Entrepreneurial Advice: How to Hire



Dear Holly,

I’m a florist in Brooklyn and needless to say, my busy season is underway.  My question for you is about staffing.  I basically double my staff this time of year, and to say that hiring is a challenge feels like the understatement of the year. 

I have high expectations, and I am always looking for the most professional, talented, and engaged staff that I can find.  My problem is that I feel like it’s impossible to find even a small group of people who fit my requirements. 

I get frustrated and tend to lose hope about the process.  I know that this is affecting my business.  Do you have any advice on how I can improve my hiring process so that it’s more effective?  I’m tired of feeling let down and want to turn this process around.

 Thank you,

Fretful Florist


Dear Fretful,

I know how discouraging and overwhelming hiring employees can be.  Yet the hiring process is crucial to your success, and it’s something that most owners rarely invest time and energy into improving.


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The problem I typically see, and what you’re describing here, is that we assume that we’ll find stellar employees who will just waltz through our doors fully trained, fully invested, and ready to go.  We fail to recognize ourselves as leaders who are responsible for developing our staff.   We just assume that they should arrive ready to begin working.

One of the biggest problems with small businesses is that there’s very little effort put into training employees.  We often think that training periods are only for much larger corporations, so we overlook the importance of taking a significant amount of time to develop an employee.  At most, we spend a day or two with them and assume that’s enough time for them to understand the systems and protocols that we haven’t even fully clarified.

So, my advice to you is to first lower your expectations.  What I mean by this is that you must be willing to develop your staff, rather than hoping to find the perfect candidates.  You’ll be far more successful with this process and you’ll rarely feel let down.  Don’t wait for the ultimate employee to show up; take responsibility for building the best employees.

Second, be in charge of the training process.  Don’t just throw someone into the mix and assume they’ll catch on.  I see this so often when clear directions and guidance aren’t given!  When you don’t write out the protocols and use systems, you leave far too much room for interpretation and mistakes.

Third, give employees time.  Plan ahead and know that a well-trained team takes at least a month to come together.  Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and hope that people will be at full speed within days.  This is where having a clear training schedule is valuable.  You know and they know what level of competency is expected of them and when it is expected.

I know you’re thinking, “How do I have time to do this on top of everything else that I am doing?”  It’s really an investment up front when you create this new system for hiring, and every time you use it, the process will become easier and smoother.  The success of your business is dependent on the competency of your team.  You can’t afford not to find the time to sort this out now if you want to build a business that thrives.

Good luck!


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