GF: What do you think makes for an excellent franchise leader?
MH: Franchise leaders are in the business of listening and building strong communities – the community of team members within the franchise, the broad network of franchise owners, and the larger community they each serve.
Successful franchise leaders take a person-centered approach focused on community, diversity, and workforce development to create win-win opportunities that grow businesses, provide meaningful jobs, and deliver resources that uplift families and neighbors.
GF: What do you think is the number one challenge that the franchise industry is facing today?
MH: Without a doubt, the post-pandemic labor shortage is the principal challenge facing every franchisor and franchisee in every industry vertical found in franchising.
The solution is two-fold and requires a top-down and bottom-up strategy. From Washington, D.C., the International Franchise Association (IFA) advocates for policies to ease the challenges of returning to work by providing employer tax credits and ending disincentives that exist for workers to come back to their jobs.
And across the global franchising landscape, franchisors and franchisees must make clear their commitment to people and communities. Franchise jobs are great jobs full of opportunities for advancement and personal career development, but they also must understand team members are seeking more than just a paycheck.
They want respect, a voice, and dignity in their work. All of these are things our brands and their franchisees have, but sometimes struggle to communicate clearly. Our job is to help them tell that story.
“Without a doubt, the post-pandemic labor shortage is the principal challenge facing every franchisor and franchisee”
GF: What do you find fulfilling about the work that you do in the franchise industry?
MH: I’m inspired daily by the people and stories found across franchising. Franchise brands create opportunity at all levels of the economic spectrum, helping owners create wealth for themselves and families, support a vast workforce that pays wages and benefits higher than other small businesses and gives back to the communities in which they operate in outsized ways.
It’s why the International Franchise Association launched the Open for Opportunity campaign to connect people the world over with what franchisors and franchisees know is a fulfilling opportunity.
GF: What advice do you have for franchisors who are looking to strengthen their network in 2022?
MH: Coming out of the pandemic, franchisors should lean into training and networking opportunities – both in-person and virtual. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that reliance on our networks would get us through to the other side.
Franchisors offered their owner-operators a playbook to help weather the storm, and that’s why we are recovering more quickly than non-franchises. We also learned that sometimes the playbook needs to be rewritten entirely to account for unforeseen (or unforeseeable) challenges. It is in those moments that training, and networking help franchisors look around the corner, learn from others and build back better with new awareness.
As IFA offers an integrated approach to education within the industry, franchise professionals can strengthen their networks by pursuing the Certified Franchise Executive certification – the gold standard in equipping current and future leaders in franchising with the tools they need to grow successful businesses and bring their brands or supplier offering to more consumers.