Where are the Y’s?
| 5 Areas to attract
a Generation "Y"
Franchisee to a
Christine Lewis | Consultant | 10 THOUSAND TREES
There has been a lot of research lately around what Generation "Y" wants and how they are going to change the workforce. If you have ever tuned into TEN's "Talkin' bout my Generation" they talk of Gen Y as the offspring of the Baby Boomers, those born sometime in the late 70's up to 1990. They are often described as questioning authority, having exceedingly high expectations and want what they want now, not tomorrow. Usually, they are also seen as fiercely independent spirits who love flexibility and autonomy with their decision making, despite their accompanying paltry work experience. If you are a manager and reading this, it probably sounds like Gen Y is a high maintenance pain in the neck.
Yet the later Gen Y's, now in their mid-twenties and up, are the greatest pool of potential franchisees which franchisors just don't seem to be tapping into. Why is this? Because many franchisors focus their attention on obtaining older, more established individuals and forget that although Gen Y seem like high maintenance, they are also passionate and driven people just waiting for the direction and opportunity that being a franchised business owner would give them.
So if you are a franchisor, think about how you can offer Generation Y what they need. If you are already offering these things, simply let that untapped market know about the DNA fit. These are 5 key areas of your business to highlight or focus upon when trying to catch the best potential Gen Y franchisee.
Though Gen Y likes autonomy few businesses survive without structure. A franchise system is just the place for these budding business owners to find it. Following the franchisor's recipe for success the eager and energetic Gen Y can deliver to his or her full potential within the four walls of their own business. Clearly show the younger crowd that by adhering to the fundamental structures of the operation and all of the brand's presentation guidelines they don't have to reinvent the wheel, just make their wheel go faster.
Often Gen Y thinks the only way to be flexible is by starting up a business from scratch. Flexibility refers not to the business structure and streamlined processes, but the flexibility of a franchisee to make local decisions at the coal face, injecting stores with some individualised personality, or quickly responding to particular situational needs. This means that Franchisors who clearly show where flexibility IS encouraged and built into the structure will appeal to Gen Y's entrepreneurial streak.
3. Open Lateral, Vertical and Sideways Communication
Since Generation Y has an immense respect for good ideas that create change for the better but little intrinsic respect for hierarchy, you should allow ideas to flow openly and constantly throughout your organization. Furthermore, because of consumer contributed content and social networking Generation Y brainstorms collaboratively through a variety of media: Facebook, Linked-in, mobile, Twitter, video conferences, you name it which means they already have a leg up in the marketing and networking arenas as well. Franchisors that use multiple forms of communication to allow their Franchisees to network between head office and among themselves will be competitively positioned to catch savvy and profitable future owners. Companies that can use media infrastructure to their advantage will find themselves with Gen Y's eager participation time after time.
4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to... the Franchisee
Because Gen Y is young and tech savvy but often with little experience it gives them a perspective that is different from older franchisees. Franchisors should see a Gen Y Franchisee as an opportunity to stay fresh with the biggest market of consumers: 18-35. Franchisor's should actively appreciate and respect the feedback from owners and actually USE this feedback in how business runs. Also, because Gen Y is eager to learn from others, a diverse ownership pool gives potential franchisees access to all different types of information. Studies show that the more perspectives and insights a business has when it looks at itself, the more resilient and stable they will be in the future. If you pride yourself on diversity, Generation Y will as well.
5. Socially and Environmentally Minded
A full 75% of Generation Y heavily considers the social and environmental record of their future employer when deciding where to work (Harvard Business Review, Sept 2009). Gen Y cares about creating a community and giving back. Furthermore, they feel the relevance of things like climate change as it is their children that are going to be directly affected if businesses and government do nothing. They will look at Franchisors who don't initiate head office community and environmental programs nor encourage their branches to take on local community initiatives or in store greening as less flexible and supportive in other areas as well. Don't lose out on a future owner simply because you have placed community and environmental responsibility as a low priority.
Finally Gen Y's "NOW" mentality may have them wanting to go with their gut, but they will carry out their due diligence and research can drive that gut instinct towards certain Franchises and not others based upon these 5 components. Would your franchise make the grade?