Human Resources and Training
The Benefits of Creating Apprenticeship Programs
Vocational training and apprenticeship programs increase an educated and invested workforce.
By Jennifer Lemcke
With President Donald Trump and the Department of Labor’s recent news of the expansion of apprenticeship programs, U.S. businesses, including franchises, will be tasked with developing future generations of workers. According to the latest National Economic Impact of Franchising report from the International Franchise Association, U.S. franchises have been credited with creating 13.3 million jobs within the industry. Franchise companies should continue to grow in this forward direction to help employees, especially students, transition into long-term careers and assist in developing transferable skills.
Weed Man USA, launched its internship and two-year apprenticeship program in 2008. Our network of franchisees reported having eager-to-learn employees with great potential who just needed a structured program in order to take them to the next level. It motivated our corporate team to create a guide that would allow students to learn every aspect of running a business, from working in the field to marketing, to understanding the administrative departments and their roles. Franchise companies from all industries must lead by example, choosing to invest in the people behind their brand, to grow a successful business and build an intuitive workforce for the future.
Offers a partnership and a plan
Franchisors, franchisees and managers need to accept that their role is to help people develop their talents and work skills. Having an established educational program in place shows that a company is invested in the success of its employees, no matter what stage of development it is in. Great partnerships stem from building trust, mentorship and providing a clear line of communication as to how to succeed within an organization.
Multi-unit Weed Man franchisee Andy Kurth explained that his team would’ve lost some high quality candidates it had not had the blueprint to sell them on the growth opportunity ahead. A skilled, mid-20’s-year-old individual, Shane Griffith wouldn’t commit to working with Kurth unless he saw the opportunity for ownership or high-level management within his future. Griffith went on to head up the main marketing efforts for a new territory Kurth expanded into and is now back in Madison, Wisc. in charge of all sales and marketing efforts for the business. If employees don’t see opportunities for growth or don’t feel they are a priority, franchise owners will experience higher-than-normal turnover.
Provides skills training and life lessons
A solid program fully immerses employees, teaching them the ins and outs of a business and providing hands-on franchise industry experience. Providing employees with real case studies from businesses gives them the opportunity to learn how to properly evaluate data and develop a solution to positively influence the numbers. For instance, Matt Peters started working part-time with Weed Man at the age of 16. Throughout the eight years of his employment, he gained knowledge and experience in a variety of different departments and roles within the franchise. At the age of 24, he was ready and comfortable to pursue ownership of his own Weed Man franchise.
Apprenticeship programs give companies the platform to educate and enrich employees with both career philosophies and life skills, helping professional and personal development. Franchisees have reported maturity changes within their employees once they have learned what it means to be accountable and have sustainability. Businesses will see a noticeable change within younger employees who grasp the importance of appearance, attendance and leadership behavior.
Advancements and long-term careers
The most attractive aspect of laying out the framework for individuals is showcasing how they can seize control of their financial future. Adam Hughes was an Assistant Golf Course Superintendent who hadn’t received a raise in five years. In speaking with Kurth, he decided to take a step back to become a lawn care technician with Weed Man, because he saw a more opportunity for long-term growth. Within a year, Adam was a manager and by year three, he and another colleague helped with expanding the existing territory from scratch, later becoming a shareholder of the company. The Western Chicago branch he helped build was the fastest Weed Man unit to hit the $1 million revenue mark.
It’s not just about having a development plan in place, but continuously enforcing what it will look like for employees at years two, five and so on. Employees want to be a part of a winning culture, and when companies are able to show and explain to their staffs how their hard work will pay off, they will begin to see more dedicated and passionate leaders.
No one enjoys putting in work without knowing how it will pay off in the future. Apprenticeship programs and structured hands-on learning is the foundation for guided growth and business opportunity. All good companies know that they’re only as good as the people behind their brand. No matter the age or experience level of a candidate, companies that want to grow need to develop and invest in employees who are willing to work and learn.
Jennifer Lemcke is Chief Operating Officer of Weed Man USA and Turf Holdings, Inc. Find out more about Weed Man USA at www.franchise.org/weed-man-franchise.