High Quality Employees – It’s easy when you know how!

Your employees are an extension of your company brand. Their actions and presentation directly reflect your business. They are the first contact most of your customers will make with your company.

To have an outstanding florist business you must provide: exceptional customer service, quality products, and an environment that inspiring! This is true for both customers and employees. Your florist must also be rewarding to work in. I truly believe that on-going training and rewards for employees are crucial. Your business should have a culture of recognition, reward, security, challenge and continuing education. As a florist owner, you will be able to achieve consistently high standards of business growth when you embrace this culture, combined with regular staff training and careful selection of staff.

Selection: There are two ways of selecting employees. There are the people who are on your ‘radar’, by this I mean those who you meet or know who are positive, polite, quick to learn, and it certainly helps if they have floristry experience! It’s important to make a list of these people as you come across them. You never know when you may need new staff! Trial these people when you need another set of hands, and see how they fit in and work within your team.

The other way is by pro-actively advertising. Which ever way you choose to advertise, whether it’s on websites like Seek or Trademe, training organisations, newspapers or the local newsletter etc, your ad should be clear and simple. Ie: Paige Wills Florist requires a Junior Florist, this role also entails Retail and Telephone sales. Part time, 20 hours per week includes weekends. Phone Paige 0211819215 Mon-Fri, between 1pm – 4pm.

It is my preference to vet candidates on the phone first, as it gives me a quick indication of their demeanour and telephone etiquette. This will be important if they are to use the phone in your florist! This also gives you an idea of whether they can follow your simple directions for contact. I treat this call as a pre-interview, this allows me to ‘weed out’ any candidates clearly unsuitable for the role. Outline quickly (in less than one minute) the position, and ask if they are still interested. Write down their name and contact details. I suggest you have a short list of questions to help you quickly and efficiently identify: relevant experience, if they are available for the hours you need, drivers licence, and anything else you believe important to the role. If you are happy with their answers, schedule an in studio interview.

Many employers forget that they are being interviewed just as much as you are interviewing the candidate! Be professional, prepared, punctual, and polite. Prior to the interview, make a list of questions based on the job description, and make a list of the attitude, and skills required for the position. It is important to take this opportunity to explain your florists’ values, customer service philosophy, your shop rules and policies, exactly what the position entails and what will be expected of the candidate, should they be successful. It is so important to find the right person for the job. If the interview is for a florist/designer, ask them to make multiple items, to test and measure the candidate’s professional knowledge, skills and practical ability.

Job Offer: Once you have decided to hire, consult the appropriate people, and make sure that you have all your iii’s dotted and ttt’s crossed. If you have a workplace manual or employee handbook give this to them now. Explain your expectations for work hours, breaks, parking, pay days, holiday pay, dress, customer service, personal calls, sick days etc.

Induction: The florist industry is notorious for its’ lack of intial training! I have worked, both permanently and casually at numerous florists, at all different levels. Not a single one ever made any formal attempt to train me as a new staff member! I was expected to fumble my way and figure it out on my own, or to constantly question other staff members as to how they did certain things and what to charge. This is the absolute opposite of how new employees should be introduced to your business! Professionally induct all new staff members and up-skill them to your required level. Give your new employees quality training. Give them a folder with all the relevant pricing and procedures so they have it all at hand. You are developing a long-term relationship. You want your new staff member to reflect your brand to your customers and co-workers as seamlessly as possible.

Culture and Standards: I think it is important for each and every staff member to have a clear idea of what is expected of them, what the procedures are, what the opportunities are for on-going training and growth, and to feel supported and motivated. How can you make this clear to your employees? Regular meetings and discussions are helpful for both sides.

Rewards and Motivation: Floristry is not known for being a well-paid profession! Unfortunately there have been countless fantastic florists who have been lost from our industry! Sadly there are unskilled jobs out there offering higher starting wages than for those who have been florists for years. I also know you’re probably reading this right now thinking “I would love to pay my staff more but I can’t afford to” so what is the solution? Incentive plans! If your employees are rewarded for being: more efficient, making less mistakes and making more sales then don’t you think they would be more productive? Of course they would! Money is of course the obvious reward and usually the most motivating! I could write pages on this subject, but the essence is that you CAN afford to share more profits with your staff because your staff will be motivated into performing better, and essentially bringing you in a lot more money. There are always alternatives to actual cold hard cash. I suggest that you discuss this with your accountant. What are your benchmarks for reward? Are these for individuals only or across all the employees? How are these measured? What are the ways could you afford to reward your employees? Could you give them some flowers for free? Could you give them a day or half day off for achieving X amount of increased sales? If you still aren’t sure.. ask them!

Quality employees are important to any business and your florist cannot thrive without them!

Written by Paige Wills

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