Internal communications for franchises have never been a particularly easy thing to manage. Keeping a number of technically separate businesses – in different locations, under different management – on-brand and up-to-date can be a challenge.
You can make things easier for your internal comms team by streamlining communications using a modern, cloud-based intranet to reach everyone from senior staff to frontline teams across the country (and maybe even beyond).
With the right internal communication strategy, you’ll be able to improve employee communication company-wide, even if you can’t meet face to face. Your top-down announcements will reach further, whilst day-to-day operational comms will run more smoothly.
Below, we’ve outlined five ways to improve internal communication across your franchise.
1. Use mobile-friendly cloud intranet for internal communications for franchises
HQ can reach location managers and other white-collar staff easily enough via email. What email can’t do, however, is reach frontline employees with limited access to computers (or no company email address whatsoever).
Frontline employees are the public face of your brand. They are the ones providing the service that will keep your customers coming back through your doors, time and again. If anyone needs immediate access to brand guidelines, updates, and other important information, it’s them.
Engaged employees provide better service – and internal communications for franchises is vital to improve employee engagement. All too often, businesses take an unhelpful ‘churn and burn’ approach to frontline staff. This is expensive, and when one in five hospitality employees have left the sector permanently since the March last year, you’re opening yourself up to major staff shortages.
Actively and directly including frontline team members in your internal comms strategy by using mobile-accessible cloud intranet (as opposed to letting messages trickle down from email) demonstrates that you value them as employees. They can see themselves and their work valuably contributing to a wider picture. As a result, they are less likely to leave and more likely to engage with their work and provide great service to customers.
2. Open up discussion forums for best practice
Your franchise doesn’t sit together under one roof. The nature of franchising has always meant that key decision-makers for the everyday success of your brand are split across different locations.
If not managed carefully, this could lead to some franchisees straying from brand identity and methodology. It could also leave them feeling stranded or unsupported when they encounter a problem.
Setting up discussion forums on your intranet is a great way to encourage good communication practices across the network. You can ensure brand values remain adhered to whilst giving your franchisees space to discuss best practice and ask for advice when needed.
Intranet forums are a great way to encourage cross-team communication
Senior management can pass on new initiatives and answer questions directly so that key tenets of your brand remain constant across locations. Meanwhile, encouraging your franchisees to bring any issues to the fore and discuss tips on best practice makes your franchise more effective and cohesive.
3. Centralise all your key documents
Your HR and internal comms teams deal with significant numbers of queries each day. Some of these absolutely require human input. Other, more basic questions are a distraction which adds to HR workloads whilst reducing time available to dedicate to more complex work.
Many of these basic questions pertain to low-level information – “How do we order new uniforms?” for example, or, “What’s the process for getting employees set up on key systems?”
Centralising your documents makes it easier for your franchise teams to access important information
Adding employee handbooks, manuals, order forms and more to one single, centrally accessible location is an essential part of internal communications for franchises. Having these available universally via your intranet makes it easier for your franchisees to run their locations effectively, for their employees to do their jobs efficiently, and for your HR team to make an impact where it matters.
4. Publish regularly
This might seem like a simple point, but it’s a stumbling block that far too many franchises hit when trying to improve their internal communications.
If you invest in an intranet but don’t publish content to it regularly, people will stop checking it. As well as the internal comms issues this causes, you also start to lose other benefits associated with an employee intranet like increased employee engagement and more streamlined HR workloads.
‘Content’ doesn’t have to mean important, top-down announcements. It could also encompass senior execs sharing praise for their teams, rota updates, employee experience surveys, social media-style publishing, and employee-generated content.
With the right strategy, your intranet can become a thriving ecosystem of employee engagement. That strategy starts with impetus from the top. You can start to grow your intranet into a major employee-to-employee communications channel by:
- Getting senior execs involved – no one will use your intranet without buy-in from the top.
- Encouraging franchisees to use your intranet for everyday tasks, like rota updates, lost property or shoutouts for hard work.
- Shutting down legacy internal communications channels to avoid duplication of effort or employee workarounds.
5. Use notifications and read receipts to ensure visibility
If there’s an essential message you need to share with your employees, don’t leave it up to chance whether they see it or not. Successful internal communications for franchises requires a proactive approach.
Modern intranets often offer push notifications for smartphones, tablets and desktops that alert users to new posts, tasks, or information on your intranet. You can also set up read receipts, which confirm whether an intranet user has seen a message.
For important information – either at an organisational or team level – notifications and read receipts are an incredibly valuable tool for internal communication within franchises. Whether you need to announce something big, like details of this year’s bonus, or more mundane (like last-minute shift changes), use these tools to make sure the message gets through successfully.