Only Second Job Employees

I have recently been thinking a lot about employees and the commitment that people have to their hobbies and to their jobs.  It strikes me that people are always more passionate about their hobbies, so it got me thinking about capturing that as an employer.  There has been plenty written about how to engage employees and ensure that they are passionate about their job, but what if we could capture a defining attribute of people that would ensure they will be committed to their role? 

I believe that the answer lies in hiring people where the role will be a second job for the employee. Now, naturally, this does limit the hours of operation for your business.  However, it is people who are willing to take a second job doing something that they like who have the passion you would be looking for.  This comes back to the idea about hobbies.  Some people want to learn more about a particular area and are willing to work in that area to learn.  However, it may not be lucrative enough as a full time job.  This allows you as an employer to tap into that desire for a job that you may not find in a  regular employee.  I believe that the alcohol industry is a great beneficiary of this.  People want to work in this industry to get a feel for what is happening and learn more about it.  The pay is secondary to them.  This is a win-win for the employer as they get a resource that is less expensive and one who wants to do the job and learn. 

So, how do you find these people?  The best place is through amateur associations or advertisements at your establishment.  Forget about classifieds as you are looking for people who are interested in the role as a hobby, not as a job.  Amateur associations (beer brewing clubs, winemaking clubs or loose groups of people who share these interests) is a crop of people who may want to get some more experience, or do things at a scale they are not able to do at home.  Find out (or host) these groups to identify people who may be a good fit for your company.  Additionally, posting the job in your establishment will attract candidates who are already in tune with your company.  They may not have the knowledge that a homebrewer may have, but will bring a desire to learn in the role. 

Before you dismiss this idea as crazy, think about how you got into the industry.  Cahnces are, it started as a side gig.  You brought your passion and intelligence to the role and continued in addition to your regular job becuase you really liked doing it.  Get those people to become your employees and tap into their passion.

Employee Experts

 One of the benefits of having employee experts is that they can help to educate your customers.This knowledge sharing goes beyond helping individual customers in your store.There is a way to leverage their intelligence and their passion by providing educational classes to your customers.This both challenges your employees and engages your customers.

If you have grown your employees well, they will have become experts in their particular area.I have seen passionate people who can tell you everything you need to know about craft beers, French wine, or whiskey.These employees are very helpful when a customer comes in looking for a recommendation.However, this is a very personalized interaction and by its very nature it cannot reach a large amount of customers.In addition, the customer may only be looking for a single specific recommendation.There are no guarantees that the customer is particularly engaged in the topic.Therefore, you may have an extremely insightful employee spending time with a low value customer.The question becomes about the best way to leverage your employee’s subject matter expertise with an attentive and potentially high value customer.
The best way to both help your employees share their knowledge and attract a high value customer base is through classes.They can also be called seminars.These are 1 hour reviews of a particular topic about which your employee has knowledge and passion.This could be a course on India Pale Ales (IPA), or in Tuscan wines not named Chianti.There are two benefits.First, you get your employee out there and allow them to be recognized as an expert.This can serve to boost the confidence of your employees and give them a new challenge in their position.Second, it attracts a very interested crowd.This crowd has the potential to become high value, repeat customers.The very fact that they have come to your seminar indicates they have specific interest.Then, if you can teach them something or get them passionate about the particular topic, they will make a connection to your store.This connection will last a long time and provide you with an excellent return.
There are, however, a couple of pitfalls to avoid.The first is with your employees.Not all employees enjoy getting up in front of a crowd.They may be extremely intelligent, but they have to be able to get their message across y presenting well.There are few less painful things than watching an uncomfortable presenter.The second is in your inventory.There is a tendency to want to “push” a particular product.You will definitely want to avoid trying to sell a particular label or brand.The goal of the class is about education, not selling.You are giving your potential customer a free education in return for their interest and potential business.Nothing turns off customers faster than the feel that they aren’t getting an education, but rather a sales pitch.Even though you don’t want to push a particular product, make sure you have plenty of the particular spirit on hand.It would be a mistake to teach people about Tuscan wine not named Chianti and then only have a Brunello and some Sangiovese blends.Make sure you have plenty of options for your customers to choose from.Remember, these people have high interest and may be beyond the obvious choices.
Seminars are a good way to engage your employees and your customers.Done correctly, they can provide new challenges to your employees to keep them happy and provide you with high value customers.Both of those are valuable commodities, so any way you can get and retain them is great.

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