Canadian Franchise

Addressing the Labour Market in the Canadian Franchise Industry


The Canadian franchise industry continues to be a committed and thriving sector that encompasses a diverse range of businesses. With franchises spanning various sectors such as food and beverage, retail, and services, the industry offers numerous employment opportunities, with one in 10 Canadians being employed, directly or indirectly.    Franchisees face staffing challenges in supporting the day-to-day operations of individual units.  Franchisors must hire and manage the appropriate personnel of the various head office departments that support the franchise network.  While franchisors are cautioned from providing too much support on human resource requirements with their franchisees to avoid common-employer situations, there is a definite connection between the corporate labour force and the long-term success of the brand.  

Branding is key to the success of any franchise, and employees play a crucial role in upholding and promoting the franchise brand.  Building a strong employer brand that highlights the unique benefits of working within their system is a great starting point.  This should include emphasizing career growth opportunities, training programs, and a positive work culture.  Franchise owners should instill a strong sense of brand identity among their employees, empowering them to embody the brand values in their interactions with customers.  Both franchisee and franchisor employees who align with the brand contribute to a consistent customer experience, enhancing the franchise’s reputation and market position.

Proper recruitment ensures the right fit for both the franchisee and the franchisor which is vital for maintaining operational efficiency and profitability.  As a corporate entity, franchisors should have established recruitment processes in place to attract talented individuals who align with the brand’s values and vision. Franchisees should also form their own, unique processes and have the benefit of communicating with other franchise partners to understand what effective recruitment strategies and best practices may exist throughout the rest of the network.  These strategies could include:

  • Advertising positions through multiple channels to attract a diverse pool of candidates.
  • Utilizing job platforms, industry-specific websites, and social media platforms to reach potential applicants.
  • Collaborating with recruitment agencies to streamline the process and access a broader network of prospective employees.
  • Specific industries or trades may allow for collaboration with local educational institutions through internships, co-op program or apprenticeships.

Often over-looked, both franchisors and franchisees should examine opportunities to hire persons with disabilities which helps create an inclusive workforce that benefits everyone.

Once hired, don’t underestimate how the on-boarding and training processes can prepare employees for success and longer retention.  Setting them up in a comprehensive training program that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles will help improve productivity and work satisfaction.  Emphasizing continuous learning and development can foster a motivated and skilled workforce, benefiting both the employees and the entire franchise network.  

Employee retention is a top priority for all franchises.   Performance reviews are integral to monitoring employee performance, identifying strengths and areas for improvement, and establishing goals.  Both franchisors and franchisees should consider conducting regular performance reviews to evaluate employee contributions and provide feedback.  Franchisors who also conduct brand compliance checks on individual franchise units have great opportunity to provide recognition to the franchisee and their staff.

Developing performance-based bonus plans can be an effective way to reward exceptional employee contributions, even at the individual unit level. These plans should be transparent, measurable, and tied to specific goals or key performance indicators (KPIs).  Profit-sharing programs are designed to incentivize employees, align their interests with the success of the franchise, and reward commitment. By sharing the financial rewards, employees feel valued and motivated to contribute to the franchise’s growth.  Profit sharing and performance bonuses can be implemented at both the franchisee and franchisor level to based on the specific goals and the financial capacity of the company.

Employee engagement initiatives such as team-building activities, recognition programs, and regular communication channels can help foster a sense of belonging, boost morale, and create a positive work environment.  Advisory Councils are an elected group of franchisees that speak for the larger group on issues and concerns within the network.  Similar groups are often formed at the franchise unit level with elected employees who meet regularly with the goal of providing feedback to the franchisee and create a productive and inclusive work environment.  Recognizing the importance of work-life balance and flexible scheduling options with the ability to manage their personal commitments can significantly contribute to both corporate and franchise job satisfaction and overall well-being.

While the labour market in the Canadian economy will always ride a roller coaster of performance and results, the franchise industry is well-positioned to continue being a major employer across the country.  Both franchisors and franchisees have many tools and strategies at their disposal for effective recruitment and retention. By prioritizing these aspects, franchises can attract and retain talented individuals, ensuring the success and growth of their network.


Andrew Carter, Regional Market Leader for BMO, has been working with franchisees his entire career. His career has spanned from the Franchise side to the Finance side. His strong operational background complements his financing knowledge, providing holistic advice to all franchising situations.