With dozens of home health care franchises in operation today, owners must attract and retain good quality franchisees who will help the business flourish in a competitive market that’s only expected to grow.
In fact, over the past five years, in-home senior care franchises grew at an average rate of nine percent annually. And with more than 20 percent of U.S. residents projected to be 65 and over in the next ten years, it’s good news for the home care franchise industry.
A strong franchise is built on bridges. It’s no secret that franchises face the clear challenge of inherent division. When a brand extends into diverse geographic locations, each outpost with its own leadership, clients and regional nuances, it’s hard to maintain a sense of unity. That’s why the most successful franchises place a priority on strong relationships with their franchisees.
That effort requires strong, active communications.
5 ways to connect your franchisees
Big companies invest in internal communication departments to build employee morale, share essential information, and get people with diverse roles working under the same ultimate vision and mission.
For a home care franchise, it’s possible to skip the costs of such a department and instead sow communications through digital tools. These tools are extremely cost effective, available anywhere at any time and, of course, safe during these pandemic times we are working through.
Here are our top five keys to connection:
- A straightforward intranet or other community web portal provides a foundation for communications, and needs minimal maintenance. An intranet helps build a sense of community as a reservoir for sharing best practices, asking questions and getting answers, making announcements, polling franchisees, and including fun components like a buy-and-sell area (similar to Craigslist), employee discounts, and virtual social events. It could even include a forum for caregivers to write short stories from the road – people love to have an outlet for expression (for example, Facebook).
- There are many software integrations that can create automated messages throughout an entire franchise. For instance, in AlayaCare’s home health software, there is a component called rubi.works through which agencies can issue targeted SMS notifications/emails about birthdays and work anniversaries, or any timely messages or reminders that bring disparate franchisees together.
- Online training modules are another great communications tool, available for staff at any location to take on their own time. For many, personal growth and skills development is important, and they will appreciate e-learning activities. Meanwhile, agencies can ensure their people are up to date with latest skills and knowledge, and that the company overall is compliant in this area.
- It might be wise to think of franchisees as customers, and offer them a 24/7 help desk. Whether it’s run by the agency’s IT department or arranged through an external technology partner, it does wonders to have a system in place where franchisees can get rapid answers without having to wait a day or more. This will encourage communication, help franchisees overcome obstacles, and give the sense that the home office is a partner. A help desk could span both email and the intranet.
- Unite disparate franchisees with a shared data infrastructure so all owners can have new levels of transparency and visibility, reduce manual reporting and other administrative burdens, embrace optimized scheduling, manage workflows efficiently, and so much more. Integrating these franchisees into one overarching system is a surefire method to build better connections.
Modern tech key to these efforts and more
To underpin these and other communications efforts, it’s wise for agencies to consider a robust, cloud-based home care software platform. Such a system offers the flexibility and accessibility necessary to grow successful franchises, such as our clients Nurse Next Door, Right at Home and Home Instead Senior Care – one of the largest providers of home care in the world, with more than 1,000 franchises to date.
Using such modern tools, franchisors can gain broad comprehensive data with just a few clicks, versus the time-consuming task of unearthing data on a franchisee-by-franchisee basis. The end result: top notch partners, effective scale strategies, and a competitive advantage amidst an often challenging market landscape.
For more on how to leverage data to provide meaningful insights and decision support, check out our latest webinars.