The Reasons Barn Staff Leave
Over the course of many years in the horse industry I have worked as both a professional level groom and trainer. General caregiver, horse sitter, whatever the role that needs to be filled. I’ve run teams of staff from 2 to 20. One thing I’ve learned. People quit for all sorts of reasons. Some you see coming. Some you don’t.
Employer and employees can have complex relationships. I believe in the importance of keeping things simple. I’m not your friend I’m your boss. I care about you, but you are here to do a job. I’m not your Mum or your best mate. I’ll explain how I want something done. Then do it that way. I’m always available to listen, but don’t waste my time. Show up on time, be consistent and do everything to your best ability. That’s it. Tell me if you’re struggling with something outside of work that is affecting your timeline or your ability to do the job. I’m not interested in the details or being involved in your personal life. I just want to know why you are not doing well. I’ll help if I can and it makes sense, but I am not your sugar mummy or your career guidance counselor.
I outline the spec on the job application, and I hope that you won’t lie to me about what you can and can’t do. If there are things you find difficult tell me. I will train you if you wish to learn. Don’t bad mouth or blame others for a poor job. I can see for myself if someone isn’t pulling their weight. I won’t speak badly of you to others and will tell you directly, politely, and privately, if you are not performing the way I believe you should.
If you want time off, give me fair warning. I will be flexible if I can but don’t expect favors all the time. You are one of many or one of few on the staff and you wouldn’t be employed if I didn’t need you, so don’t assume.
I’m not paying you to be chatting on a cell phone or texting. Cell phones and horse riding/training don’t go together. You’re not a child. I won’t take it off you. But keep its use fair and to a minimum. If I see you walking around with your eyes not on the horses, job, riders and being aware of your surroundings, you are a danger to everyone. Be in the present. I will do the same.
My office is not your office. My tack and equipment are not your tack and equipment. Use it with respect. Put things back where you found them and leave them better than you found them. Steal and you’re out. I’m not a charity.
If you’re ill don’t come in. Let me know as soon as you know. Don’t battle through being poorly just because. It’s not noble, it gets everyone sick and puts you at risk. If you get hurt tell me. If you hurt a horse or someone else, tell me. If you ding a car or drive a tractor over a fence post own it. Tell me.
I won’t shout. You won’t either. Well. Let’s put it this way. Only once.
Barn staff leave because they don’t know what they are supposed to do, when to do it or what is expected of them. Or they simply can’t do it. Don’t put people in negative situations. Don’t expect them to work unpaid time. Don’t expect them to work paid time without advance notice and reasonable hours. Pay a fair rate. Throw in extras. Extra training ops, extra time in the saddle, thoughtful useful gifts to make their daily job easier. Listen. Be a good communicator.
Bring your best energy and a cheerful attitude to work or don’t come. If you find the job a drudgery then you shouldn’t be doing it. Be kind and considerate to other team members and help out without being asked. If you see something needs doing, do it. Show some initiative. Use common sense. Don’t show off. You are not better than anyone else.
That about covers it. Want a job?