How often do you conduct business via your cell phone? And when was the last time you took a picture with a traditional camera? Technology has developed so today, that our phone has become our constant companion fulfilling a variety of needs. If you had to guess when the first camera phone was released, would you know? I was surprised too, it was 2002; and it was one of those flip phones. Today, in addition to taking pictures, we can stream live video, and even see the person with whom we are talking, in the moment! The reality check here is that although the introduction of the camera phone was impressive at the time, it was a very small step to introducing a new way to communicate.
Are you reading this on a screen, maybe through your tablet, computer, or phone? If not, how many times over the last week have you received some sort of news or information from an online source. Because the advances are happening so fast, it is easy to forget the conveniences technology creates in our everyday lives and the impact it has on how we conduct business. What conveniences do you enjoy now that you couldn't have even imaged 10 years ago?
So you may be thinking, what does this discussion about phones and technology have to do with succession planning? Well, the speed of communication, absorption of data, access to information, and the ability to share all influence the sustainability of your business. Have you taken the time recently to strategically think about how technology impacts all the different facets of your multi-unit franchisee business not just today, but 3 and 5 years into the future? In engaging with our clients in strategic planning initiatives, there are many touch points technology has within a multi-unit franchisee business.
The following are two concentrated areas that can present themselves as either an opportunity or a threat to your success:
Technology has changed the way we attract and retain our people. No longer are we working with "paper" resumes or relying only on those three character references. How many of you employ online searches when looking for candidates? Do you research the candidate via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.? The odds are pretty strong that potential candidates are checking you out as much or more than you are checking them out. People are looking for the places to work that are part of the 21st century; so if you do not appear to know what's going on today with an eye on tomorrow, you are more than likely losing the talent war. What are you doing to involve your staff in leveraging social media to promote your culture, attract good people, and drive profitability?
Keeping your people is also very important; and technology can be your friend here as well. As more people move into the workplace having grown up communicating via text, messaging, Snapchats, Facebook, and more, they will expect tools, processes, and procedures that make it easy for them to be successful.
Give them what they need to be successful. Provide guidance and instruction and then allow them to work in ways that are natural for them so that they can use their natural strengths - for your company. This typically creates a retention culture that stays focused on results.
Technology obviously impacts more than these two areas of your multi-unit franchisee business. However, these are two that directly impact the growth, future, and sustainability of your business. Analyze where you are and determine if you need to get caught up, but also look forward. The next change is just around the corner!
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