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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2006
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    685

    Default Professionals: How do you keep good help??

    Just out of curiousity how do you keep good and dependable help?? Thats the hardest thing that I am struggling to do
    Author of COTH article "The Other Side of Aaron Vale"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Location
    Mont. Co. Maryland and PA
    Posts
    309

    Default

    Coming from the reliable help, you either have to pay well or we better love our job!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2002
    Location
    Wellington and Midwest
    Posts
    760

    Default

    It's very hard to keep good help. It always seems that someone comes along and offers them more money and better perks. You need to pay them a little more than the next guy and hopefully treat them fairly and they'll stay with you. Sometimes I don't think it matters what "you" do to try and keep them, they always seem to believe that the grass is greener on the other side.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2006
    Posts
    3,381

    Default

    1. Pay well

    2. Treat your horses like respected animals and not money makers

    3. Listen to your help and please call the vet when aforementioned is sick/lame

    4. Trust in what your loyal help has to say
    Quote Originally Posted by barka.lounger View Post
    u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

    we see u in gp ring in no time.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2001
    Location
    East Coast, here and there!
    Posts
    1,257

    Default

    Better than average pay, health benefits, housing, and a boss that's pleasant to be around, even tempered and RESPECTS the job we do. It's also SO important that the job you're asking to be done be reasonable and not constantly ask your staff to bend over backwards from you.

    A friend of mine in Wellington has a job he's been with for several years. He has horses to ride, housing, his visa paid for, a car supplied, cell phone and gas paid for. He takes several long weekends a year and a week off at Christmas. He brings home an average pay check, but his benefits blow every other average barn out the window!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2007
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Be nice. Say please and thank you. Display over the top gratitude in response to over the top effort.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Location
    Mont. Co. Maryland and PA
    Posts
    309

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slainte! View Post
    Better than average pay, health benefits, housing, and a boss that's pleasant to be around, even tempered and RESPECTS the job we do. It's also SO important that the job you're asking to be done be reasonable and not constantly ask your staff to bend over backwards from you.

    A friend of mine in Wellington has a job he's been with for several years. He has horses to ride, housing, his visa paid for, a car supplied, cell phone and gas paid for. He takes several long weekends a year and a week off at Christmas. He brings home an average pay check, but his benefits blow every other average barn out the window!
    Damn skippy hook me up! I make didley squat but I do have a very good job for a college kid.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    Posts
    180

    Default

    As the "help" I will add my 2 cents, although it's pretty much been covered:
    1) GOOD PAY and DECENT housing, not living with 3 people in a trailer behind the barn or something like that. And by good pay I'm not talking about unreasonable pay, but something you can actually live on.
    2) Feeling like my input matters, and also my worth as a human being.
    3) Nice coworkers and nice horses who are treated well.
    4) A boss who I like being around and who makes the barn a great place to work.
    5) Day money at shows and some extra time off every now and then to go home.
    6) This is key, and the one thing that bosses sometimes can't control: a chance to advance my career to the next level, or a chance to work my way into "partner" status.

    This last one is mainly why people leave even "good" jobs, b/c in the long run, it doesn't lead to anything else. If you want to show, and the job doesn't include showing, you're going to lose a good worker to someone who WILL let them show, or has that opportunity for them. Stuff like that.

    That being said, I have noticed a trend of people who are unwilling to work in entry level positions even if they have no experience. I myself had an impossible time finding another girl to help out for the summer, we went through a different one every show! And we are one of the good places to work!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, canada
    Posts
    124

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Philosopher View Post
    Be nice. Say please and thank you. Display over the top gratitude in response to over the top effort.
    That about sums it up for us. We have a fantastic girl, we're very lucky! We pay reasonably well, but she's treated like a real part of the barn, which is one of my biggest complaints from when I cleaned stalls. She gets a good Christmas bonus, and we generally let it be known that she's a valuable part of our facililty. That goes farther than anything else.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2007
    Location
    Upstate, NY
    Posts
    1,141

    Default

    Hire Me

    .
    *We tolerate behaviors in human beings that would horrify us if we saw them in a horse.*
    R.I.P El Salvador*
    [COLOR="SlateGray"]



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    In my car, between work, home, and the barn!
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Treat them like professionals and not like kids with a part-time stall cleaning job. Barn managers and full-time professional barn staff are just that, professionals. I've worked full-time and run barns where I was treated like an unmotivated kid (after 20 years of training experience, putting in 14 hour days, and living in an awful apartment above the barn) and denied four days of time off to go home and see my family. It doesn't have to pay well (although it should be enough to live on), and professional barn staff know that the working conditions will often be less than ideal, but treat them like professionals - and they'll act like professionals and stay with you.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    150

    Default

    pay well - if you pay with peanuts you get monkey's for workers, maintain a professional, drama/gossip free enviornment, clearly define their duties, responsibilities hours etc. The biggest thing I find is to stress the importance of quality care - if the help understands these horses are to be treated with respect and be well taken care of I find they take their job much more seriously rather than when there is no expectation of how to treat/care for the horse. I offer the barn workers/help riding time, lessons and shipping/schooling perks to shows as additional incentives as well....and I am picky about who I hire!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,868

    Default

    You don't. You start with the ones that don't know the nose from the tail, train them up to be good help, and then an amateur offers them twice as much money to groom half as many horses. It's almost impossible for a professional barn to pay on the level of a private barn, so that is where most of the help goes once they learn the ropes and enough english to present themselves well.
    If you want though, I'm happy to tell you some of my stories that might make you feel better about your help situation .



