There’s been a lot written about this term “franchisee engagement”. So what really is it and do you really need it? And if you do need it and don’t have it, how do you get it?

We all think we recognise disengaged franchisees when we see them. They’re the ones at franchise meetings who look as though they’d rather be somewhere else – anywhere else. If they turn up at all, that is.

Or are they?

Just because these franchisees may not be engaged in the franchise, does that mean they’re not engaged in their own businesses and performing to expectations?

Many franchisors would argue that in most cases, it does.

But Fred Berni disagrees.

“When a franchisee is selected, it should be because they have the potential to perform – not because they ‘fit in’,” says the president of Canada’s Dynamic Performance Systems. “‘Fitting in’ has nothing to do with actually performing at high levels.”

Many people would argue that ‘fitting in’ is the same as ‘franchisee engagement’. But are they the same thing?

According to psychologist Greg Nathan of Australia’s Franchise Relationships Institute, franchisee engagement is all about three things:

  • Enthusiasm for the brand
  • Commitment to the system
  • Connection with franchisees and franchisor

Given that even in best-practice franchise systems, many franchisees may only see their franchisors three or four times a year, and only meet with their fellow franchisees at annual conferences and the odd franchise meeting, is the third point as important as the first two?

And while there is no doubt that the first two points will have a direct impact on franchisee performance, will the third? Really?

We’ve discussed franchisee engagement in a previous article, but believe the issue is so integral to franchising that it deserves to be discussed in greater depth. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be opening up discussions on Linked In and Twitter around the questions we asked at the beginning of this article:

  • What is franchisee engagement and do you really need it?
  • If you do need it and don’t have it, how do you get it?

We welcome your views (feel free to email Robin La Pere direct to and will publish further responses and findings in upcoming articles.

Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants

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Robin La Pere of No Ordinary Consultants has been a franchise manager and franchisor, and is currently working as a franchise consultant with a number of franchise and licence businesses to improve their engagement with their franchisees and the performance of their franchises.





"Robin had a significant and positive
impact ... on Signature Homes as a whole, as evidenced by the fact that our business became one of the fastest growing businesses in New Zealand, winning a Deloittes Fast 50 Business Award in 2003, seeing total sales soar by more than 500%."


          Gavin Hunt, Signature Homes