Acknowledging Success: How to Build an Effective Franchise Recognition Program

Operations & Training

Building an effective franchise recognition program can be a crucial element in promoting the actions, diligence and planning required for being a successful franchisee.

By Kristi Mailloux

Building an effective franchise recognition program must start with a simple goal: to acknowledge, to appreciate, and to award treasured franchisees. The basis for such recognition programs relies on the consistent achievements and accomplishments of its owners, each of whom contribute to the overall success of the company. The best programs are motivational, highly visible, consistent, simple and relatively easy to manage both administratively and financially. As a franchise system grows to hundreds or even thousands of businesses, one wants to be certain the recognition program can grow accordingly.

When developing a recognition program it is important to hear first hand from the owners. Getting input from the Franchise Advisory Council is a helpful way to make sure the company has all bases covered and the recognition and awards program is truly motivational. Take time to consider a variety of options, keeping in mind the entire franchise system and seeking ways to award recognition on a variety of levels. If the company already has a strong franchising model and adds an awards and recognition program, it can gain an insurmountable edge on the competition.

Recognizing Franchise Owners
There are various key metrics and accomplishments which a franchise company can build into its recognition and awards program to help engage franchise owners and align their activities with the goals of the organization. In the Molly Maid system, a residential cleaning franchise, the program recognizes franchise owners for various achievements, including:

• Tenure with the company,
• Lifetime sales levels,
• Annual sales growth,
• Exemplifying company values,
• Rookie of the year,
• Fostering positive neighbor relations, and
• Territory development and penetration. 

Acknowledging franchise owners who have shown dedication to the company by recognizing their business’ annual anniversary celebrates their commitment to the brand. Recognition can be as simple as a letter and anniversary plaque signed by the company president. However, as a franchise business matures, it is powerful to have home office executives visit on such major anniversaries as 10, 15 or 20 years. This type of public recognition, having home office executives recognize the longevity of franchise owners in front of their employee base is a remarkable way to promote a positive franchise culture.

Celebrating sales progress over the lifetime of a business can be a powerful motivator for continued growth as well. Consider recognizing franchise owners for a sales increment increase that makes sense in the business, i.e. each $1,000/week sales milestone. The recognition could come in the form of a letter, plaque, company-wide e-mail, or even a presentation made on stage during the company’s convention. Providing public recognition in front of peers for new levels achieved not only emphasizes acknowledgement of a job well done, but it can create a healthy competitive environment which encourages others to reach such goals. 

To promote year-to-year growth, contemplate implementing an incentive contest where franchise owners could win sought-after awards, like a big-screen television or an all-inclusive trip with fellow owners to a warm-weather destination. Keep in mind that financially, any recognition program should be self funding, meaning the incremental growth gained by the additional royalties to the franchise system should more than pay for the award. To promote healthy competition amongst the franchise-owner group, consider publicly posting regular status updates on eligibility for awards. This may spur other owners to work even harder to attain the reward.

Many companies have mission statements they consider to be the foundation of their company representing in words the culture they desire to project. What better way to make those culture building elements highly visible than to spotlight franchise owners who exemplify these values in front of the entire franchise system? Such an award might be called the “Shining Star” award or the “President’s” award. Candidates are typically very positive promoters of the business who go above and beyond the call of duty to help other franchise owners and are supportive of the home office efforts. A winning franchisee may be invited on an annual incentive trip or presented an award during the convention. Whatever the award, it serves to recognize those who represent the company well. 

Getting any business up and running has its share of challenges. However, there are some franchise owners who make it look easy. Their businesses grow at a rapid pace overcoming early challenges by driving through perceived barriers and focusing on their goals. Spotlighting these franchise owners with a “Rookie of the Year” award can be very encouraging to other new owners as it creates camaraderie among newer owners and fosters greater sharing of best practices. Highlighting the success of new owners who are growing exponentially can also help to re-invigorate more seasoned owners by providing fresh perspective and new ideas. 

To encourage franchise owners to dig deep into their territory development rather than just blanketing a large geographic area, consider recognizing those who are doing a great job of penetrating their local areas. While the company may not be recognizing franchise owners who are necessarily its top-revenue producers, this type of award can be quite motivational for those franchise owners who cover smaller geographic areas. The previously-mentioned ideas represent only a fraction of what’s possible in terms of designing a recognition program. Since every franchise system is unique, it’s important to tailor programs accordingly, seeking to create the greatest motivation and interest while simultaneously building good-will.

Recognizing Owners’ Employees
In addition to providing recognition for franchise owners, it’s also thoughtful to create awards that recognize the hard-working employees of individual franchises. Consider providing franchise owners with an opportunity to nominate their employees for national recognition amongst their peers. Not only does this provide the home office with a chance to learn about the special things that happen in the field, but such an award can inspire a great work ethic from employees. Another simple way to recognize employees is by utilizing a company newsletter. This way the franchise can share announcements and acknowledge a job well done. Whether big or small, rewards and recognition activities such as a trip to convention or a bouquet of flowers, foster a great work environment. In addition, the franchise company that seeks to highlight these special employees is building a good reputation as an employer. 

System-Wide Public Recognition
As mentioned earlier, highlighting franchise owners for their achievements can be accomplished a number of ways, including through newsletters, system-wide e-mails and franchise intranet announcements. When it comes to public recognition during large events such as conventions, there are few rules to live by to optimize the moment. 

Identify the right person from the team to present the award. Ideally, it should be someone who is very familiar with the franchise owner and his or her achievements. This provides more of a personal touch. 

Presenters should describe the awards as they are given out; highlighting the significance of the award and the impact the franchise owner has had on the company.

Having an awards guide or booklet at the table listing each award and featuring the recipient is a great way for the audience to stay in tune with what is happening, not to mention it serving as a wonderful keepsake for recipients.

For the most highly-coveted awards, consider giving the franchise owner a chance to speak at the podium. Such a speech often motivates others while also representing a great honor for the franchise owner.

Take photographs to give to each recipient as a gift and publish the pictures in the company newsletter.

Complete the awards ceremony with a heartfelt thanks to all of the franchise owners acknowledging the positive impact they have on the company.

Some of the most priceless moments during a convention can come during an awards presentation. Be sure to create awards that not only encourage owners, but will create memories and something to look forward to on an annual basis. 

Whether one is willing to admit it or not, most people appreciate positive recognition, especially those who take great pride in their work. Since the franchising industry tends to attract assertive people with a competitive nature, it should come as no surprise that they truly enjoy recognition. Building an effective franchise recognition program can be a crucial element in promoting the actions, diligence and planning required being a successful franchisee. Let’s face it, franchisees are a franchise system’s most valuable asset. By recognizing franchisees as such, it shows respect and appreciation to those owners who are an integral part of the system. Whether it’s a lifetime or a year’s worth of hard work, acknowledging and sharing in the success of others is a perfect example of the benefits of a franchise system: A group of people working together toward a greater good.

Kristi Mailloux is president of Molly Maid, Inc. She can be reached 734-822-6340 or