Franchise owners: The secrets to managing Millennials!

Matt BauerBusiness Insurance, Human Resources, Risk Management

It’s no secret that one of the challenges of launching and maintaining a successful fast food franchise is attracting and retaining quality employees.

Turnover in the restaurant business is rampant. Half of a fast food restaurant’s staff will leave within a year, and casual dining establishments don’t fare much better at 44%.

Combine this already tough landscape with the particular tendencies of the millennial generation (roughly speaking, today’s teenagers up to the early 30s) and you’ve got a difficult recipe to work with. The problem is these entitled youngsters who just don’t understand how to behave in the workplace, right? WRONG!

Turns out the stereotypes of millennials — they need constant reassurance, they can’t take criticism, they are unprofessional and don’t understand workplace etiquette — are not true, according to an eye-opening report by IBM. In fact, that kind of negative personality type comes in all ages and is no more likely to be found in someone under 35 than in an older employee.

But broadly speaking, millennials are different from other workers…in a good way! Tech-savvy, optimistic, idealistic, and open-minded, they bring a different set of expectations to the workplace — something smart franchise owners can capitalize on…if they have the knowhow.

Most franchise owners have a need to tap into younger workers to help get the job done. They are motivated, energetic, resourceful, and quite often, a bargain. So, once you’ve tapped into this growing slice of the workforce, how do you keep them happy?

First, don’t stereotype! Treat your millennial employees as individuals. It’s easy to assume a series of personality traits based on age and appearance, but if you do, you’ll just be doing yourself and your business a big disservice. Invest time into learning the particular strengths and interests of each employee.

Provide inspiring leadership. Establish a framework that helps draw in millennials to your business strategy while providing lessons they can take with them as they climb the ranks in your company (or, if elsewhere…think of it as paying it forward.)


Give solid feedback and don’t shirk from offering constructive criticism when warranted. Don’t be afraid to explain why something isn’t up to snuff. Your millennials can take it…they just don’t want to be in the dark, unsure of how they’re doing.

Improve the customer experience of your business.  Millennials are the most marketed to generation, ever, and they care about how your company’s actions and policies affect consumers. Often on the front lines, millennials are eager to play a positive role in customer relations. Making sure your policies are customer friendly helps keep your young staff motivated and has a very positive effect on your bottom line.

Embrace technology and use it to solve problems. Millennials, born with a screen of some kind at hand, have little patience for filling out paper forms in triplicate when software can do the job in a tenth of the time. Make your staff happy and increase productivity by employing technology when appropriate.

These tips are not only good strategies for interacting with your millennials, but with your entire workforce. At Sinclair Risk, we can help franchise owners get the most out of their staff.

Got franchise questions? Contact me today.

Diane Kietner

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

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