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I am thinking of firing my barn help ... advice?

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  • #21
    Yeah, well, so could my non-horsey little bro, but we were feeding and housing him conditionally upon his ability to get chores done by age 7. (kidding...sort of.)

    Seriously though, when it comes to employees, maybe he needs more direction. Maybe not. I dunno.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #22
      I have had a new guy for about a month and they last two times he has worked he has kinda sucked. Not getting a decent amount of work done in a timely matter. I did go back and show him that he hadn't cleaned a couple of stalls well enough but I thought I was pretty matter of fact about it, not snotty. Oh well, he is just an extra part time, so if he doesn't improve next week he is gone. I will also be gone for a week at the end of the month so need to know now if he isn[t going to be worth keeping.


      • #23
        Most guys you hire will shortcut if possible. Not all, but a great many just can't seem to do the steps needed to do jobs correctly. I have worked with a LOT of guys, in various capacities, and they ALL want to do less than is asked of them.

        Sometimes hurrying to get done they skip steps, but job won't end up correctly if you don't call their attention to what happens to the end results with the missing steps. Others make a big production out of doing EXACTLY as requested, so THIS job takes MUCH longer, getting him out of other parts of his job.

        And the part about breaking tools is part of this, not THEIR problem! That is unless you tell them cost of second damaged tool comes out of their pay!! When I worked for a Utility Co. all new employees working outside were issued personal tools. If one got broke or lost, they had to show how it happened, might have to pay to replace it. Worn tools were replaced when the tool was turned in for exchange. All their tools had to be returned and accounted for if they left the Company, or the cost was deducted from their pay. It made a difference in tool costs, being much lower than if there was not responsibility by the worker.

        This guy sounds like way too much work for you in supervision, follow up needed to insure he does what he is being PAID to do. Stealing hay is pretty rotten, along with not doing as requested. What else will he decide he "needs" and helps himself to as time goes along?

        You have waited too long on this. Time to quit putting yourself in his place, because YOU wouldn't be doing the poor job he is!! Let him go and find another person. Maybe you can find better quality help if you pay a bit more as enticement. For more pay, they should also do a BETTER quality job for you. I would think in these slow winter times, there would be a number of farm workers available. Have you asked around among the farm folks, see if they know anyone available. Then you could advertise for help as a second idea. Any local stables, where there might be a horse person needing work? I have always had better satisfaction from female help. They are much more observant, willing to do the extra steps needed for a good job completion.

        Let him go if you can, he is only going to continue going downhill in work quality. Warnings don't help at all, guys get resentful because you are "nagging". Some how they think they are doing you a BIG favor, even when paid well.


        • #24
          He would of been gone a long time ago. When I managed a barn/did all the work, I got one day off a week. Its truly is amazing how different what you have written to do and what gets done is. Sometimes/well most times, the laziness made my job the next day harder than I had it the day before. Almost easier when I just worked 7 days a week, but a person does need a mental break.

          My main complaint is no one ever fed enough hay to the horses. I didn't have it as easy as 1 bale/ paddock, but it wasn't rocket science and I told them the total number of bales I used to hay the paddocks.

          Anyways, this guys sounds more like a pain that you can't go to work and come home knowing things are the exact way you want them to be. Find someone who can provide that for you and yes they do exist. I could do your farm in my sleep.
          I love cats, I love every single cat....
          So anyway I am a cat lover
          And I love to run.


          • #25
            Rodawn, I know it is hard to find good staff but he would be gone a long time ago if it were my place. The feeding and watering sounds extremely straightforward so I don't really think there are any excuses.

            "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


            • #26
              Originally posted by Beethoven View Post
              When I managed a barn/did all the work, I got one day off a week. Its truly is amazing how different what you have written to do and what gets done is. Sometimes/well most times, the laziness made my job the next day harder than I had it the day before. Almost easier when I just worked 7 days a week, but a person does need a mental break.
              LOL, I just finished telling my boss that Mondays always take me longer because I have to clean up from what was not done on the weekend, plus I have to find the tools that I need that were not put back in the proper place. And yes, guys do the barn on the weekends.


