Your People Are Biggest Competitive Advantage
Competition in business is what helps to keep us focused on strategic growth. However, in today's landscape, competition is bigger, stronger, wider, and more present than ever. Innovations in technology give your customers access to similar products and services from companies that are not located in their geographic footprint. With a click of a button, an order can be placed, shipped, and received to a buyer that should have been yours.
In the retail automotive franchise niche, a customer can shop online and work with a dealer in another state to purchase their car. In fact, I know of someone who lives in the New England area and purchased their car from a dealership in the Carolinas.
In a food, service, or product driven franchise business, a customer can download an app on their phone, place an order, and see the timeline for readiness or delivery. If your specific franchise does not offer this technology, you might be losing customers simply due to convenience.
There is no doubt that innovation plays a huge part in the growth of competition going after our buyers. However, another real threat to competition is with our employees. Sure, our customers generate the profits, however our employees help build the core and foundation of our business, as well as the future, as potential leaders and successors. They are our value proposition and they are what will take our business into the future.
It is no secret that turnover costs a multi-unit franchisee money. It is also no secret that recruiting the right talent can be difficult. So then, why do many multi-unit franchisees find themselves in a situation where their strong talent leaves to go to a competitor? More often than not, our employees leave because they're unsatisfied.
Employee satisfaction comes in many forms; it is not a one size fits all. Motivations differ by employee and it means that they can either fuel your business, or weigh it down. For one employee their motivation might be in the amount of money you are paying them, for another it could be their trajectory to leadership and for others it could be a work/life balance program.
Key for building a strong culture and recruiting the right talent for your organization is identifying the types of people you want to shape your business. Behaviors and attitudes of those motivated by money are different than those motivated by growth and opportunity. Identifying the core values of your organization as well as the targeted Behaviors, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge and Experience of every role clarifies the type of people who qualify as candidates for your organization. In recruitment, include your core values and identified BASKE criteria to develop job descriptions and postings to better filter for the applicants you are seeking.
Regardless of the motivation, if you have done your homework to identify the motivators of the talent you want to recruit, you are now equipped to build programs to sustain the satisfaction of your employees. Read Multi Unit Franchisee's recent article titled "Millennials Looking for More Purpose in the Workplace" for insight into key motivators of the up and coming talent. In addition to being good for keeping your people, your people programs along with the reputation of staff longevity, help with your recruiting efforts. Thus, decreasing hefty costs in turnover and creating a very strong competitive advantage.
In areas of innovation, you also have to consider your people and how you can integrate them into the future of the business. The changing demographics of the workplace, along with the ever-changing technology, today's employees want to feel ownership. Involving them in opportunities to identify marketing and customer acquisition strategies or potential new product or service areas can help you continue to be innovative in your space.
As a business owner, you want your business to grow, but you also need to have a strong foundation to sustain future growth. Focusing and investing on your people and people programs can generate great returns for your business. It can also help you identify and motivate your highly qualified supporting managers that could be the key to your future succession.
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