My conversations with professional horsemen often
touch on one or more of the three not enoughs of
business: Not enough time, not enough money and
not enough of the right people working for
them. Lately, the subject of locating, educating,
motivating and compensating help has been popular.
Itís true, when employees do things wrong, refuse to
cooperate or donít bother to show up for work, the
thought of scaling back the business to a utopian
no-employee world is hypnotically appealing to
Who needs Ďem anyway? You can do anything they
can do better, right?
Wrong. You do need help in your horse
business if your physical and mental health is
important to you.
I talked with Seth Burgess, president of
a horse industry
employment service, last week about the subject of
locating, educating, motivating and compensating
employees in the horse business. Seth has been
helping employers and employees in the horse
industry for over twenty years. His experience has
made him a deep reservoir of knowledge in the best
practices for finding and retaining good employees.
Seth told me two points that he considered
to be of
great importance to horse industry employers.
1. No Written Job Descriptions
choose to have no written job descriptions for
employees. Often, the reason for not having a
written job description is lack of time to write it and
confusion about what it should look like and contain.
Employers in small businesses, including the horse
business, are dependent on employees to do a little
bit of everything every day.
Burgess encourages written job descriptions because
they keep the farm work force on the same page and
help the employees better understand what the
employer expects. Another advantage he points out
is the fact that the job description gives the
employer basis for cause for disciplinary action or
even termination of an employee.
If you need to get more information about job
descriptions Burgess recommends a book titled:
The Job Description Handbook - with CD-ROM
Everything you need to create effective job
at his website. click
2. Donít Let the Experience
remain positive when writing ad copy or job
descriptions. Itís easy to get in a negative frame of
mind when the problem employee you just fired was:
not reliable, knowledgeable or hard working. Stating
in your ad copy the givens: must be self motivated,
reliable, energetic is a waste of ink and money. Keep
an open mind to attract an employee that truly
wants to work around horses, learn and be a
He recommends assigning the same tasks to
candidates to measure their job knowledge and skill
levels. As examples: hitch up a horse trailer and
back it up, look at website or brochure and come up
with 4 ways to improve it or send a cover letter and
a resume via mail to the employer.
Granted, good employees are difficult to find, but
failure to look for them is no excuse. Good
employees may also move on to another job more
quickly than youíd like to see, but thatís no excuse
either. Good people canít be held back.
To minimize your stress, hire the best.