              • #27
                I read it that he was doing that thing my DH does - when he sees uneaten hay being trampled into the muck he feeds less, and less, and you see where this is going. I can see why, we do have to pay for the hay ourselves. Nonetheless it's lead to me sneaking food to the old guy as I head off to work more than once.

                If the feeding calls for full bales though, why is he breaking them and leaving halves where you can find them? Even if I were stealing I wouldn't leave something obvious like that (actually especially if I were stealing) - I'd skip lunch or something like that. You'd never know unless the horses lost condition.

                I won't be as harsh as Goodhors, but for every hard working organized co-worker I've ever had there have been probably three that were perfectly capable of watching someone else work while they talked. I guess it's the nature of laborer type jobs to try to "save yourself".

                I think you can break the job down into tasks by the hour to make it less likely that things get forgotten - you know,Monday 8 AM go out and feed first hay and top off all water tanks, 930 AM pick pasture A, noon feed, half hour lunch, pick pastures B and C do maintenance tasks and final feed starting at 330 to finish at 5. Change it up so Tuesday they pick pasture B longer etc etc.

                Years ago I got sent to management training and one of the things we had to learn about was the cost of hiring and training an employee vs firing and starting over. Right now you have an employee you are expecting to be full charge at some point and you have to determine whether your training was adequate, whether the employee needs a refresher, or whether this employee has passed your 90 day trial period in a satisfactory manner. I'll tell you that at my work we had a terrible training program and it was almost impossible to properly weed out the unsuitable without benchmarks and feedback. Plenty of 90 day wonders.
                It may be time to cut this guy loose but you may have to be more on top of what you expect from the next one as well.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible


                • #28
                  I don't know if Alberta's Labour Laws are as strict as Ontario's. In Ontario, if you want to protect yourself from a wrongful dismissal suit, before you fire someone, you need to document the unsatisfactory work, document your efforts to "help the employee" improve their work, and then document continued unsatisfactory work.
                  At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
                  (Author Unknown)


                  • #29
                    ReSomething that is a very good post. I would say it takes me at least 30 days to train in a new person thoroughly, and in that time, yes, I could be getting mor work done by myself. But if I have done my job well my time invested in training someone in will benefit me.


                    • #30
                      What are the benefits to keeping him on?

                      He's broken stuff, forgotten to water the horses more than once, doesn't feed them properly and lies about it, and you think he might be stealing from you.

                      Honestly, it doesn't sound like he is all that happy in the job and is maybe waiting for you to make the move to let him go.


                      • #31
                        I don't know if it applies to farm work, but I know we had to give written notices of unsatisfactory work once or twice before letting someone go. If you are still within the 3 month trial period, then maybe you are fine. But you probably would have to prove that the employee knew it was a trial period. Northwoodsrider is correct (unless this does not apply to farm labour!)


                        • #32
                          Be sure things will not get better!!!!

                          Replacement is hard, but frustration and worry is bad for you!!
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                          • #33
                            It also makes me wonder if he has a drug habit... good luck with whatever you decide. There are so many lazy people in the world.


                            • #34
                              If only you were closer to me, or I to you...I could totally do that job. And you are offering board!? Wow! If you are having trouble, I cannot imagine what would happen if I had to find somebody to do my horses...I was gone over the weekend, and left my mom 4 PAGES of instructions...

                              I hate to say it, but some people really just don't care enough. The last barn I was at went through soooo many "managers" and too many of them left the furthest field without water. In the middle of the summer. With boarders horses, and schoolies in there. And every field had 100+ gallon tanks. I would bring a book with me, and fill every single one when I found them empty.

                              If its one thing that must be done, it's fill the water tanks. It's also the most simple, usually! I would find somebody else, because a lack of water is really a problem.
                              "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


                              • #35
                                How hard is it to find help where you are?