Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Bill 148 has made many headlines since its announcement of new labor laws early last year. Because of this, we’ve seen how changes to Ontario’s minimum employment standards have caused many business owners to modify working conditions and pricing arrangements as they look to control budgets. This has impacted both the employer and employee, where in recent news, business owners have been the in the spotlight negatively; whether it be for responding poorly to the minimum wage increase or for making reductions to offset sick leave pay.

Where employees take to social media, employers’ responses to the labor changes continue to be in the public eye. Unfortunately, small businesses and franchise owners are surrounded by much of this attention. If dealing with Ontario’s new labor laws wasn’t enough, add in brand reputation management to the mix for franchise owners, owing to the responses of others to these changes. While things like benefits cuts don’t infringe on Ontario’s labor standards, as a franchise partner, your actions have larger consequences. What you do as an employer, will echo the value of your brand, especially that of a global brand.

As such, an increasingly common question we get from franchise owners is: from an HR perspective, what steps can be taken to protect business reputation from rogue franchises who do not believe in the values of the overall brand? Take a look.

5 HR Tips for Franchise Owners

Whether a franchisor or franchisee, there are a lot of ways to manage your brand’s reputation while supporting your partners. Here are 5 HR tips when it comes to employee management in light of Ontario’s changing labor laws.

  1. Make sure there is an HR resource in the form of shared policies and procedures for all partners to utilize. Here, it is especially important to consider a social media policy detailing specific guidelines for all employees.
  2. Create a progressive and encouraging working environment that drives employees to endorse your brand and your franchise business.
  3. Stay up-to-date with legal and workplace trends to escape the negative consequences of financial expenses or lowered staff morale.
  4. Plan for and monitor employee reactions to workplace changes and foster an environment that employees can have open communication; this includes keeping an eye on employee reviews on recruitment sites and platforms, such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. The purpose is to avert staff from voicing any undesirable thoughts publicly, or to be able to address them in a prompt manner.
  5. Consider outsourcing to ask a professional for legal or HR advice before making any big employment changes, such as layoffs or benefit cuts.

While brand management goes beyond employee management, assessing your HR practices is a good first step to prepare yourself.