Employee Retention, Like Turtle Tanks?

Turtle Tank Franchise Hire Employee Retention

Franchisors and their teams always ask me what’s the best way to keep our best team members from leaving. While there is no one answer as there are many variables that impact employee happiness and ability to thrive; the question always reminds me of a story.


When I was younger my brother received a red-eared turtle for his birthday. When I turned nine, six months later I too received a turtle. For some reason I was very fixated on my turtle being bigger and stronger than my brothers. After all when you are 18-months apart everything is a competition.

I did everything I needed to from exact feeding schedule, to cleaning the tank, nothing was missed. Yet, my turtle was not growing much. After bringing this challenge up to my father he said “maybe the tanks to small.” I said “you are on to something here.” I tapped my piggy bank, did some extra chores, and scavenged my birthday cards to buy a bigger tank. What do you know… I beat him. My turtle appropriately named Minnie grew to full size for her species.

Eventually we combined our resources and got an even larger tank for both our turtles to live together. It was a match made in heaven.

The Lesson for Franchisors, Franchisees, and Top Talent

I believe the size of the tank did impact my turtles ability to grow. Turtles expand to fill the space they reside. When in the right environment with the right conditions a turtle can grow, thrive and even multiply (another story for another time).

The question that needs to be asked is are your team members in an environment where they can grow? I am talking grow their knowledge, experience, responsibility, and compensation. In an environment where unhappiness in the workplace is at an all-time high below are a few signs the tank is too small:

  • You have had the same responsibility level for multiple years
  • No investment is made into industry events/conferences, education, continual learning, certification or mentoring
  • You are not encountering new experiences – For example new projects, new relationships, new collaboration opportunities.
  • Compensation is capped and advancement is not likely based on current structure.

If you are a franchisor or franchise location owner this can be fixed. Connect with your team, collaborate, create a bigger tank together. If you currently reside in a tank that shows no signs of expanding and you are itching to grow it may be time for a change. You are far more capable than you could ever imagine.