As the VP of Franchising at Primrose Schools, I have the pleasure of meeting with different entrepreneurs interested in becoming Franchise Owners. Establishing healthy work relationships is especially important in my job, but it makes any professional environment more rewarding and productive.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, manage a business or are part of a company, here are three habits I’ve found essential to building better work relationships:
- Align on goals and values up front. This is one of the most important parts of building strong work relationships. When I meet with a prospective Franchise Owner, I communicate Primrose Schools’ goals and values early to ensure that they align with the individual’s. If you use shared values as your compass, you’ll be on the right track toward building a collaborative, trusted and mutually-beneficial relationship. I work with prospects every day, and in order to set the foundation for a great relationship early on, our team hosts a Discovery Day where they can learn about our brand. It’s also an opportunity for us to learn more about the individuals and determine if we are all on the same page.
- Establish a strong two-way communication process. In any work relationship, it’s vital to have a good process for sharing information and collecting feedback. We stay in step with our Franchise Owners even before they sign an agreement and continuously after through regular postings on our intranet, e-newsletters, an internal blog, webinars and surveys to ensure that each and every one of them is informed and supported. More personal, ongoing support through our field team is also critical. Your communication might not have to be as extensive, but be proactive in setting up a two-way process.
- Ask and answer questions! As you speak with potential and current employees or colleagues, make it easy for them to ask questions so you can anticipate any rough spots before they happen. At the same time, asking them good questions is just as important. Ask what they want from their business or role and offer steps to help them achieve it. Ask about past successes and failures. Assure them that you will invest in them as long as they invest in your enterprise. And, be sure to learn their sense of humor! Things will run more smoothly if everyone can laugh together.
Remember, it’s never too early to start laying a foundation for a great working relationship. Establish trust early on by aligning your goals, and maintain good communication by being proactive and open to feedback. And don’t forget to keep asking questions! Using trust as your foundation and values as your compass from the start, you’ll be on the right track toward building a culture of collaboration and joint success for years to come.