Happy Labor Day! Do You Need Laborers?

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The labor force on horse farms and in stables seems to always be in flux. There are many reasons to hire farm and stable workers, but before you make the hire, make sure you have done your homework.

There are many situations that require you to go looking for new employees. Maybe you are an first-time employer looking for someone to share the work at your growing farm or stable. Maybe you have had young people who worked at your facility, then went away to college or got “real” jobs when they graduate from high school or college. Maybe you are that unlucky person whose staff who just never seem to stick around (and there might be other reasons than luck). Or maybe you just lost that long-time worker around your facility simply because he just couldn’t handle the workload any more and wanted something easier to do.

Whatever the cause, you have some work to do before you hire someone to work at your farm or stable. Here are some tips to help.

  • Determine what you need done and write out a complete job description.
  • Using that job description, figure out how many hours per day and per week it will take to get all the work done.
  • That should tell you how many hours per week you need someone, or it might show you that you need two people rather than just one.
  • Decide how much you can pay.
  • Determine when you need the person to start.
  • Advertise and get the word out through boarders, other clients, friends, family, your website, social media, etc.
  • Take resumes and ask for references.
  • Review resumes carefully. Look for blanks in the timeline of work; determine if the person says you can contact their current or immediate past employer.
  • Cull to your top potential employees.
  • Call references. (Yes, call references BEFORE you decide to use your busy time interviewing someone who might not turn out to be a good fit for the job or your farm.)
  • Conduct in-person interviews if at all possible. This should include walking around the farm or stable and reviewing what you expect the new employee to do.
  • Determine your selection and either hire or negotiate to hire the person. Expect them to give two weeks’ notice to their current place of employment.
  • Make sure you have an “out” and an “up” in your hiring agreement either verbally or in writing. If either of you aren’t satisfied with the job within a certain amount of time (month, three months, six months), then notice can be given and the employee can leave or you can fire the person. On the other hand, you should also plan to give the person a raise within some set time frame if they work out well for you.

Knowing what you need from an employee, outlining the job description, working to find the right person, and keeping them happy and working for you will make for many happy “labor days” in your future.

Happy “official” Labor Day! You can find out more about the history of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor website.