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Professionals: How do you keep good help??

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  • #21
    For me personally, besides pay and benefits, I want a boss who really respects and loves the horses...not always easy to find in this highly competitive field. Example: I don't want a boss who skimps on bedding and allows the horses to stand in wet bedding just to save a couple bucks.

    One of my all-time favorite stories: My sister worked her butt off at a big barn (she's an adult/doesn't ride), and one day when one of her co-workers was so insulted by the owner's behavior that she walked off the job, the owner went on a rant to my sister, during which she said, "I pay you guys a decent wage." My sister looked at her, wordless, while the owner thought about this statement then amended it to, "Well...I pay you."
    \"Get after her, you feckless pack of ingrates!\"

    Comment


    • #22
      I second the, "Say please and thank you. Display over the top gratitude in response to over the top effort."

      As someone who has worked in several barns, I think that treating the help with respect and showing gratitude is the most important thing.

      Comment


      • #23
        Chanda, I always appreciate hearing your stories and words of wisdom
        -Desmond

        "If you're dating a guy who rides horses, Raise your cup. If not, Raise your standards."

        Comment


        • #24
          Cboylen-----you should be an equine commedian, that was gut-wrenching!

          Thanks for the laugh!

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
            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 .

            It sounds like you hired a bunch of mexicans... Honestly- What did you expect from people who barely speak english and are illegal?!

            Comment


            • #26
              hmmmmm

              I think if I was looking for a job and I read some of the above, I would scratch my head and wonder who would work for someone that belittles their employees?

              Attitude reflects leadership.
              Susan
              http://community.webshots.com/user/ss3777
              www.longformatclub.com

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Wanderluster View Post
                Can you elaborate? I am interested in your point of view.
                What part of KEEP IT LEGAL is a "point of view?"

                Don't hire illegals no matter how cheap they'll work.

                Don't play games with payments. I've run into several barns that told their employees they were all "independent contractors". These were guys who really weren't all that savvy about business. Since they were IC's, the barn owner didn't pay: unemployment insurance, medical insurance disability insurance, retirement, social security and several other costs. Tons of savings for the BO, the employees got screwed.

                There are 12 or so requirments needed to be fulfilled to qualify as an independent contractor...these guys didn't qualify for even 1 requirements.

                Be honest, pay a real wage to legal employees and treat them like adults.
                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                Comment


                • #28
                  Offer health insurance.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    From a good employee

                    1. Pay decently- it doesn't have to make me rich, but I do have bills to pay.
                    2. realize that I am not a slave
                    3. please understand that this is not a normal job (how many nonhorsey people do you know that work 6 days a week every week at a minimum of 8 hours a day??), we are away from our families, and we are doing all of this to take care of animals we love. This isn't just a job- it's our passion and our lifestyle
                    "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                    So you might as well have a good time"

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by DancingQueen View Post
                      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
                      Nothing quite like indentured servitude, is there?
                      www.OneJumpAhead.ca

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        No wonder professionals have such a hard time keeping good help. After reading all the above posts I understand.

                        I worked for the same woman, same barn, same horses, for 6 years. I left last week because I moved to NC to be with my husband. I was the one and only. I did it all. She was a wonderful boss and wonderful friend. My leaving was hard for her, but we decided it would be best for me to gradually phase out. It has taken her 4 people to replace everything that I did.

                        I could have worked where the pay was better, or where I got some benefits, but I loved working for someone who became my friend as well as my boss.

                        Belittling the help, treating them like slaves, and making their work unbarable is not the way to keep them.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                          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 .

                          OK I am wiping the coffe from my screen now, I'm sorry I know the stories weren't funny
                          to you at the time, but I needed the laugh this morning, I just got in from the barn , it's 20 below with the windchill and my damn horses are dressed better then me !

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                            What part of KEEP IT LEGAL is a "point of view?"

                            Don't hire illegals no matter how cheap they'll work.

