Traditionally, one area franchisors tended to steer clear of was human resources policies and practices. While franchisors would provide cursory resources for good hiring practices and employment law requirements, creating an "employment brand" usually was left to each franchisee. Why? Because dictating the employment practices of individual franchisees might hold the franchisor liable for any wrongdoing committed by the franchisee. Better safe than sorry was the rationale.
That was then; this is now.
There's fresh evidence that some franchises are taking an increased interest in—and more responsibility for—encouraging and ensuring best practices in employment matters.
"There was a time when the franchisor would remain fairly neutral on many human resource issues, except perhaps to guide the incoming franchisee to a book or other resource to find hiring guidelines," says Mariel Miller, vice president of the Franchise Business Division at Caliper Corp., an HR assessment and consulting firm in Princeton, N.J. "Franchisors are coming to grips with the fact that building a successful, long-term business has much more to do with creating a culture and distinguishable workforce than with transactional sales."