Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Friday, May 30, 2008


They do say that its hard to get good help. Well, right now I think we'd settle for just help - good bad or indifferent! HA, its just occurred to me what is going to be the theme for this year: the year of the employee. I've said before our first goal was to make this the year we get our personal lives back. And we've done a lot towards that aim. But it turns out that requisite to this goal is to have the help necessary to keep the place running without us. Not that this was a surprise in the least. The challenges of being able to hire, train and retain that workforce, however, have been an eye opener.

We hired our first real employee sometime last spring. 'Sometime', I say because, well, my employee-file system wasn't exactly in place back then! I do know our second employee started in April '07. And she worked out very well, staying with us for a year. SO yeah, we just got to replace a valuable employee for the first time.

We started out ecstatic as we got over a dozen responses to our job listing on Craig’s List in just a few days. But then we 15 candidates all of a sudden to vet. That took a couple weeks, and in the end we hired two great gals.

One of whom had to quit less than 3 weeks into the job due to a family issue out of state. We hemmed and hawed over which of the other candidates to contact again. Eventually we established that two of our holiday helpers from the past two years are coming back for the summer, so that's great news.

Regardless, we have quite a bit of training to do since Dave and I are going to the UK for 10 days later in June (note goal #1 above). What with Ginger tied up nearly full time in camp that month, we're going to need kennel staff who are fairly self sufficient.

Our other staffing challenge has been the decision to hire a property maintenance person. Both Dave and Ginger are dealing with the brutal realities of their very physical jobs, as well as being busier than ever. So we decided to hire a property guy. I mentioned it to my co-worker, and she said immediately that a friend of hers would be the perfect candidate. Woohoo! I was excited to be able to skip the recruitment process. We had him over and discussed responsibilities and what not. He left with the paperwork to fill out.

And called me the next day saying he too had an opportunity/obligation come up unexpectedly that would take him out of state. *headdesk*

So, Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend I posted another job listing on Craig’s list. And by Monday afternoon we had another dozen respondents. We went through the list and contacted about 8 of them for more info. Of course some are easier to deal with than others, and that's part of the evaluation process.

But I have to say the guy today took the cake. We had scheduled a phone call yesterday, but I discovered I didn't have a number for him. Oops! I emailed him immediately, but he didn’t get back to me until hours later. Number in hand we scheduled another call this morning. I called him. Twice even. 10 minutes later he called back, apologizing that he had been waiting for my call... but belatedly realized his phone was in his truck. Huh? Just how does someone wait for a call without knowing where their phone is? LOL. Dude – if you ever find your way to my blog and read this? Take this as word to the wise: when waiting for an interview call, have your phone accessible AND charged.

Anyways, tomorrow our favorite two candidates are coming out to meet with us. I'm thinking my first question is going to be whether they have any active out-of-state relationships?



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