You’ll find that every successful Smoothie King location has one thing in common – a great team. But a great team doesn’t come together by chance. In fact, a franchisee’s most important responsibility is to nurture and develop their team toward greatness.
There is a significant number of Smoothie King franchisees who recognize the value of hiring someone on as a team member, promoting them to shift lead and moving them all the way into a management position. I am always thrilled when I see Smoothie King team members going through management training after working with the brand for a few years. It shows that our franchisees have put in the time to grow their staff into invaluable assets. This proven grooming strategy serves to give our franchisees confidence and peace of mind as they expand their businesses.
Qualities to Look for in a New Hire
Smoothie King prides itself on its ability to provide guests with a great product while giving them an experience they want to come back for. In order for our brand to continue to live up to its goals and mission, we need the right team members behind the bar making it happen.
We want our franchisees’ team members to embody our brand. As the employers of their team members, franchisees would be wise to spend some time considering the team-member qualities that are most important to them. Doing so will assist them in establishing a hiring criteria for their businesses. To start, franchisees might look for candidates who are:
- Team players
- Comfortable speaking with the guests
- Excited about the brand and its mission
Many Smoothie King team members are in the early stages of their careers, and working in our stores is often their first real job experience. As a result, franchisees should take advantage of the interview process as their first chance to see if they found the right fit. Many franchisees find it helpful to pay attention to how candidates present themselves during interviews and to see if they are engaged and enthusiastic about the opportunity. Many times, you can gauge an employee’s interest right out of the gate, which makes things easier once they are hired on.
The Training Process for New Hires
Depending on the work schedule of a particular employee, the 10-shift training program can take anywhere from two weeks to one month to complete. The orientation tools are designed to build on each other and to reinforce the brand operations and culture. We want to make sure that all of the employees fully understand the products we sell and are able to educate our guests on each purpose they serve. By the end of the training process, the goal is for them to understand the importance of providing the total guest experience.
Generally, this is a process that takes time. You can’t throw someone behind the bar the first day and expect them to know everything. Young people crave feedback. You have to be willing to spend the time to engage with them on a regular basis. Create a relationship through which you are able to provide supportive and constructive feedback and enable them to do their job better. You can’t always be your team member’s best friend, but you can always be a mentor or an example they can look up to.
Knowing When a Team Member is Ready
Team members that want to move up often openly express interest and prove that they are ready. They should certainly show dedication to their work, consistently uphold the brand standards and be model team members.
An easy way to spot those who are ready is to see who your other team members look to as a leader. When questions or issues arise, notice which of your team members is consistently able to handle problems in a professional manner.
Working to Build Long-Term Team-Member Success
Success does not happen overnight. In order to facilitate long-term team member growth, it is up to our franchisees to put stock in their people and understand that it is an investment. There are multiple training videos and modules that franchisees can access to help continually develop their team members. Our franchisees and managers are in a position to provide their staff with constant guidance, mentoring and feedback to help move them to that next level.
It’s best to think of your team members as if they were volunteers. Go out of your way to recognize their contributions and appreciate the work they do for you. Remember that your team wants to do a good job. If you notice that someone is falling off track, don’t be afraid to talk to them and offer your help. Your team members want to feel cared about, and they want to feel like they are a part of something bigger. Oftentimes the team members that have been involved in a franchisee’s business three or more years have been there because the franchisees have made an effort to include them.
I always encourage our franchisees to listen to their team and care about their ideas. When you develop an entry-level employee into a manager, you build loyalty and trust. That relationship is a solid foundation for continued growth. Their experience and knowledge of the brand can make them excellent general managers, especially when the opportunity arises for you to grow your business.