Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Franchising
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Franchising

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Franchising

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a major focus for many organizations in recent years. When a franchisor actively works to create a diverse and inclusive workspace, the whole franchise system benefits.

Franchisors who design and implement DEI strategies find that their employees are more engaged with helping the organization reach its goals, and that they can hire and retain the top talent in the industry.

How franchise employees feel about DEI

While there is overwhelming evidence that diverse teams and companies that promote inclusive cultures perform at a higher level and have a positive impact the bottom line, until now there has never been research to benchmark DEI efforts specifically within the franchise sector.

Each year, Franchise Business Review conducts the annual Franchising@WORK study to benchmark employee engagement in the franchise sector and identify trends to help franchise employers better understand how they can recruit and retain top talent.

This year, the survey included seven new questions to measure DEI efforts across the franchise sector. All franchise employers—franchisors, franchisees, and franchise suppliers—were invited to participate in the survey. More than 6,000 franchise employees responded, representing 40% corporate staff and 60% unit-level employees, across nearly 180 franchise organizations.

Key findings

  • 84% of employees surveyed said their company values diversity
  • 86% of employees felt their co-workers demonstrated a commitment to creating an inclusive work environment
  • 83% felt senior management understands that diversity is important to the company’s success
  • 80% said their company represents a diverse group of talent
  • 79% said their co-workers are comfortable talking about their social and cultural backgrounds at work
  • 71% of employees surveyed reported that their employee training promotes inclusivity

What franchising needs to know about DEI

In today’s competitive economic climate, recruiting the most talented and motivated employees has become increasingly difficult. Through a commitment to DEI, you’ll find that it’s easier to find the most qualified individuals for your open positions.

But hiring the most qualified people for the open positions isn’t enough. You will have to actively work to retain them, particularly during a labor shortage when workers have plenty of opportunities available.

While overall feedback from the survey related to DEI initiatives was very positive, nearly one-third of employees thought company training programs could do more to promote inclusivity. And with more employees than ever before looking for meaning, purpose, and a broader social connection from their careers, franchise brands that find creative ways to be more transparent, open, and genuine about their mission and values will have greater success recruiting and retaining top talent.

The easiest and best way to show your commitment to DEI and measure your recruitment and retention efforts is to implement an active listening strategy with your employees using regular surveys. Franchise Business Review has created a set of diversity and inclusion survey questions that will provide you with actionable data about the overall effectiveness of your DEI strategies. Our DEI survey questions set themselves apart from similar surveys because they are tailored to the franchise sector. The responses you receive will help you measure your own success and allow you to compare yourself with other franchise employers in your region or industry.

The costs associated with conducting a DEI survey are nominal, but it does require time, dedication, consistency, and, most importantly, acting on the feedback you receive to be successful.

To request a copy of the questions from FBR’s DEI survey, email michelle@franchisebusinessreview.com, or set up a time for a 10-minute demo on how to use benchmarking data to improve or enhance your employee recruitment and retention efforts.

Michelle Rowan is president of Franchise Business Review, former chair of the IFA’s Women’s Franchise Committee, and recipient of the IFA’s 2022 Crystal Compass Award. She has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is a mentor to University of New Hampshire college students.

Published: September 28th, 2023

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