Published On: August 10, 2023By
What training issues can specialized franchise learning systems solve?

EPISODE 64: Franchise Learning Systems

Lefteris Ntouanoglou - CEO Schoox - Franchise Training Update 2023

Lefteris Ntouanoglou, President and CEO, Schoox

Several years have passed since our last in-depth look at the unique training needs of franchise organizations and the LMS vendors who serve this market. But that doesn’t mean these platforms have been on hold.

In fact, franchise learning systems are a growing segment of the extended enterprise learning landscape. And I can’t think of a better person to talk with us about the leading edge of these solutions than Lefteris Ntouanoglou. Lefteris is the President and CEO of Schoox, a platform with its roots firmly planted in the franchise world.

Since founding Schoox in 2012, Lefteris and his team have been on a mission to drive franchise learning systems innovation. So tune in as Lefteris brings us up-to-date on what’s happening in this space.


 

FRANCHISE LEARNING SYSTEMS – KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • People often assume that delivering franchise training is easy. Actually, for multiple reasons, it’s much more complex than other forms of extended enterprise learning.
  • Because franchise frontline workers tend to be younger and turnover is high, training speed is vital. This is why franchises prefer mobile learning delivery.
  • Measuring franchise training impact is particularly important to business stakeholders. However, this requires a creative approach to metrics, as well as access to robust data from multiple systems.

 

FRANCHISE LEARNING SYSTEMS – Q&A HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome Lefteris. For those who haven’t heard of Schoox, could you fill us in?

Sure. Schoox is a learning and talent development platform. We are a single-product company. We started about 10 years ago as a system designed for the restaurant industry, and have since expanded into other industries with similar needs.

Today, our system supports L&D holistically for organizations of all types and sizes. But our strength remains with franchises — or what we call multi-unit organizations — that share unique characteristics. Over the years, we’ve learned our customers’ pain points and built a solution tailored specifically to this type of organization.

Tell us more about that…

Franchise businesses have many unique problems. One of the biggest is that their structure is fairly complicated. It’s very different from a typical enterprise.

You’ll find a corporate part of the organization that operates like a typical enterprise. But there’s also a much broader ecosystem that may include corporate-owned stores, as well as stores owned by franchisees. It becomes more complicated when some franchisees own multiple stores, some own stores along with other franchisees, and some are part of larger entities that own stores.

So a franchise ecosystem is fairly complex, compared with a typical enterprise.

Right…

Keep in mind that an LMS is one of the very few enterprise applications that needs to reflect the full organization’s structure. In any other system, it is only a one-to-one reporting structure — John reports to Bob, Bob reports to Jake, and so on. That’s not the case in our world.

One of the reasons is that franchisees usually operate in a very decentralized way, which means each unit manages its own part of the organization. They’re sub-organizations, actually. So franchise learning systems are likely to have many admins — not just one.

In addition, depending on how a franchisor wants to operate, franchisees may have a lot of freedom to conduct their own training activities. Often, individual units tailor training to their needs, based on where they are located, and so on.

As you can imagine, there can be a lot of overlap. But we address these complex organizational realities in a highly efficient way.

 


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Nice…

It’s also very common for some employees to work at multiple stores, even when those stores are owned by different franchisees. This means these individuals have multiple accounts, so there’s no single profile that includes all the training data from various sources. But Schoox can address this issue.

And of course, another pain point is that franchise training typically involves a younger audience. And younger people are usually tied to their mobile devices. So training definitely must be mobile and it must be delivered very quickly.

Any other key challenges these organizations face that may not be typical for others?

Yes, franchises have several other specific needs. First, turnover is very high. A 100-200% turnover rate isn’t unusual. People come and go all the time. And as you can imagine, the business implications are unique.

On average, an employee may stay 4-6 months. And it’s hard to find new people. But once you find those people, you must very quickly get them up to speed. You don’t have the luxury of a long learning curve. They have to be productive immediately.

Makes sense…

Also, these stores often have high traffic, so new employees don’t have much time to spend on training. Think about working for a fast-food brand like Five Guys. It’s not like a white-collar job, where you might take 30 minutes during the day for an online course at your desk. For front-line workers, training needs to be delivered differently. This is one of the most important challenges we help customers address.

It’s also important to remember that many franchisees operate on a very tight margin, so every dollar counts. Training is normally a franchisor’s obligation, and they strive to get the most out of every dollar on behalf of franchisees. So everything about training needs to be relevant, useful and effective.

Do franchisees and franchisors agree on these needs? Or do you find friction between them?

There’s always a healthy amount of friction between them. But usually, they align. It depends on the type of organization and the brand itself.

Some of our customers operate in a more decentralized way than others. We have large customers where, for consistency, all the training is delivered only out of the corporate side of the organization. But we also have organizations of all sizes where franchisees are free to add their own training, without the corporate side even being aware.

Of course, that creates a much higher level of complexity for franchise learning systems.

 


Do you want more information and analysis on the top 40 learning systems in the world? Buy our 2023 Corporate Learning Systems Market Update report – now available through the 2nd half of this year at a 50% discount!


 

So many variables. How does all this translate into content? When people don’t have much time for training, what does content look like?

We see everything. There’s a good amount of on-the-job training. There’s a lot of informal training, as well. And of course, there’s some off-the-shelf content, especially for mandated training like food safety and alcohol serving. Because franchises are obligated to deliver this, and sometimes even state-certified, they must use training developed outside the organization.

But the rest of the training is usually built in-house. Less content is off-the-shelf, compared with standard enterprise organizations, because it’s based on compliance requirements.

We don’t see much classroom training for front-line workers. But it may be needed for corporate employees and other ecosystem stakeholders — for example, with franchisees’ local development agents.

Makes sense. So, from an integration standpoint, how are franchises handling single sign-on? I bet you see lots of data feed issues. Understatement?

Yeah, it can be a monster challenge. First of all, integration is always messy. But as technology evolves, more interesting tools become available. And as the ecosystem expands, we all need to integrate with each other. It’s much more intense.

Sometimes we integrate with the unified data set the organization has created and maintains on a daily basis. Or we may integrate with another tool they use that has done the work. For instance, we have integrations with scheduling software applications, which are often an important aspect of franchise operations.

It depends. There are many different situations. And often, franchise organizations don’t have a single source of truth for the entire population.

But single sign-on is insanely important because, with up to 200% turnover and no corporate email for frontline workers, you can’t have easy password recovery. You may not even have phone numbers for that purpose.

Good point. So could we talk briefly about content authoring and AI? How does it apply to franchises…?

 

…For complete answers to this question and more, LISTEN TO THE FULL 30-MINUTE PODCAST!


 

Learn More About Schoox

Check out the Schoox profile in our Learning Systems Directory.


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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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