Author Profile Picture

Jon Kennard


Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

How do you embed a learning culture in a franchise business?


In advance of the upcoming Saba webinar we caught up with Bernie Green, operations training and development manager, Yum Restaurants chain for KFC UKI.

What is your advice on how to monitor learning progress across such a large organisation?

Initially it is essential to have agreement on why learning is important and instrumental in improving business performance, and ideally this should come from senior management. Assuming this to be the case, it is critical that there is understanding and buy-in throughout the organisation as to the reasons learning progress is to be monitored. This is especially important when tracking learning progress through an organisation which is franchised.
Firstly start by identifying what you will track and monitor, you could also at this point define 'why' you are monitoring. Some possible reasons for tracking could include;
  • Compliance training – H&S or food safety learning
  • Required on-the-job training – including induction and orientation
  • Developmental learning – company or individual developmental learning
  • Ad-hoc initiatives – new products or company initiatives
All too often there is an eagerness to produce cumbersome reports which show every bit of detail about an employees learning history, but may require complex keys or training for the reader to be able to interpret the data. All too often the data does not add value in terms of being linked to key business performance indicators.
Secondly, it is important to define the audience types that will be using the reported data. Some audience types are below;
  • Management Team – may only require a high level dashboard or summary of progress and correlations to key performance results?
  • Trainers or learning specialists – may be looking to track 'time to complete' to understand how to improve the training being offered
  • Local or frontline managers who want to ensure that learners are completing the training
Finally, with a view on the first two stages it will be possible to consider the tools and systems which you will use to deliver your reporting suite, these could include;
  • The LMS system itself – each LMS typically includes a reporting suite which can be used from the outset to deliver required reporting
  • A specific reporting tool – which may provide additional functionality to enable you to manipulate the raw LMS data to deliver a comprehensive reporting suite or system 
Defining your strategy at the start will ensure that there is more openness throughout the organisation to track learners' progress. One fundamental output that should be common to all parties is to be able to report and measure the success of a learning program to incorporate improvements in the programme that will enhance the learner's experience.

What are your top tips to change the mindset of the powers that be to embrace technology?

Excitement and interest is key, but be realistic so you are able to manage expectations around costs, timescales and limitations of future technological advances.
To this end, support any proposals with 'grounded' research which calls out current system capabilities and limitations as well as planned future developments.
It will be important that they fully understand any initial costs, (license and implementation) as well as ongoing costs, (license, upgrades, system changes) and that this is presented with a forecasted return on their investment, both from a quantitative (£s and time) and qualitative (improved capability, talent pipelines) perspective.
Present a balanced and objective overview of the technology you are trying to implement, but do engage them through the excitement of the functionality the system will bring to them. Remember to be realistic. In all companies, there are instances of previous projects where the benefits have been overstated and the project delivery less than lacklustre.

How do you ensure this change is permanent across your business in future?

I cannot stress this more - follow up, follow up, follow up. It is so tempting to build the business case, engage and excite the business and organisation about the technology and system which is being developed for implementation, then celebrate the successful launch and implementation and then… move on to the next new or big idea - that's human nature and that's a recipe for failure.
When this happens the system which the business readily bought into is highly unlikely to succeed in the mid to long term and this will make getting buy in to future projects all the more difficult.
As part of any project which is looking to implement a new system or technology, be clear in defining who is responsible for the design and implementation versus who will own the embedding and upkeep following the implementation.
Planning effective follow-up and embedding systems will ensure that it does not become one of those short-lived corporate initiatives – consider linking a reward and recognition program with the technology system you have implemented.

What techniques of influence can you use to promote other initiatives across a franchise business?

One technique that is often referenced as a strong and reliable method is to present an initiative to the franchise which has been thoroughly tested and proven to deliver success and business growth. The benefit to the franchise is that it has been refined with any key learnings addressed and implemented so that it is ready to roll and deliver results for them.
Whilst this is a good method, is it enough? Does it engage the franchise on the journey and vision that has been defined? If it works in the core business does it mean it will work in a franchise business? Could it be implemented in a shorter timeframe, with quicker results if a different approach had been taken?
In some situations this will be the right approach, possibly where the franchise has been against an initial idea, or maybe a developing franchise where it was just not the right time for them to implement the initiative.
For me though, at whatever stage an initiative is, the key to successfully influencing franchise partners is through engagement at the earliest possible opportunity, ideally in the design and development stage. I have listed below some methods that should provide a catalyst to establishing a strong partnership journey from the outset;
  • Communication – regular two-way communications using a wide variety of mediums (meetings, newsletters, email, forums), ensure the communication is detailed and relevant to the audience.
  • Development and design – including the franchise partners in this stage will ensure that they are engaged in the initiative from the outset. Building an initiative with their input from the outset may also reduce any updating or changes further down the line as it will be designed to work in a franchise business model.
  • Pilot – with any new initiative plan to pilot and test with your franchise partners, this will really allow them to input into changes required to ensure it is a truly 'one system' initiative. It also provides you with a 'poster child' to add credibility to the system. This is especially powerful if the involved franchisee is viewed as particularly resistant to change or Corporate initiatives.
  • Return on Investment – this is about defining what the predicted or proven return on investment should yield from the new initiative. This can be a powerful tool of influence in any sphere, albeit key to ensure that not all R.O.I is down to numbers alone.
Bernie Green is operations training and development manager for KFC UKI. He has 15 years of HR experience, including Strategic HR Business partnership roles, specialised roles in Employee Relations, HR Technologies and Training and Development

To join the free webinar 'how to increase performance through a better trained channel' on Tuesday 25 September at 2pm, click here

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!