(Part 2) The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labor shortage in franchise networks


F. Georges Sayegh, S.A.D., C. Adm. A., FCMC of Quebec and Ontario, is an expert-consultant in franchising and technology transfer. He is also the author of 18 books on franchises and related businesses. To reach him: gsayegh@gsayegh.com; Tel.: (514) 216-8458.

In conclusion

Understanding the changes in the workplace caused by the pandemic is essential in order to successfully manage your business. The following four trends are shaping the franchise workforce in 2022 and can help businesses and franchise networks stay proactive in the current climate. Businesses should focus on the following:

People and goals will drive workplace culture

According to the study “People at Work: A Global Workforce View” by the ADP Research Institute (ADPRI), uncertainty about health and safety as well as the effect of new variants have caused workers to seek employers that offer more than just a paycheck.

  • Organizational culture has a vital role to play in influencing an employee’s purpose. Employees want to be seen, heard and feel valued. Furthermore, connection is also a matter of belonging and trust.
  • Workers today have many more options and choose companies that offer genuine connection and a positive work environment.

Reliable data and expertise will build resilience

  • Employees report currently facing compliance and regulatory issues that will most likely continue as local and national governments adapt to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. To navigate these conditions, business and franchise owners will need to rely more on real-time data to proactively tackle compliance and guide decision-making.
  • Small and medium business owners don’t always have the time or the right resources. They need practical and cost-effective tools that can help them manage human resource issues, including software that provides templates of employee handbooks, non-discriminatory policies and necessary jobs, and forms that automatically update with changes in the law. These technologies can also provide information to help better manage the business, particularly access to payroll, time and attendance, and turnover trends.

Greater innovation will accelerate growth

  • Technical innovation in the way employees access HR tools will be essential in particular; timekeeping and access to benefits will save time and provide peace of mind. Franchisees will have to automate these tasks.
  • Human capital management (HCM) software for recruiting and hiring, background checks, and on boarding new employees, even apps that offer free COVID-19 testing and access to healthcare professionals for physical, mental and behavioral health issues can fit into this human capital management system.

Visibility will be redefined

  • Employee mobility and visibility. During the pandemic, many workers have chosen to relocate. Over the past year, three-quarters of the global workforce have changed or plan to change their lifestyle or where they live. This percentage is even higher (85%) among Gen Z which includes workers in their late teens and early 20s. This increasingly mobile workforce is willing to switch locations if the work is good, and through virtual interviews, franchise owners can reach this new workforce.
  • Employee visibility has also changed. With concerns about health, safety and family responsibilities, more and more people want to work remotely. While not every franchise can accommodate this, it’s important to keep this in mind and be flexible about how and where work needs to be done.

Due to the tight labour market, workers will need to have more options in order to choose between companies that offer genuine connection and a positive work environment. Highly skilled employees who love what they do are eight times more likely to be highly connected than those who dislike their current role. Additionally, those who love their jobs are four times more likely to stay with their organization.

To attract this emerging workforce, franchise owners will need to focus on what will set them apart from other employers. It is important for franchisees to ask themselves, “Does my company express a positive work environment with a strong team culture where every employee feels valued?” Do I offer flexible hours that recognize my workers’ personal life priorities such as family, residence, and other non-work activities? In short, the goal is to find out what makes sense for the talent each company is looking for and find a way to provide it pragmatically.

Finally, this phenomenon is no longer only subject to epidemics such as monkeypox, the mysterious hepatitis following the Covid crisis and other new diseases which are difficult to predict. We must also take into consideration aging workers who retire or voluntarily leave their jobs just as the demand for workers increases.

In order to counter these challenges, the author has identified the following: implement tools to get in touch with inactive populations in order to motivate them and support integration into the labour market, offer tailor-made training courses on the job, provide employment assistance (in commercial enterprises), establish an external well-being program (psychologist, occupational therapist, etc.) and individualize tutoring courses for professional skills.