Dec 19, 2018


Dec 19, 2018


Staffing your store is a constant challenge. You may have a full schedule today, but staffing needs never stay settled for too long. Before long, employees leave, your employment needs change and the seasons pass into the holiday push. Having a handy checklist to review takes away the stress of hiring. With a point-by-point list, you won’t forget one crucial step in the process of selecting, training and introducing new hires.

Step One: How to Find the Right New Hire

In this age, most employers and job seekers go straight to online forums, but that’s not always the best way. Your next star employee could be a favorite customer, or local bartender looking to transition to daytime hours. Word of mouth referrals are less anonymous than an internet referral. Larger retail operations may want to consider job fairs. It’s always best to seek employees who are committed to the trade of alcohol retail. Still, online staffing is the quickest and most convenient way to hire. Best of all, it will reach the widest audience.

If you’re staffing for a role that requires specialized product knowledge, such as buyers, managers or sales staff, you should consider posting on more specialized forums. Websites like winejobs.com or bevforce.com attract people who are experienced in the industry rather than just curious job seekers. It’s best to separate the sites you use for postings for these specialized industry jobs from stocking and delivery driving jobs, which would be better staffed from general job boards like indeed.com or craigslist.


Step Two: What to Ask Candidates in Interviews

Interviews are portrayed as high-stakes situations for job seekers, but the bigger risk belongs to the employer. You should go in prepared, curious and focused. The interview is an opportunity for both of you. If you get this right, it could mean a long fruitful relationship, and less hiring stress for years to come.

Good interview questions reveal something about an applicant’s character. You should already have a sense of their work history and work ethic from their resume. Ask them how they handle difficult situations. Ask them what inspires them in both their work and their time off. Ask them how they would handle difficult customers. Don’t just listen to what they say, but how they say it. You can teach store policies, so figure out how comfortable are they with questions about their character and tolerance of stressful situations.

Questions about what they took away from their prior work experiences are important. Years spent in relevant positions are only as worthy as the skills and lessons that they’ve learned on the job. Ask them to teach you something that they have learned from a recent position. See if they can tell you something that you might not know. This challenges them to draw lessons from their work experience, and it also gives you a sense of the work ethic and culture at their old job.


Step Three: Monitoring the Onboarding Flow of New Hires

Now that you’ve selected the best applicants, it’s time to introduce them to the way your business runs. Successful training should happen quickly, but you should never forsake proper initiation for speedy introduction. The best way to train is to have systems in place to check an employee?s progress as they begin understanding their new role.


  1. Comparing Day One vs Day Sixty

Day one could be thought of as an extension of the interview process. Look for focused and engaged hires. Use these first few shifts to introduce them to all the staff and some regular customers to make sure they’re comfortable in the new work environment. Don’t throw them into the fire the first day.

Regular reviews should be done for the first several months. These should be a conversation in which feedback is exchanged between the new hire and management. It?s important to conduct at least two of these reviews, so that you have measuring points for the progress.

At the end of this initial “review” period, employees should no longer be considered new, or probationary hires. If your employees aren?t ready to work unsupervised at this point, it’s a serious problem that might require termination, or some serious inquiry into the effectiveness of your training practices.


  1. Preparing for the First Day

The first day is your best chance to set examples for new employees. If you have a methodical hiring process, it sends the message that you enforce standards. A chaotic hiring process will set expectations low for employees, and will result in them being poorly trained for their new position.

Even if your shop is small, you need to have some kind of training packet. Hand employees a written statement of their duties and the policies of the shop. It is a simple way to prevent excuses, or defend against wrongful termination lawsuits. If you require uniforms, nametags, time cards or employee id, it’s best to have these ready the first day as well. It’s awkward for an employee to enter a workplace that is unprepared for their arrival.


  1. Have Necessary Documents Ready

New hires must fill out a W-2 form for tax purposes, and an I-9 to establish their eligibility to work in the United States. Get this done the first day to satisfy the law. Some employees may require additional licensing as well. If you serve drinks in any capacity on-site, employees may need to pass alcohol service classes (e.g. TIPS Certification), or even get a food safety certificate (e.g. ServSafe). These rules depend on state law, so make sure to be aware of any extras that each position requires.

Delivery drivers have their own set of paperwork to remember. You will at least need to maintain copies of their valid and un-expired driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. In some areas, bicycle and scooter delivery also require driver’s licenses, passing a course and registering with the city. Make sure to be well insured for any accidents that could happen to delivery personnel or employees that receive wine deliveries from loading docks.


  1. Set Up a Training Schedule Through Different Departments

If possible, have new hires train with more than one manager or employee so that you can get a few different perspectives on their adjustment to your store. Even if a new hire has a fairly focused position within your store, they will be better adjusted if they understand the entire workings of the operation and have spent time with personnel from all departments. After a few shifts of new hires observing the store through different positions, it’s time to start preparing them for taking on the responsibilities of their new role.

The goal of training is obviously to have staff that understand their position and that can work independently. You need to clearly communicate what success in the position looks like to you and require that they be ready to meet these standards in 60-90 days. If you feel comfortable with them performing their duties independently and efficiently, they’re ready.