Onboarding New Employees in Your Equine Business

You found the right person for your horse farm or stable job opening, now make sure you truly get them on your team.
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Letting a new employee learn from a current staff member can be a great way to help onboard that person.

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons at a horse farm or boarding facility and often are when you are hiring additional employees. How can you make sure you are hiring the right employees? This series on finding the right employee should help.

You’ve invested time and money into recruiting, interviewing and hiring a new employee. Make the most of that investment by creating an environment that sets up a new hire for success. Onboarding is the process of acclimating new employees to the social and performance expectations of the job. The more effective this process is in your equine business, the greater the chance of the new employee's success.

It’s easy to confuse onboarding with new employee orientation. Orientation is the process of getting necessary paperwork completed and distribution of keys or passwords. Onboarding is familiarizing a new employee with the culture at your stable and occurs over an extended period of time. 

During this process you explain what the first day will look like, and you will highlight milestones for 30, 60 and 90 days on the job.

“This is especially important for the goal-orientated employee,” said Thomas Schin, a client relations executive for AccuStaff, a staffing agency based in Malta, New York.

An onboarding plan includes setting expectations for business conduct. This plan will likely vary from one equine business to the next.

“This may include explaining your social media policy and your expectations for cell phone use while an employee is on the job,” Schin said.

Make the process as personal as possible. Ask the employee the management style he or she works best under and set goals that are achievable and meaningful for your stable and the employee. Explain to the employee how your performance appraisal system works, so he or she won't waste time on things that don't matter and can quickly begin to work on key objectives.

Provide the new staff person an opportunity to learn from others in the barn. If this is your only staff member, set aside time to explain how you would like a job completed and let the individual shadow you throughout the day. Barns with more than one employee can benefit from pairing up the new hire with an experienced worker for hands-on training.

Making a new employee feel welcome and providing clear expectations for the position increases the likelihood of a successful hire turning into a great employee.