5th Annual Franchise Innovation Awards: Human Resources: 2023 Winners Leverage Tech to Create Unique Solutions
5th Annual Franchise Innovation Awards: 2023 winners leverage tech to create unique solutions
This year's Franchise Update Media Innovation Award winners were selected from a long list of entrants about franchise brands turning technological innovations and strategies into cost-cutting and time-saving efficiencies. This year saw more than 100 entries from franchise brands large and small, legacy and emerging. A choice few grabbed the top spots to earn the prestigious awards and recognition.
The contest recognized two overall winners: Denny's took home the Franchise Marketing Leadership Award, and Dickey's Barbecue Pit won the Operations & Technology Leadership Award.
A panel of expert judges evaluated each entry's objective, the problem it solved, and the innovations required to achieve the stated goals. Winners in each of the four main categories and 22 subcategories are highlighted in the following pages. The four major categories are Marketing & Branding, Operations & Technology, Products & Services, and Human Resources.
- Marketing & Branding: This category asked brands what innovative solutions they employed to grow consumer awareness, engagement, and loyalty--everything from traditional advertising and PR campaigns to social media, rewards programs, new product launches, and local store marketing campaigns.
- Operations & Technology: Systems and processes, along with replicability and scalability, are essential for franchising success. And who could do all that without advanced technology. Judges reviewed the most forward-thinking operations teams and how they improved and streamlined their processes and practices through innovation in the aftermath of the pandemic.
- Products & Services: To meet the needs of today's consumers, franchise systems must evolve along with what customers want in products and services--and in how they want them delivered. For many entrants, technology played a huge role in adapting to how customers ordered, paid for, and received their products or services in 2022.
- Human Resources: Growing a great brand requires the best people at every level. This category examined how brands employed unique, innovative strategies and tactics to attract, hire, train, and retain the employees who best suited their vision and culture.
Most Innovative Employee Recruiting
America's Swimming Pool Co., The Cleaning Authority, & Woofie's Pet Care
Objective: Authority Brands' "Life at" program was implemented to highlight some of the employment opportunities available at its franchises, while positioning its franchised brands as employers of choice and showcasing company culture through employee-generated content.
Overview: The "Life at" social media channels are national social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter that highlight company culture through employee-generated content from franchisees. Implemented in April 2022 for The Cleaning Authority, in the fall for Woofie's, and in March 2023 for America's Swimming Pool Co., "Life at" let franchised brands connect with employees and operators to generate content that would help attract prospective franchisees to its various brands while simultaneously serving as a tool for owners to recruit employees.
Results: The "Life at" initiative has had a positive impact on the overall culture at each of Authority Brands' franchised brands that are currently participating in the program. It has fostered a sense of community and connection among employees, who are now more motivated to share their experiences with others. The positive feedback has also contributed to each brand's image and reputation, making it a more desirable place to work for potential employees.
Most Innovative Employee Retention
Homewatch CareGivers/Authority Brands
Objective: The workforce shortage in home care is no secret. While hiring in the industry comes with its own unique challenges, our objective was to develop a program that would retain quality caregivers and drive revenue for our franchisees.
Overview: A crucial element to retention is getting a new candidate from interview to orientation to first shift as quickly as possible. We also implemented a program to incentivize and recognize employees. The goal of our retention program is to improve the length of stay of caregivers through employee engagement, recognition, and incentives.
Results: Hiring exceeded the national average of applicants hired by 17% among homecare providers, and retention exceeded the national average by 21% among homecare providers. In addition, the company increased training hours by 100% above national average among homecare providers. The program has allowed franchise owners to identify a new pool of potential caregivers and increased applicant inquiries by 32%.
Most Innovative Employee Training
Objective: To ensure the successful onboarding and development of new franchise owners and their employees through virtual and in-field training experiences.
Overview: ManageMowed offers a comprehensive training program, which includes corporate and in-field training as well as up to three days of training in a franchisee's new territory, supplemented by an extensive virtual library. Trainees learn everything from why and how our concept was created, why it works, and how to succeed through marketing, technology, management of vendors and clients, and office administration. The training includes at least 30 hours in the classroom and 28 hours in the field.
Results: Our employee training program has yielded several strong team members. Many have advanced from the assistant account manager position to an account manager, or have transitioned from employees of the franchise brand's Edmonds location to the franchise development corporate support team. Two local account managers in particular, Justin Harberg and Mitch Farley, both advanced in their roles within just one year of starting their careers with ManageMowed.
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