This week on Behind the Scenes, we’re chatting with Benjamin Huguet, our managing director in France.
With ten years of startup experience in his back pocket, Benjamin knows how to help companies scale up at speed. So, what makes him tick?
Who are you and what do you do at Florence?
My name’s Ben. I’m 34 years old, I have a 16-month-old daughter called Charlie, and I’m also Florence’s managing director in France.
My main focus — apart from leading operations — is to build a really outstanding French team for Florence. Having just recently launched in France, we still need to adapt our services for the French market to match care professionals with the right shifts and help care home managers with temporary staffing needs. I’d like to make Florence as successful in France as it currently is in the UK.
What made you want to join Florence?
I’ve worked in startups for almost ten years now. For the last four years, I’ve worked with companies in the healthcare industry, which has been great because I’ve been able to help solve real problems — issues that impact people every day.
When Dan offered me the job, it only took me about five minutes to decide to accept. Working at Florence is really rewarding because our success impacts people in a positive way. I’m so glad I joined the company.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My first boss once told me, ‘If you can’t get in through a door, try going through a window’. That sounds better in French, but you get the idea. It’s great advice, especially if you work in the startup world.
Back in the day, I used to be a bit shy. That’s tricky because nobody knows or trusts you when you launch a new business, so doors frequently shut in your face. To succeed, you have to think outside the box — you have to try to go in through the window!
What’s your favourite thing about working at Florence?
Definitely the people. Florence is a tight-knit team, and we’ve had amazing support from day one. Obviously, we’re really lucky to have Charles, Dan and Harry because they’re very involved in the company on a day-to-day basis.
The people at Florence all work toward a common goal. So the French launch doesn’t just represent a new market: it’s an integral part of company strategy.
What’s the biggest challenge Florence is facing at the moment?
Without a doubt, one of Florence’s biggest challenges is the shortage of care professionals and the fact that care workers and nurses are leaving healthcare.
Working in the industry isn’t easy, and unfortunately, many people who leave can’t think of a good enough reason to come back. Most professionals go into care to help people and do something great, but they end up so disappointed that they give up and never want to return.
We want to bring those people back into the sector, make their lives easier and make sure they’re treated well. If we can use Florence to do that, we can help solve staff shortages — but it’s not an easy task.
What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise us?
Believe it or not, I used to be a gamer — mostly World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike — and I competed in esports competitions!
What advice would you give someone thinking about joining Florence?
If you get the opportunity to join Florence, take it. We’re not only trying to solve a big problem; we have the team and support to make that a realistic goal. That combination is rare in a startup.
The work we do is meaningful and impacts real people, and if you join Florence, you can be part of that journey every single day. You can help solve a problem that could affect you as well as your friends or family members. I think that’s a pretty good reason to get up and go to work in the morning.
Where do you see Florence in five years?
Speaking from my own perspective in the French market, I think we’ll be very successful. In five years, I think a lot of care professionals will use our products, and we’ll help thousands of healthcare facilities manage staff more effectively every day. We’ll also have an outstanding team full of amazing people.
If you’d like to join our team in Paris or the UK you can check out our available roles here.
You may also be interested in our chats with:
- Dejan Kojic, Managing Director
- Lewis McDonald, Business Development Manager
- Daniel Kazmi, Business Development Manager