Sylvia Bruce, a mental health consultant and Master Coach specialising in performance and well-being in the work place looks at how a few small changes can make a big difference to your team.
“A happy crew is a productive crew”, my first ever boss used to say. Yet, what makes a crew happy? What does good employment, mindful and caring employers, do?
Give employees development and advancement opportunities.
When employers help employees grow and develop, everyone wins. Knowledgeable employees find fulfilment, feel valued, content – they’re happy. They’re motivated, resilient, manage change and uncertainty, loyal, maintain performance, relationships, and often achieve beyond expectations.
Employers invest time in, and ensure, employees advance their careers through training, mentoring, upskilling and experiencing new roles and responsibilities.
When employees grow, their productivity and productive capacity increases, enabling your business, your yard, to do the same often without increasing headcount.
Employers also support employees in determining their career paths, even if that means them leaving for pastures new.
The BGA’s Equine Skills CV is an excellent and cost efficient way of helping your grooms to build their skill set and be recognised for the level they are working too. It can also help you to help them to build on their skills, which will of course benefit you and your business.
Allows employees’ autonomy.
Employers should enable and empower employees to think on their own. Whether yard manager, head, or junior groom at some point employers need to ‘relax the reins’ and trust their employees to do their job, and let them make decisions, be responsible for, and own, their work. As employees are allowed more autonomy, motivation, trust, and loyalty increases.
Yes, mistakes happen. Understandably, balancing allowing autonomy with industry specific risk management, protecting employees, horses, and your business, is a judgement call. However not allowing autonomy risks blocking employees’ development, suffocation and de-motivation. If mistakes happen, rather than penalise, encourage the learning opportunity.
Has feedback and conversation confidence.
Feedback is a great way to encourage best practice and is recognised as an invaluable developmental and improvement tool. Indeed, across all industries, many employees wish they received more feedback.
Having a conversation with an employee is paramount in the event there are other employee matters, such as performance, professional or personal, and especially if/when an employer recognises an employee is struggling with their well-being.
In both situations, however daunting, confidence to have these, sometimes tough, conversations is vital for employees’ growth and development, or compassionately supporting them through challenging times.
Knows their available support.
Equine employers have a lot of responsibility, not only to their employees. So they need to apply those same mindful and caring principles to themselves as they do to their employees, to support and maintain their own well-being and performance levels.
The EEA already provides extensive and comprehensive information in Membership Benefits, Employer and Business Zones - eg Starting a Business, Code of Good Employment, employee documentation and related matters - for the solid foundation, framework, around employer/employee responsibilities clarifying those ‘blurred lines’ which can cause, let’s say, challenges.
The forthcoming resource, akin to BGA’s Grooms Minds, will further support EEA members by providing, inter alia, practical, confidence-boosting information on feedback techniques, raising awareness of their own, and employees’, well-being indicators, and having ‘difficult’ conversations. Stress management techniques and a self-help zone will also help, meaning yards become a good, thriving, place to work….. for employers too.
The EEA is here to support you and your business.
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