Greg Nathan Franchise Relations Tip #40: 17 Strategies to Improve Your Franchise Training

This week Greg provides 17 quick tips to aid you in the professional development of your franchise organization.

17 Strategies to Improve Your Franchise Training

I recently asked 50 franchise executives at a Franchise Learning and Development Forum the following question, “What is the best learning experience you've had and why?” It certainly stimulated some vibrant discussion on what works in improving the success of franchisees and franchisor executives.

I captured the key points from this session and have shared them below. If you have an interest in professional development, you'll enjoy reading this.

  1. Link training to the franchisee's or franchisor's roles – Franchisees and franchisors have different roles. The franchisee's role is to maximize their profits, create loyal customers and participate constructively in the franchise network. The franchisor's role is to demonstrate good leadership, support franchsiees in achieving their goals and to protect the brand and culture. All franchise training should link back to helping each party deliver on these core responsibilities.
  2. Use personal case studies – Get people to present case studies on what has worked for them. It can help to have a facilitator ask questions that draw out the key elements of what worked and why.
  3. Create mentoring groups – Mentoring groups are best if they meet regularly, perhaps every three months, with a facilitator. Members of the group share their challenges and discuss possible solutions. Informal mentoring, sometimes known as having a drink at the bar, can also be a useful way to share good ideas and mutual support.
  4. Provide one-on-one coaching – A coach helps us identify what we want to achieve, checks our commitment, helps us come up with an action plan and holds us accountable for doing what we said we would. Field managers can provide this type of coaching for their franchisees.
  5. Use facilitated round table discussions – These are great at conferences where people with similar challenges can get together to workshop specific topics or opportunities. Each group should have a facilitator to help the flow of discussion and to keep on topic. Topics should preferably start with a “How to…”
  6. Share evidence-based research – Research findings are an excellent way to stimulate informed discussion on relevant topics. Only present data that is relevant and has practical implications.
  7. Use role plays and simulations – Most relationship skills are best taught through a combination of theory and practice. After explaining the principles behind a technique, get people to practice it using structured role plays or simulated situations.
  8. Use on the job learning – For practical skills, get people to watch someone doing this and then let them have a go under supervision. Also explain what to expect, and create a safe, tolerant environment where they can make mistakes with minimal risk to themselves or the business.
  9. Avoid the use of jargon – Keep your language clear and simple. Write it as you'd say it and say it as you mean it. For instance, use simple verbs and nouns to describe your training programs, how to sell more donuts, how to resolve customer complaints, how to prepare financial statements…
  10. Set clear, relevant learning goals – Ensure that people are clear on the learning goals for a session and how the session will work. Give them an opportunity to ask questions up front. Ensure that the goals are relevant and the content is practical. Remember, it's not about the trainer, it's about the learners.
  11. Challenge people to think – Pose questions to people and encourage them to come up with and contribute their

    own answers. Never embarrass anyone for giving a wrong answer.

  12. Keep the sessions fun and lively – People learn best in a positive, fun environment. Ensure that there is some laughter in each session.
  13. Use a variety of activities – For every activity you run, there will be some people who like it more than others, depending on their learning preferences. So, use lots of variety in how sessions are run.
  14. Test and measure – Conduct simple tests around the topics you are teaching. A short, fun test at the start of a session will stimulate people's attention and provide you with immediate feedback on the knowledge of the group. A test at the end will also help to keep them engaged and paying attention.
  15. Let the student be the teacher – The best way to really learn something is to teach it. Create opportunities for people to take responsibility for leading discussions, teaching elements of a course or being part of a panel.
  16. Bring in the masters – It is always refreshing and reassuring to hear from experienced people who can share real life war stories on what works and why.
  17. Send your team to a Profitable Partnerships Boot Camp – I know this is cheeky, but if you are committed to effective franchisor training you might like to send your operations teams to one of my Boot Camps, which are coming up in Dallas, September 23 and 24 and in Denver, October 4 and 5.  I try to practice what I preach and ensure that these are full of useful, interactive activities on practical and relevant topics for improving the success of a franchise network.

Until next time.

Greg Nathan

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