Tammy Sons is the CEO of TN Nursery and an expert plant advisor who studied horticulture. She enjoys her family, the outdoors and nature.
Finding the right people for your business is essential. Employees are the fuel that keeps your business going. I’ve found that one of the main challenges in running a nursery business is finding the right people willing to give their all to the business. Some employees come into the business with the mindset of working for a short while before looking for better-paying opportunities. While there’s nothing wrong with being as ambitious as an individual, it presents a considerable challenge for smaller businesses. Finding and retaining employees becomes difficult.
Another common issue with recruiting employees is employers wanting to keep their expenses low, which results in low wages for the employee. But this comes with its own set of challenges. Low wages attract a different level of applicant than someone looking for a higher wage. As a business owner, you might have to let go of skilled workers because they want better pay that your business can’t afford.
How can you cope with these business challenges? After several months, I finally hired the best individuals for my nursery business. There are a few things I learned along the way.
Know what you’re looking for.
Knowing exactly what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate is essential. Hiring employees just because you need a helping hand means you’re more likely to hire the wrong person. What skills and characteristics are you looking for in a candidate? Create a list of the attributes you want. Since no one is perfect, consider creating multiple profiles, as this makes it easier for you to find an individual you can trust with the job position.
Understand the candidate’s aspirations.
It’s also important to consider the candidate’s aspirations. How does a potential candidate want to grow their career in the next few months or years? How does their role in this job help them to move an inch closer?
Knowing the career goals of a potential candidate is an integral part of the interview process. It helps you both to understand whether the candidate is a good fit in the short term and long run. An employee looking for a summer job may be a fit for seasonal work but not necessarily a managerial role, which takes several weeks to get up to speed.
Knowing their aspirations will also help you to assess whether the candidate will grow in your hiring position. You want to work with a candidate who wants to grow your business—someone who sees a future in the business and will invest more than just their daily time, meaning they will look for ways to improve the business as if it were theirs.
Lastly, the candidate’s goals should ideally align with your business goals. For example, someone uninterested in plants won’t make a great addition to my business.
Vet candidates appropriately.
Vetting candidates is challenging, and it’s tempting to skimp on the overall process. However, this leads to many problems down the road. It’s important to know who you’re hiring. And that means you want to think not just about how they fit the role, but also what their personality is like and their personal values.
Some hiring managers feel that previous performance in the workforce helps predict future performance. That can be true with many of the work basics, especially for entry-level roles. Work ethics, an ability to complete projects correctly and on time and with minimal supervision are all essential traits of a good employee.
Always ask for references and contact former employers as they can provide insight into the candidate’s qualities and the details you need to determine if their past performance aligns with what you’re looking for.
Be clear about your expectations.
You must be crystal clear about your business expectations. This is especially true if you’re a startup. Your hires should know what you expect from them while they work for you. This helps you weed out any potential candidates who are not up to the challenge and helps candidates decide whether they’re ready for the job.
Trust your instincts.
Finally, I say it’s important to trust your gut feelings toward a specific candidate. Some people will argue that your instincts can be misleading, but I’ve found that it pays off in the long run. When you don’t trust yourself to hire the right person, you might end up hiring incorrectly. Combine your instincts with other essential factors, and you’ll find someone who fits the job well.
Challenges are part of any business; we grow by overcoming these challenges. Always strive to learn and improve at every step of the process. It’s not all about perfection. You can be perfectly imperfect and still run a successful business.
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