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Culture is the foundation of any organization. It encompasses the values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how employees interact and work together. In a multi-unit franchise operation, where consistency and brand integrity are vital, a strong, cohesive culture ensures that all locations align with the company’s mission and values. A positive culture fosters employee engagement, reduces turnover, and enhances customer experiences, directly impacting the bottom line.

In the fast-paced and competitive world of multi-unit franchise operations, such as McDonald’s organization with 10 or more locations, spread all around a state or even multiple states, with typical high turnover and non-committal employees, understanding and nurturing company culture is crucial. 

By evaluating and understanding the culture within the organization, franchise operators can identify potential shortfalls and uncover opportunities for growth and improvement. This is something that should be done regularly, because culture evolves at the speed of Tic-Toc. And you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Furthermore, when you measure culture, what you are measuring matters, and in this article I am going to talk about a few simple questions that can give you the insights you need to make shifts that will change outcomes.

To thoroughly assess the culture within a franchise operation, operators should consider the 6 following aspects:

  1. Vision and Mission: The guiding principles that define the company’s purpose and direction.
  2. Core Values: The fundamental beliefs that shape decision-making and behavior.
  3. Employee Morale: The overall emotional and mental state of employees.
  4. Team Morale: The collective spirit and cohesiveness of work teams.
  5. Trust in Management: The confidence employees have in their leaders.
  6. Respectful Environment: The presence of mutual respect and inclusivity in the workplace.

And now here are 6 simple questions that will reveal the true state of things:

  1. What is the vision/mission of the company?* (*if you aren’t sure, what do you think it is, based on what you have experienced?) This is an open response question.
    Importance: The vision of a company is its North Star. The goal towards which all efforts should bend. Knowing and understanding the company’s vision/mission ensures that employees are aligned with the organization’s goals. It also helps employees find purpose in their work and contributes to a unified direction across all locations. The question will reveal how well both the letter and spirit of the company’s vision have been articulated, and propagated to the far reaches of your organization.  Ideally everyone knows this with great clarity and is on the same page.

  2. What are the core values of the company? (*if you aren’t sure, what do you think it is, based on what you have experienced?) This is an open response question.
    Importance: Core values guide behavior and decision-making, and should both reflect the values of the company’s leadership and be aligned with delivering on the company’s vision. Evaluating whether employees understand and embody your corporate values reveals how well the culture is being integrated into the fabric of the company. Ideally, everyone knows these by heart, and they show up in the way things are done.

  3. How would you rate your morale? (1-5)
    Importance: Individual morale reflects personal job satisfaction and well-being. High morale indicates a positive work environment, while low morale may signal issues that need addressing. It also can color someone’s lens. If someone has low morale, it will change how they answer these questions. It will also help you get a sense of any discrepancies between individual and group sentiment.

  4. How would you rate the morale of the team you work with? (1-5)
    Importance: Team morale assesses the collective spirit and dynamics within work groups. It highlights the strength of teamwork and collaboration, which are crucial for operational success. An individual’s sentiment about team morale is especially valuable in conjunction with individual and collective average scores to generate valuable insights.

  5. Rate your level of trust that your manager has your back. (1-5)
    Importance: Trust in management is essential for a supportive and empowering workplace. Without trust, there is no effective teamwork. Without trust, you can’t rely on people or effectively delegate. Employees who trust their managers are more likely to feel secure, valued, and motivated.

    Alternative: For Managers, ask: Rate your level of trust that you feel your crew has for you. (1-5)

    Importance: This question will reveal if your managers have a clear understanding of the level of function of the team they lead. It can reveal discrepancies that are causing major breakdowns that can be easy to address once identified. 

  6. Rate how respectful the environment is to work in? (1-5)
    Importance: A respectful environment promotes inclusivity, equality, and mutual respect. In fact, feeling disrespected is one of the top reasons employees quit a job. Getting a good sense of how respected people feel is vital, because it is fundamental for employee satisfaction and retention. People value being respected as much or more than they value being loved.


It is simple to put these questions into Google Forms or Survey Monkey. We recommend you send these questions out to your executive leadership team, a handful of GMs and shift leaders and a handful of crew members, across a range of tenures. This gives a variety of perspectives from each level. 

Once you have these results, analyzing them is easy! Look and you will see where you have strength and where you have work to do. You will also possibly see discrepancies between management and crew level-folks, or a lack of consistency throughout your organization. Then, armed with this insight, you can craft cultural programming to shore up weaknesses and drive next level results.

This is a very simple survey, and yet it can provide valuable, actionable insights. Culture matters, but it can often seem like a tricky and ephemeral thing, hard to grasp or put your fingers on. In truth, it’s not that hard to read if you know what matters. We hope this simple tool supports you in Reading the Room and clearing the fog on what’s going on in your business.