Esteemed US publication, the Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org), has just published the observations of two management experts, Eliana Crosina, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College and Michael Pratt, the O’Connor Family Professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. These offer insight into the responses to redundancy of former employees of the Lehman banking group, but also give Aspray a new way of referring to the majority of those taking up our franchise opportunity.
These two esteemed observers have compared the period after job loss as a time of grieving, with individuals responding to what is more or less having a rug pulled from under them, removing their day-to-day stability, contact with co-workers and status, as well as eroding income and self-confidence.
They have suggested that individuals who suffer a loss of employment go through their period of grief and emerge as one of two types, depending on how they manage that grief. They become either a ‘recreator’ or a ‘repurposer’. (https://hbr.org/2019/04/how-people-redirect-their-careers-after-getting-laid-off)
Distinguishing recreators and repurposers
To explain, what a ‘recreator’ realises they miss most about their job is the relationships with fellow workers, so they try to engineer opportunities for themselves that see them entering other jobs that either provide similar relationships, or actually reunite them with former colleagues. This is probably the person who sends their CV around to recruitment agents and immediately starts searching for a position very similar to the one that they had.
A repurposer, on the other hand views their grief in terms of not being able to utilise the skills they deployed in their former job. Being able to use these in some way is their main driver and this often leads them down an entrepreneurial path, finding a means to tap into that skills-base and benefit from it.
A recreator seeks to preserve the environment to which they had become accustomed, whereas a repurposer reinvents themselves.H
How this manifests itself in our franchise opportunity
Aspray, as a franchisor offering professional franchise opportunities that embrace both the property and insurance sectors, spans professions in which words such as consolidation, lay-offs and mergers have all too commonly found in industry news headlines. The insurance sector has seen enormous change, with many smaller brokers being snapped up by big fish. The property sector has been through boom and bust, expansion and contraction. Both sectors produce a pool of individuals who have to decide whether to become either a recreator or a repurposer.
But this decision is also one to be made by those who leave a position in the forces, having served their term of duty. Here, we imagine that the same ‘mourning’ period must apply, albeit a lesser one, as leaving the job was not unexpected. However, suddenly not doing the disciplined, organised role that filled their day, must have impacts on retired soldiers, air and navy personnel, police officers and, at times, firefighters too. They all have to decide ‘what next?’
Repurposers in our franchise network
If we examine our recruitment process and the individuals who apply for territories, it is clear that we attract repurposers. The franchisees to whom we offer a territory are typically driven individuals with a belief in their own skill set and a keen desire to use it as soon as possible, for their own benefit. They want to be free of the uncertainties that have surrounded their past roles and put their future in their own hands.
They also have a vision, which they believe will be achieved through the application of their expertise within our proven business model. They may still be involved in insurance, property or project management, and disciplined day-to-day self-management, but the goal is now a personal one, not one that will benefit another entity for whom they are employed.
How redundancy spurs on ‘repurposing’ franchisees
In many ways, a redundancy can be a huge spur for some re-purposers. It can provide a lump sum that they can use to help buy a territory, for one thing. But, in people with the right mindset, it also becomes a driver – a means of an individual showing that they were worth more than a redundancy notice. With that little bit of added fire in the belly, a franchisee can potentially go a long way relatively quickly, if they remember the way in which that setback made them feel and use it in a positive way, by channelling the determination to prove people wrong.
Auto-repurposers and our franchise opportunity
Repurposing those skills you have acquired in the past offers a great start for some franchisees, but not all of the repurposers we see have been made redundant. Some skip what may be an inevitable mourning process and make the move into self-employment as a franchisee through a process of self-realisation. They recognise that answering to others is not for them and have a desire to manage their own day their own way.
These individuals have an energy that comes from within and which is not ignited by outside influences. They just work out that finding a professional franchise opportunity is the ideal career move, if they wish to put their future in their own hands and also influence how much money they will take home each month. This is auto-repurposing and typically occurs in those with a heightened sense of self; those in tune with what their inner voice is saying to them.
Career satisfaction through our franchise opportunity
Our Aspray repurposers do have a real purpose and it is not just about feeling rewarded through an application of skills, but also about the reward that comes with the job. By that, we mean the gratitude of both commercial and residential property owners who have been assisted with their property insurance claim, the messages of thanks from those who had almost given up on gaining a fair settlement from their insurance policy and the referrals that emanate from policyholders and brokers who introduce their customers at point of claim, who have appreciated that an extra mile – and often two or three more – were travelled as our loss-assessing franchisees supported their claim.
With all the economic uncertainty around at present, we expect to see many more repurposers, but also the auto-repurposers who just have to satisfy their curiosity and find out what it is like to run your own business. We hope, after a few years, that we can make these repurposers a little more rounded, by virtue of being part of an Aspray network that offers much of the support you would expect of good co-workers and which brings franchisees together, so they can acquire some more of the attributes of recreators.
With initiatives such as our group firefighter training days – a charity fundraising activity bringing our loss-assessing franchisees together at locations across the country – plus our much-praised national conference in November, we believe we create that ideal balance between recreation and repurposing, which can only be even better news for our clients and further improve our already impressive total satisfaction rate.