In an earlier article, we looked at how a franchise intranet can promote connectedness for franchisees. We develop the theme in this article by looking specifically at how franchise intranets can be an effective tool for managing workplace safety and health across a franchise.
Franchises Are Big Business
Research suggests that in 2016 there are just under 800,000 franchise establishments in the US, directly employing over 9 million workers. A great many of these franchises – 65% of the total – are in the heavily regulated hospitality sector with 51% directly involved in the restaurant/food service industry. Workplace safety and health is a major concern for these franchisors and ensuring compliance with legislation and regulations across numerous and geographically spread franchises, is an ongoing headache.
Managing workplace safety and health doesn’t have to be a complicated and costly exercise. A franchise intranet can streamline the whole process for franchisors and can include mechanisms for reporting and ensuring compliance. Managing workplace safety and health doesn’t have to be a complex and costly exercise. A franchise intranet can streamline the whole process for franchisors and can include mechanisms for reporting and ensuring compliance.
What Is A Franchise Intranet?
A franchise intranet is basically a private website that can only be accessed by your franchisees. It contains all the key information and business tools that franchisees need to get the job done. It’s an invaluable resource that will help with your franchisee communications, support, training, and operations.
Typically a franchise intranet will include the following elements:
- up-to-date news and corporate information
- document management system
- corporate branding resources – logos, adverts, marketing materials
- online training programs
- collaborative working spaces and project areas
- message boards and discussion forums
- the ability to search information across the site or a specific area.
Workplace Safety And Health Requirements
In addition, there is a long-established system of food safety control and regulation which occurs at the federal and regional level. The main agencies involved include the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Inspection Service. Each state also has its own agencies and regulations which will differ in their organization and complexity.
As you can see, potentially this is a minefield for each franchisee to navigate. Ultimately franchisors have an obligation to ensure that their business systems include all reasonable measures to ensure the safety and health of those affected by the franchise.
Getting this wrong can be an expensive business. It could result in any or all of the following:
- fines due to non-compliance with legislation
- direct costs in relation to a franchisee failing in its obligations
- increased insurance premiums
- indirect costs because of the damage to the franchise’s brand and reputation.
How A Franchise Intranet Can Make A Difference
A franchise intranet can include the following features that will help you manage workplace safety and health:
- Electronic learning management systems
- Compliance tracking for all franchises
- Reporting mechanisms
- Sharing best practices and knowledge across the franchise.
E-learning Management Systems
Cloud-based e-learning management systems are a proven cost-effective and flexible way to deploy critical training and knowledge-based information. The e-learning management system will identify the essential safety and health knowledge that is required across the franchise to be compliant with federal legislation. It can then be customized at the state or regional level with any specific local requirements. The e-learning could take many forms including webinars, quizzes, how-to videos or blogs.
E-learning has many advantages over traditional instructor-led classroom training. This form of training is not always consistent among different classes and tutors. Also, the costs of qualified trainers and the time away from the job for participants and training facilities can quickly add up.
In contrast, e-learning delivers consistent content to all learners, minimizes disruption to normal business activities and allows staff to train at their own pace and outside of normal working hours. Another benefit is that e-learning programs can be quickly and easily modified in response to changes such as new legislation or guidelines.
Compliance Tracking For All Franchisees
Your franchise intranet will be able to keep track of all safety and health training so that you can provide evidence of your compliance with bodies such as the OSHA.
With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can be sure that every staff member across the franchise has completed the correct training at the correct time. You can also check that all the relevant personnel have accessed or downloaded the latest standard operating procedures.
In association with the compliance tracking, your franchise intranet will include reporting features that will streamline the administration of training. In this way, you will, for instance, be able to identify poorly performing franchisees and can intervene early to implement systems and processes that stop issues from becoming big problems.
Sharing Best Practices And Knowledge Across The Franchise
Another important way that a franchise intranet can help manage workplace safety and health is in the opportunity it affords to share knowledge and best practice across the franchise. A range of intranet collaboration tools such as discussion forums, activity streams, project team pages, and message boards enable collaboration between franchisees and help to develop a sense of mutual support and connection.
These collaborative working spaces could involve the sharing of information, examples of best practice or frequently asked questions. Topics could cover all aspects of the franchise operations and not just workplace safety and health. The franchisor has an overview of these working spaces and will, therefore, have a helicopter view of workplace safety and health issues and can quickly address any common concerns before they get out of hand.
Franchise Intranets Are Good For Business
A tool that makes it easier to manage workplace heath, safety, contributes to higher employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty while also bringing other business benefits is a no-brainer.
A franchise intranet can help to mitigate the risk and negative publicity associated with breaches of workplace safety and health. And it has the added benefit of improving internal communications and increasing efficiency and productivity across the franchise.
To find out what a difference a franchise intranet could make to your business, contact us at MyHub today.