting to fill throughout 2017, so let’s talk sooner rather than later!  🙂 

More soon…


P.S. From Gerry, “I was with a multi-unit restaurant owner recently with five locations. I asked her how changes in minimum wages were going to impact her. She simply said, ‘Well, not at all. We don’t believe in minimum wage work, so we don’t pay minimum wages.’ Every one of her locations has 4.5 stars on Yelp – a major feat in the restaurant space. She’s successful not because she pays her people more, but because she does everything on this list. As a result, she attracts, and can afford to compensate A-players – and she gets A-level work.”

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