In some regards, a franchise opportunity is no different than any other business - its success depends upon the hard work and effort of quality employees. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement. Conducting annual performance appraisals can keep employees and a franchise operation in tip-top shape.

No matter what the occasion, giving worker evaluations can be uncomfortable and difficult. Everyone reacts to criticism differently: some may become defensive, while others may believe an employer is going easy on them. There are a few tips, though, that can help unit owners communicate clearly and avoid any resentment.

First, giving an evaluation filled with a generalizations such as "work harder" or "needs to improve quality of performance" does not really help employees change their habits. Instead, franchisees should be specific and set clear goals, such as "increase sales by 20 percent over last year" or "increase customer satisfaction on surveys by 10 percent," FranchiseKnowHow.com writes. Being specific now will also make it easier to conduct performance reviews in the future - unit owners will have established benchmarks that an employee can be easily measured against without dispute.

When creating goals, it is important to follow a few guidelines. First, to encourage improvement, unit owners should give workers a timeline within which to make the necessary changes. Whether change needs to happen within a few weeks, months or this year, franchisees should designate a firm date and stick to it.

Unit owners, however, must be realistic of what they can expect from their employees. Setting impossible goals and standards only ensures that workers will inevitably come up short, giving them little incentive to work hard. Goals shouldn't be too easy to achieve, but they must strike an appropriate balance, the Web site explains.

Additionally, franchisees should remember that it is a performance evaluation, not a personality appraisal. If an employee could be deemed "angry and emotional," unit owners should focus on how this behavior manifests itself in the workplace and what types of problem it causes. "For example, you can say the employee 'has been insubordinate to the supervisor twice in the past six months. This behavior is unacceptable and must stop,'" the Web site suggests.

At the end of the evaluation, employers should give workers time to express concerns and offer feedback. The information employees provide will not only allow them to feel like participants in the process, but will help franchisees improve the workplace and unit operations.

The Liberty Tax Service franchise opportunity is #9 on the fastest growing franchises list of the 2010 Entrepreneur “Franchise 500.” Our a tax franchise is an affordable and viable business choice. Each office provides thorough, computerized tax preparation coupled with superior customer service. For the best small business opportunity in the income tax franchise industry, choose Liberty!