Q&A with 4 Service Brand Operators on How They Hire and Retain Employees 
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Q&A with 4 Service Brand Operators on How They Hire and Retain Employees 

Q&A with 4 Service Brand Operators on How They Hire and Retain Employees 

Hiring and retaining good employees Is a major challenge for any company in today’s market. That is certainly true for service brand franchisees, who employ workers ranging from managers to skilled technicians to entry-level staff.

Employee turnover is constant, and the higher the rate the more costly it is (I changed it from “can be”) to an organization. For many franchisees in 2024, turnover can be a never-ending cycle of hiring, training, and teaching, not only of required job skills, but also of the company’s values and culture—only to lose an employee and have to start the process over again.

One of the primary reasons for employee turnover comes from people not feeling valued and appreciated, leading to feelings of frustration and disengagement.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, “After dropping in 2020 during the pandemic, employee engagement is on the rise again, reaching a record-high 23%. This means more workers found their work meaningful and felt connected to their team, manager, and employer.” In the U.S., that number was 33%. The flip side, of course, is the huge majority of employees (77% globally, 67% in the U.S.) who were not engaged in their jobs. On the positive side, best-practice organizations reported 70% employee engagement.

Many companies also struggle with balancing their economic profitability with providing sufficient wages for their staff. This comes from the increased prices for products and supplies, laws affecting their business operations, and rising employee costs such as minimum wage and healthcare.

We recently spoke with four multi-unit service brand franchisees to see how they are handling these challenges and recognizing and rewarding their employees.

Ryan Debin operates 11 My Gym Children’s Fitness Centers, 4 (1 in development) Launch Entertainment Parks, 3 Abbott’s Frozen Custards, and has 1 Retro Fitness under development.

What are you doing to take care of your employees?

Compensate them with raises and introduce Nectar, an employee rewards platform that provides incentives for a job well done. Points can be redeemed for gifts.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)?

The best we can. Pass more on to the consumer to maintain profitability.

What laws and regulations are affecting your business, and how are you dealing with them?

Minimum wage laws and employment laws affect us. We deal with them as they come.

How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees?

Through several incentive programs.

Michael Fay operates 25 Subways, 11 Little Medical Schools, 3 Overtime Athletics, and 1 Flex Enrichment.

What are you doing to take care of your employees?

There is never too much you can do. We offer incentive programs, competitive pay, team events, benefits, and a clear path to advancement. One of the benefits of growth has been the number of individuals I have been able to promote internally.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)?

This is top of mind for me, and I do not foresee it getting better anytime soon. The goal is to manage costs as much as possible, pay a little more for stronger people, which ultimately pays for itself, and pass some of it on to the customer.

How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees?

Money is important, but I focus a lot on celebrating the success of everyone. Maybe we go to dinner, send a thank-you note, or give an extra day off accompanied by specific feedback on a job well done. Sure, money helps, but I really don’t believe it is the be-all and end-all.

How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business?

The focus on the employee is critical. It is still hard to find good people. As a result, we are thinking more about culture, growth opportunities, and, of course, compensation. These have always been important, but in the current climate are essential.

Tom Pentenburg is the largest franchisee of Spherion Staffing Services with offices in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio,

What are you doing to take care of your employees?

We are constantly evaluating compensation and benefit plans to match the needs of today’s employees. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution today.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)?

It is an increasing burden for sure. This requires our company leaders to get creative with how we utilize our team and get maximum value out of our benefit partners.

What laws and regulations are affecting your business, and how are you dealing with them?

It has become increasingly important for our customers to know that we comply with all laws regarding employment in the areas we serve. That means we must be excellent at executing compliance.

How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees?

Rewards for some come in the form of compensation increases, but we also offer opportunities for some team members to go on recognition trips based on their individual performances.

Bryant Greene operates 15 Always Best Care Senior Services territories in Philadelphia and Delaware, making him the brand’s largest franchisee.

What are you doing to take care of your employees?

We offer things such as paid incentives, event tickets, and acknowledgment of a job well done.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)?

By keeping a razor-sharp focus on expenses.

What laws and regulations are affecting your business, and how are you dealing with them?

EVV (Electronic Visit Verification) compliance. And we have a leadership task force.

How do you train and retain?

We do a new hire orientation, and all employees go through it. Retention is an ongoing goal. Our leadership team does its best to engage, communicate, and, where appropriate, incentivize with PTO, small electronics raffles, and concert, sports, and event tickets.

Published: June 17th, 2024

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