Digital Learning: X Factor for the success of your franchise network?

The franchisee is your brand, your products, your image. Have you considered Digital Learning to be sure that your franchisees meet your quality standards and business practices and to help develop their sales outlet? That is what NaturHouse did. Here is their story.

The franchise: a concept that is becoming increasingly popular

The franchise concept is experiencing increasing success in Europe, with more than 13,000 networks. And the model, advantageous for both the franchisee and the franchisor, is attractive in all areas (hotels, food service, service sector, etc.).

The NaturHouse network and its dietetics, nutrition and well-being centres are part of this growth. Their network is dedicated to weight loss support and now has nearly 2000 establishments around the world. “By opting for the franchise model, the entrepreneur benefits from the marketing and commercial strength of the network, a tested and validated concept, and a complete and standardised product range. At the same time, the franchisor is developing its network and its brand more quickly, reducing risks and investments,” explains Julie Hourtal, Training Manager at NaturHouse.

“Digital Learning can break franchisee isolation”

But in return, the franchisor must also offer its franchisees real support in: Conveyingits concept andexpertise, Upholding its values ​​and quality standards, in accordance with the commercial practices it has defined,Avoiding isolation for the franchisee, who must feel that the brand is on their side at all times.The solution? Provide regular training, according to Hourtal: “It’s essential to train franchisees. This guarantees that company values and knowledge of products and services, is transferred. We provide comprehensive initial training for franchisees that includes information on management techniques, our products and our concepts. We also provide ongoing training to constantly remind franchisees about our values and train them on new products… It’s a constant job.” 

Concrete advantages of Digital Learning for franchise networks

But how does a company provide continuing education for 100, 200 or more people, like NaturHouse does?

“We initially organized face-to-face training. But over the past two years, we have moved to Digital Learning to simplify and accelerate training and reduce the cost for the company and the network”, says Hourtal. And when asked about the benefits of Digital Learning to support its network of franchisees, the list is long: Performed remotely, digital training avoids travel costs.Followed on demand, the training modules let the franchisees organise themselves according to their availability and their needs.  Distributed simultaneously to all franchisees, digital training ensures consistent practices and knowledge, and speeds up transmission.“In the past, training the entire network on a new product could take us a year! With Digital Learning, one week is enough.”  The cost of Digital Learning does not increase with the number of franchisees. On the contrary, the move to e-Learning training has helped move from a dozen full-time trainers to three trainers at NaturHouse.  The flexibility of digital formats makes it possible to adapt to all topics: practical, legal, commercial, management, logistics, marketing, etc.

Varied formats improve training effectiveness

If the assets are numerous, Digital Learning is not the only solution. “We chose Blended Learning: the initial training is always done face-to-face, allowing us to get to know the new franchisees better. Continuing education is then mainly digital. However, during a major development of the concept, or for the launch of a flagship product, digital training can be used to introduce the subject, then face-to-face training is organised to deepen it and to answer questions”, says Hourtal.  Another advantage of Digital Learning: the diversity of formats, to adapt to topics and avoid burnout. NaturHouse offers quizzes, games, multiple choice quizzes, videos, case studies based on fictitious clients to which the learner must bring a customised program, evaluations, memo cards and more. It’s a complete platform for learning, checking their knowledge or updating their skills is provided, even if the virtual classroom has not been deployed, so as not to impose additional technical equipment on franchisees.  For now, NaturHouse has not deployed collaborative or social features, which are designed to create a link between franchisees. “You have to progress in stages. Today, even franchisees who are not comfortable with new technologies are embracing Digital Learning. Social Learning will come later”, concludes Hourtal. 

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