Work at a stable is never complete. If it’s not time for chores, there is fence to mend, stalls to muck, paddocks to clean, arenas to drag and upgrades for the facility. It’s tempting to ask employees to work long shifts in an effort to finish as many projects as possible, but it is important to develop realistic expectations for employees to avoid labor law violations and to foster loyal, hard-working employees.
First, research labor laws for your state. Some states require business to pay overtime once an employee works more than eight hours in a single day. Others require overtime pay after an employee works 40 hours in one week. Each state also mandates how many breaks an employee must have during a shift.
In addition to complying with labor laws, it’s important to establish and clearly communicate expectations for employees. Regardless of the title you hire for, there are basic expectations that are the same for every position.
Timeliness Depending on what the person is hired to do, a flexible schedule may suffice. However, if you hire someone to feed, it is critical they follow a set schedule. Be clear what time you expect the employee to arrive and be prepared to begin working. Address tardiness issues as soon as they arise.
Productivity Identify tasks the employee should accomplish in a day’s work. Explain the chores you expect to be completed daily, weekly or monthly. An employee should fully understand the workload expectations and receive proper instruction for completing the job.
Disclosure Ask employees, new and established, to disclose any conflicts of interest. If they are employees of the barn are they training, riding or giving lessons outside their scheduled hours? If so, is this a concern for your stable?
Communication is the key to retaining hard-working employees. Consider creating an employee handbook that clearly outlines your expectations to avoid confusion. Tips for creating a handbook and the information to include visit http://www.sba.gov/content/writing-effective-job-descriptions.