Published On: March 13, 2018By
How do you measure the effect of learning on franchise success? Independent learning tech analyst John Leh looks closer

The world of franchising is vast and diverse, yet it’s widely agreed that training plays a central role in every franchise success story.  Here’s why:  When training is weak, inconsistent customer experience follows.  This ultimately puts both the parent brand and the entire franchise network at risk.

But that leads to a critical question.  If training is so vital for franchise success, how do you know which efforts are actually making a tangible business difference, and which are missing the mark?

Tying learning initiatives to business performance has long been a challenge for organizations in every industry.  This process continues to be a challenge.  However, technology now makes it possible to measure the business impact of learning programs, even across a network of hundreds or thousands of independently-owned franchisees, distributors or affiliates.

Learning Measurement and the Franchise LMS

A specialized franchise learning platform is the linchpin in this quest to measure the business impact of training.  With a franchise-friendly LMS, you can capture, track and analyze performance-related data from the moment a new franchisee joins the brand family.

What’s more, this kind of learning system is designed to exchange data with other enterprise systems, such as human resources, finance, supply chain management and customer relationship management, so you can add relevant business context to learning data.  It also has the capacity to aggregate data for reporting and analytics, so you can determine if learning is having the desired effect on business performance.

Let’s look at each of the measurement-related capabilities you should expect in a franchise LMS:  data collection, aggregation and analytics.  Working together, they can help you tie learning behavior to performance outcomes, and provide insights that inform your business decisions.

How Training Data Supports Franchise Success

1) Data Collection

Multiple data points are needed to evaluate the impact of training on a franchise business.  Data collection begins the moment a franchisee signs a contract and writes a check to seal the deal.

New units have a lot to learn, and they need to make everyone at their location productive quickly, so they can start realizing a return on their investment as soon as possible.  Franchisors can deliver onboarding content in digital form via LMS, so franchisees have instant “anytime, anywhere” access to the information and guidance they need to set-up their business, comply with franchise standards and accelerate their path to profitability.  Each of these early document downloads, course completions and other interactions can be captured and tracked with precision.

As training continues, more data accumulates.  For example, the system can capture all data representing how many franchisee employees have started/completed specific types of training, or mastered a particular skill, or earned a certification.  But learning data, itself, doesn’t tell the whole story.  A more complete and meaningful picture begins to emerge when learning data is aggregated and integrated with data from other enterprise systems.

2) Data Aggregation

Like other corporations, large franchise companies already rely on enterprise business systems with familiar names like SAP, Oracle and Workday.  These systems collect tremendous amounts of data that can be combined to yield valuable operational insights.

Many organizations opt to integrate these enterprise systems with specialized data warehouses to capture and archive “point in time” snapshots that help reveal key trends and patterns.  In this instance, learning data becomes another data set in the warehouse.

Smaller organizations may not have an infrastructure that includes data warehouses or enterprise systems, but their need for data is just as vital.  In this case, the LMS may act as the integration platform for data flows from other systems.  The prevalence of cloud-based integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) makes it possible for nearly any system to communicate with another through pre-written or custom integrations that leverage an application’s built-in APIs.

3) Data Analytics

Whether an organization uses a data warehouse or an LMS to aggregate data, the real fun begins with data analysis.  Emerging data manipulation tools are helping data scientists visualize correlations between data sets to yield insights that were never before possible.  What do these advances mean to franchise organizations?

In the past, training was measured only in terms of courses completed or hours delivered.  But with more robust learning measurement capabilities in modern learning systems, franchises can find answers to some of their most pressing questions about the business value of training.  Those questions often include:

  • Does our updated onboarding program reduce time-to-productivity for franchisee units?  By how much?
  • Which types of training work best to achieve certain outcomes – such as increased customer satisfaction, reduced inventory shrinkage or lower franchisee employee turnover?
  • Is compliance training measurably reducing health and safety violations?
  • Are franchise employees with certifications performing better than others?  By which metrics?
  • Does training associated with marketing campaigns, limited-time offers or product rollouts increase the likelihood of success for those initiatives?  How much more revenue or profit is correlated with training?

LMS Reporting:  Metrics That Matter

The last step in the process is reporting – translating data into meaningful metrics and delivering that intelligence in a digestible format that demonstrates value to business decision makers.  A franchise LMS can be configured to produce a variety of reports that answer relevant business questions for both franchisors and franchisees.  Here are several examples:

  • To avoid costly penalties and ensure business continuity, franchisees must ensure that the organization remains in compliance with federal, state and local regulations.  For instance, it’s essential to comply with health and safety specifications – from food and equipment handling exams to required professional licenses.  Reports should indicate compliance deadlines and whether appropriate training, testing or certifications have been started, completed or are overdue.
  • Franchisees also need to know how many employees have completed onboarding and specialized product or service training – and how that learning experience is affecting employee productivity, retention and profitability.  A franchise LMS can be configured to map this data as a “scorecard” that also indicates how current metrics compare with pre-defined benchmarks.
  • At the franchisor level, executives need aggregated metrics from across the entire franchise network – or by region, brand or other segment.  For each of these scenarios, reports can reveal how strongly training consumption correlates with average revenue-per-employee, profit-per-employee or overall unit revenue/profit.  They can also pinpoint where higher turnover or compliance violations indicate the need for more intensive training or management intervention.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that franchisors can’t dictate HR practices to their franchisees.  A franchisor can only make learning content available and encourage franchisees to use it.  Ultimately, franchisees decide when and how their organizations will use it.

Nevertheless, easy access to resources and insights that drive franchise success is a powerful incentive for franchisees to adopt recommended training.  This is one of the most compelling reasons for franchise companies to invest in an extended enterprise LMS with robust, customizable reporting capabilities.

Thanks for reading!


Want more insights? Replay this webinar:

Franchise Performance and the Modern LMS

How can training innovation elevate franchise business performance?  Learn from real-world examples!

Training plays a central role in the world’s most successful franchise organizations.  But what does it take to deliver effective learning programs to a network of independent partners?

Join John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning as he hosts a special panel discussion with franchise learning experts:

  • Trista Kimber, Director of Training & Design at Hooters of America
  • Christine Shanks, LMS Administrator at International Dairy Queen

In this dynamic one-hour session, you’ll get practical, proven advice about training best practices that lead to franchise business success. For example, you’ll learn how to:

  • Balance your organization’s learning objectives with those of franchisees
  • Leverage your LMS as a marketing and demand generation tool to recruit new partners
  • Engage learners in onboarding and ongoing experiences that ensure compliance
  • Streamline content development, delivery and other operational tasks
  • Identify key LMS features that drive franchise partner performance
  • Measure learning progress and tie metrics to business results

REPLAY THE WEBINAR NOW!


Need Proven LMS Selection Guidance?

Looking for a learning platform that truly fits your organization’s needs?  We’re here to help!  Submit the form below to schedule a free preliminary consultation at your convenience.

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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is 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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