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5 HR Tips for Franchise Owners to Manage Brand Reputation

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Managing Brand Reputation for Franchise Owners, with Ontario’s Changing Labour Laws

Bill 148 has made many headlines since its announcement of new labour laws early last year. Because of this, we’ve seen how changes to Ontario’s minimum employment standards have caused many business owners to change working conditions and pricing structures as they look to control costs. This has shown to impact both the employer and employee, where in recent news, business owners have been the focus; whether it be for responding poorly to the minimum wage increase or for making cutbacks to offset sick leave pay. Where employees take to social media, employers’ reactions to the labour changes continue to be in the public eye. Unfortunately, small businesses and franchise owners are at the centre of much of this attention. If dealing with Ontario’s new labour laws wasn’t enough, add in brand reputation management to the mix for franchise owners, owing to the reactions of others to these changes. While things like benefits cuts don’t violate Ontario’s labour standards, as a franchise partner, your actions have greater consequences. What you do as an employer, will reflect the value of your brand, especially that of a global brand. As such, an increasingly common question we get from franchise owners is: from an HR perspective, what steps can be taken to protect company reputation from rogue franchises who do not reflect the values of the overall brand? Take a look.

5 HR Tips for Franchise Owners

Whether a franchisor or franchisee, there are a number of ways to manage your brand’s reputation while supporting your partners. Here are 5 HR tips to follow when it comes to employee management in light of Ontario’s changing labour laws.

  1. Ensure there is an HR resource in the form of shared policies and procedures for all partners to reference. Here, it is especially important to consider a social media policy for all employees.
  2. Create a positive working environment that drives employees to recommend your brand and your franchise business.
  3. Stay up-to-date with legal and workplace trends to avoid the negative consequences of financial costs or lowered staff morale.
  4. Plan for and monitor employee reactions to workplace changes and encourage open communication of employment issues; this includes keeping an eye on employee reviews on recruitment platforms, such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. The purpose is to prevent staff from voicing any negative thoughts publicly, or to be able to address them in a prompt manner.
  5. Think about outsourcing to ask a professional for legal or HR advice before making any big employment changes, such as layoffs or benefit cuts.

While brand management goes beyond employee management, evaluating your HR practices is a good first step.

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