Trainer Magazine

Trainer Magazine - the horse racing magazine for the training and development of the thoroughbred racehorse. Europe and North America.

Lycetts Team Champion Award

INDUSTRYWeb Master
  The important role played by stable staff has always been recognised by the horsemen and women employing them, though perhaps not always shown. It has certainly been overlooked beyond the stableyard, with the apparent view outside of the racing industry that stable work is unskilled and without long-term prospects. This misguided view has been detrimental, discouraging young people outside of the industry to explore job prospects and consider a role with thoroughbreds.    Recognising the individual skillset of the various roles within a working yard is important and while it may take time to get used to new job titles, where for centuries Lad or Lass sufficed, the titles are helping to identify particular roles and logical career progression. Above all, we are learning to openly value our team members and reward their skill and dedication, which means a tremendous amount in terms of job satisfaction and morale.    A wariness of comparing our workplace to any standard business is understandable, but it is important to recognise it as a business and every trainer wants to operate successfully. Peter Burnet, of the Peplow Group, has delivered learning and development programmes for individuals, teams and organisations since 1992. It's interesting to note that many of Peplow's programmes relate to the horseracing industry, “but can be adapted to any sector or organisation.” In this instance, our industry is setting the target for other industries to aspire to. Teamwork is naturally at its strongest in a working yard and can be seen as our industry's greatest, and to date overlooked, asset.    The team at Peplow explain that, “effective teamwork lies at the heart of every well managed organisation. The need to have a common purpose, clear objectives and a will to work cooperatively with colleagues is essential to maximise performance.”    Without support and management, a team ethic can fail. Clashes of personality, different ways of working, or discomfort and uncertainty with new roles can all lead to frustration, but a good team leader will set goals the whole team can commit to, and issues can be resolved as individuals recognise the strengths and weaknesses of their co-workers and work together smoothly.       The Winning Approach to teamwork    It is for these reasons that The Winning Approach has been devised, to assist trainers, set high standards and retain valued staff members. Attracting and retaining skilled riders and grooms is one of the key challenges currently facing trainers across Europe, who are having to compete with many other industries for an increasingly demanding workforce. Trainers therefore need to manage their staff in a way that attracts and retains them.    A study by the Racing Foundation highlighted a mismatch between trainers’ understanding of the needs of their staff and the expectations of staff members in the way they are managed. The National Trainers Federation has therefore created an Industry Standard for the best ways to engage and motivate staff. Research has shown that, if implemented, this standard can maximise retention. This standard has been called The Winning Approach.    It is hoped that by encouraging trainers to adopt “The Winning Approach”, fewer employees will leave racing and working within the industry will have greater appeal, with a knowledge that racehorse trainers provide the best jobs, the most rewarding jobs and best supported jobs anywhere in the equine sector.      Adopting The Winning Approach principles is, of course, voluntary, but many trainers already have similar practises in place and those looking for help to get started will find it easier than they might fear. Overall it will enhance the reputation of employers in racing and, as we are all aware, the public image of the sport is vitally important.    The outcome will be a visible demonstration of the core values of the programme, such as integrity, legal and regulatory compliance, the respect and care of employees, long term sustainability of your business and maintaining the trust of the public in the racing industry.    Many trainers already recognise and reward, beyond purely financial methods, the work contributed to the success of the yard by staff. This may include yard parties or outings, public acknowledgement of the roles played by staff members in successes, yard prizes and end of year celebrations.    Offering support and guidance in Britain is the National Trainers Federation, which provides a free employment manual and the National Trainers Federation executive team can be contacted on 01488 71719. The Red Book, (Health and Safety Manual for the Racing Industry), is available from the British Horseracing Authority and the Lycetts Tool Kit, a risk mitigation system, is available to all clients of Lycetts’ insurance brokers, via Piers Plunket on 01672 512512.       Lycetts Team Champion    With all of this in mind, the Lycetts Team Champion Award has been created to celebrate the British training yards that have a strong team ethos. The Lycetts Team Champion mission is to deliver praise, and a sense of achievement, for the best managed yards; showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together; spread the message about safe working practices; improve recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful ways in which racehorse trainers manage their staff and encouraging wider adoption of those practices; and demonstrate to the world outside racing that for anyone who wants to work with horses, British racehorse trainers provide the best supported jobs anywhere in the equine sector.    NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold says of the Award, “It is important for the NTF, as the body supporting employers, to take a lead role in initiatives to tackle staff shortages. The workplace is our main focus and the Team Champion Award integrates with several projects we are working on relating to management practices and employee engagement for racing grooms and riders.    “We are looking for ways to recognise the role trainers and their staff, acting as a team, play in developing the foundations for a successful racing stable. It has become the norm for trainers to acknowledge the team effort that brings success on the racecourse. Team Champion aims to identify the building blocks of that team success, encourage wider adoption of those ways of working, and celebrate the stables that do it well.”    Taking part in the Lycetts Team Champion Award will support your recruitment and retention strategy by ensuring you have the best staff management practices in place, as well as supporting your marketing strategy by showing your business is well managed. There is also the chance of winning £5,000.    Fittingly, Lycetts is providing the prize money to be used in a way that benefits and supports the team. The nomination form asks how the yard would envisage using the prize money, so the team knows what winning will mean to them. Examples might include an equiciser, coffee machine or a TV for the staff room, canteen or hostel, or yard-branded riding-out clothing.    Participation is easy, simply study the assessment criteria, (which has been taken from The Winning Approach standards) and decide whether the yard already meets the criteria, or if new ways of working need to be put in place to compete for the award. Trainers and staff agree how they will work together on the nomination and completion of the nomination form. The team should be imaginative in the way they collaborate and collect and provide evidence. This could include video, photo and testimonial evidence and involve the wider team, such as farrier, vet and owners, for example.     The categories are:    1. Using effective recruitment and induction systems    2. Ensuring a safe environment    3. Creating a positive working environment    4. Development and Training    5. Reward and Recognition    The nomination form contains a series of questions prompting teams to describe the action they have taken to achieve the listed outcomes. The criteria has been chosen so they are achievable by yards of any size and the judges will ensure small-scale yards are not at a disadvantage.    Nomination forms, endorsed by trainer and staff, must be submitted to the National Trainers Federation by 1st December 2017.
 

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The important role played by stable staff has always been recognised by the horsemen and women employing them, though perhaps not always shown. It has certainly been overlooked beyond the stableyard, with the apparent view outside of the racing industry that stable work is unskilled and without long-term prospects. This misguided view has been detrimental, discouraging young people outside of the industry to explore job prospects and consider a role with thoroughbreds.

Recognising the individual skillset of the various roles within a working yard is important and while it may take time to get used to new job titles, where for centuries Lad or Lass sufficed, the titles are helping to identify particular roles and logical career progression. Above all, we are learning to openly value our team members and reward their skill and dedication, which means a tremendous amount in terms of job satisfaction and morale.

A wariness of comparing our workplace to any standard business is understandable, but it is important to recognise it as a business and every trainer wants to operate successfully. Peter Burnet, of the Peplow Group, has delivered learning and development programmes for individuals, teams and organisations since 1992. It's interesting to note that many of Peplow's programmes relate to the horseracing industry, “but can be adapted to any sector or organisation.” In this instance, our industry is setting the target for other industries to aspire to. Teamwork is naturally at its strongest in a working yard and can be seen as our industry's greatest, and to date overlooked, asset.

The team at Peplow explain that, “effective teamwork lies at the heart of every well managed organisation. The need to have a common purpose, clear objectives and a will to work cooperatively with colleagues is essential to maximise performance.”

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