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2005
    Posts
    1,668

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    You don't. You start with the ones that don't know the nose from the tail, train them up to be good help, and then an amateur offers them twice as much money to groom half as many horses. It's almost impossible for a professional barn to pay on the level of a private barn, so that is where most of the help goes once they learn the ropes and enough english to present themselves well.
    If you want though, I'm happy to tell you some of my stories that might make you feel better about your help situation .
    ... I like story time



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 5, 2007
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,565

    Default

    Hire "international" staff and sponsor their visas. A visa holder will have to work for the person sponsoring their visa.
    Being a good boss helps too of course. Lol
    Timothy, stop lurking



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,868

    Default

    ... I like story time
    At my former barn, we had the groom that drove from SC to the wrong city in TX and pawned the golfcart on the way (but boss, it's okay, they're only charging $20 a day storage). He was closely followed by the groom that pawned the fax machine, tv, vcr, microwave, and coffee maker, then got the car impounded and wound up in jail. Then the one that left us short handed for two weeks in the middle of VT, to go home to mourn the death of a family member that we later learned was a pit bull chow cross. One magically "got lost" on the way to every show, arriving just in time to see the last thing unloaded and set up.
    There were a couple that required explanation of indoor plumbing, one who would not drive any type of motorized vehicle, and one who hit the ground at the sight of his first airplane going overhead. We had one equine college grad who spent forty minutes of every day explaining how she would do things differently, and the rest of the time giving me important information like "Fluffy went out in the paddock at 10:12 and came in at 12:03".
    My recent favorite interpreted "wrap the horses with the shipping halters on their stalls" into "rig up a hotplate to the tent lightbulb and cook beans and rice in a skillet in my feed room two feet from the hay". That one remained in the housing two weeks after he was fired, and the other guys were too scared of him to tell anyone.
    I've had ones that purported to know everything who have put the girth on backwards and had no clue how to attach a pair of draw reins, and one notable case who actually managed to tack up a horse with a backwards saddle. We've washed horses with truck soap and set up legs with flyspray, while flyspraying with wound medicine. And then there was the helpful one that, before I went to get on for a class, dusted off my horse and my saddle....with show sheen.
    We've had some great help, too, but I have become an obsessive double-checker in the process, and there was a period of time where my mother went to every show with a bail bond in her purse, just in case .



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    1,333

    Default straight from the part time help

    Well I am "good help" (adult, lots of experience, 7 horses at home, college grad, currently competing, never missed a day, etc) Here are my top 10 reasons I would never quit:

    10 Decent pay
    9 flexibility (I may come in at 7:30 instead of 7 if my hubby can not drop off my son, leave a little early for a closing/showing, etc.)
    8 none of us are treated like slave labor (reasonable expectations, no I can not clean 30 stalls by myself)
    7 great co-workers
    6 enough staff to easily switch days off
    5 I have been there the longest and only work weekdays
    4 help with my horse
    3 fantastic facilities
    2 I have known my boss for the last 20 years (she was actually my first job out of college)
    Number one reason........ My boss is a someone I respect and look up to

    Hope this helps

    Good help is out there!!!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2005
    Location
    Out West
    Posts
    1,680

    Default

    I have become so jaded that my current advice is fire anyone immediately if they
    1 do not display a good work ethic- shows up on time and takes the initiative to do beyond the listed chores.
    2 do not follow succinct directions
    3 do not have a genuine affinity and affection for the horses

    This is after making every excuse possible for many of the incompetent workers- it was a mix up in translation- he will learn someday to match the names on the stalls to the names on the buckets etc. NO NO NO it does not work that way and risking coming off as the biggest beyotch ever I am learning to take my own advice. I personally think that although a generous salary should be a strong motivation I have not found this to be the case. No worker is a hassle a bad one is frustrating and dangerous. Now I listen to my intuition and if something doesn't sit right with me I strike preemptively.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2007
    Posts
    334

    Default

    Obey the labor laws of your state and the immigration laws of the USA - solves a lot of problems before they start.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2005
    Location
    Out West
    Posts
    1,680

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HiddenAcres View Post
    Obey the labor laws of your state and the immigration laws of the USA - solves a lot of problems before they start.
    Can you elaborate? I am interested in your point of view.



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