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  • Holiday Help: Hiring and Training, Part 2

    Floral Finance®, December 2000

    Once you've found your holiday part-time employees, it's time to train your new staff.

    Training Holiday Help

    You can't afford to let service slip at the very time you have the most customers coming through the door.

    Don't try to train someone when the pace is already fast and furious. That will only lead to mistakes, ruffled nerves and unhappy customers.

    Schedule training times well ahead of the holiday. That may mean setting aside a couple of evenings or scheduling training sessions before or after your regular business hours. On-the-job training during a slower, pre-holiday period can be especially helpful.

    Use more than one form of communication. For example, tell new employees how to use the cash register (or POS) — show them, let them try it themselves and have them read step-by-step instructions.

    Assign Training Buddies

    Consider partnering each of your new employees with a seasoned professional.

    A buddy system spreads the training out into many hands. This makes the task easier on everyone and, most likely, more effective. The trainee won't feel so alone.

    Use the Same People

    Attracting holiday employees who come back again and again will make life better for you and your customers.

    You won't have to spend as much time trying to find and hire new workers. You also won't have to spend as much time training them.

    All it will take is a quick refresher each time, plus information on any new products, policies and procedures.

    Your customers will be happier because they will receive the high level of customer service they expect. Some will even recognize the returning employees from the previous holiday and relate to them more comfortably.

    Simplify Tasks

    Instead of expecting a temporary worker to be a jack-of-all-trades, hire for very specific tasks. Telephone sales, front counter, delivery, flower care and handling or arranging. Keep the task well defined.

    A side benefit of this approach is that it will also open up the potential labor pool. You will be able to hire less skilled workers — individuals who may not be able to do everything but can do one or two tasks quite well.

    For example, instead of hiring a full-fledged holiday designer, simplify the task. Hire arrangers instead.

    Set up recipe arrangements. Teach arrangers how to cut and insert stems properly. Then, all they'll have to do is follow the arrangement recipes. They don't need to know how to design creatively. They just have to follow a pattern.

    Simplifying tasks is actually a good idea all year long if your shop is large enough. It will have the same benefits during non-holiday periods.

    The Key to Profitability

    To run a profitable flower shop, base the size of your permanent staff on your non-holiday sales level. Don't keep extra help around during non-holiday periods.

    Then, add temporary personnel for the holidays. Sure, this will be a challenge. But it can be done successfully.

    Hire early. Train effectively. And reduce staff as soon as the holiday is over. You'll cover the holiday crunch with grace.


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