                            Don't play games with payments. I've run into several barns that told their employees they were all "independent contractors". These were guys who really weren't all that savvy about business. Since they were IC's, the barn owner didn't pay: unemployment insurance, medical insurance disability insurance, retirement, social security and several other costs. Tons of savings for the BO, the employees got screwed.

                            There are 12 or so requirments needed to be fulfilled to qualify as an independent contractor...these guys didn't qualify for even 1 requirements.

                            Be honest, pay a real wage to legal employees and treat them like adults.
                            I agree, I have interviewed at a few barns that tried the whole IC thing - luckily I know what it means and immediately said "thank you for your time, I will give you a call."

                            If you hire international employees, educate yourself on visa sponsorship and make sure you get everything in on time.

                            And obviously pay well and give health care benefits and at least some time off.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              It sounds like you hired a bunch of mexicans... Honestly- What did you expect from people who barely speak english and are illegal?!
                              You know this... how, exactly?
                              ---
                              They're small hearts.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                You get what you pay for. If you want to acquire as well as retain good, reliable and educated help one must PAY for such and hold high standards on the job. This isn't a problem that is specific to just the horse industry. It is a problem in the majority of minimum wage jobs.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I agree w/ everyone who said pay a good wage...Its hard to be happy with your job when you're struggling to pay for the basics.

                                  Its also more appealing to stay in an environment where you feel appreciated for your work. Of course, most good employees want to feel like the job they are doing is being done well and to your expectations. I know in the industry I am in now, I can get frustrated if I feel I am not able to do something effectively (its a male dominated, hands on field...I'm still *in training* and always will be, since its constantly evolving technology, and sometimes I feel like I have to prove I can do something better than "the guys" to feel appreciated)

                                  As an employee, it's *hard* to find a good job where you make enough to pay the bills and where you feel appreciated.

                                  One note though, I left a good paying, great benefit job to go back to an industry I loved (not horses...but was a possibility) My boss lured me in with "competitive pay, but not what you're making now." I jumped on the chance, only to learn he could hardly afford to pay minimum wage, no beneifits. I won't take any job now without everything in writing before leaving the last. On top of it, he's an alcoholic and brings his own liquor to work, the phones are shut off due to non payment and we have almost no customers. I'm so dissapointed. A professional environment might make up for the lack of pay. So it's not all about pay, but I guess it takes the right combination if you want to keep someone.

                                  Good luck in your search. Once you find a *good* employee, I hope you are able to keep them!!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Dancetil3 View Post
                                    For me personally, besides pay and benefits, I want a boss who really respects and loves the horses...not always easy to find in this highly competitive field. Example: I don't want a boss who skimps on bedding and allows the horses to stand in wet bedding just to save a couple bucks.

                                    One of my all-time favorite stories: My sister worked her butt off at a big barn (she's an adult/doesn't ride), and one day when one of her co-workers was so insulted by the owner's behavior that she walked off the job, the owner went on a rant to my sister, during which she said, "I pay you guys a decent wage." My sister looked at her, wordless, while the owner thought about this statement then amended it to, "Well...I pay you."
                                    AMEN to the 1st part. Its soo hard to work for someone who skimps and puts the horses at risk to save some money.
                                    ---^v---^v---^v----------------------^v---^v---^v---
                                    For a moment there, you bored me to death

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                                      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 .
                                      I haven't laughed so hard all week. I can't even imagine how you managed to get on after your saddle was "dusted" with show sheen!

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by scrbear11 View Post
                                        It sounds like you hired a bunch of mexicans... Honestly- What did you expect from people who barely speak english and are illegal?!
                                        Wow, what a terrible thing to say. In addition to everyone else's tips for keeping good help, I'd add: "Must not be a Bigot."
                                        Being Mexican does not make someone an idiot, a thief or illegal.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by scrbear11 View Post
                                          It sounds like you hired a bunch of mexicans... Honestly- What did you expect from people who barely speak english and are illegal?!
                                          Just because you have Mexicans working for you, it does not mean the are illegal. I have 3 Mexicans and they have the proper paper work and pay taxes.
                                          https://www.facebook.com/russellracingstable

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