Good hires is key to the success of any company. This is true for mom-and-pop shops, start-ups, and small veterinary clinics... as well as Fortune 500 companies. But finding and hiring the right employee can be tough. Small veterinary clinics are often faced with limited time and resources, and need to make each new hire count.
According to a hiring survey by CareerXroads, here are the top ways veterinary clinics can recruit and hire employees.
Employer referrals make up 24.5%, nearly a quarter of recruits. Many small employers offer cash or other incentives to encourage employees to participate.
Nearly another quarter (23.4%) of recruits hear about the job through the small business's career website page. Make sure your clinic has a career website page where you list (or link to) open positions and describe your company's mission and culture.
According to the hiring survey, 18% of candidates are referred by an online job board. Small veterinary clinics can use free job boards such as Craigslist.com and/or job board aggregator sites such as SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com. Businesses can also post paid job descriptions to general boards such as Monster.com, CarreerBuilder.com, and GlassDoor.com, and to local or regional job boards and newspapers.
College candidates (recruits from college or within 0-2 years of graduation) represent 5% of recruits. Businesses, including vet clinics, have long relied on university recruiting programs to fill entry-level positions and gain access to workers with up-to-date skills. Plus, small businesses offer recent college grads something that many large companies cannot -- opportunity for fast growth and entrepreneurship. Internships are another way to get fresh talent in the door.
While social media is still a small percentage of how candidates say they heard about a job (3%), it is a growing strategy for veterinary clinics. As more job seekers use social media and mobile devices to look for work, vet clinics are using social media as a low-cost way to recruit, source, and interview candidates.
Retention Ideas for Veterinarians
For a business to thrive in today’s economy, finding and retaining the best employees is important. This is especially true for small veterinary clinics competing with larger facilities, and larger budgets, for top talent.
Happy employees help businesses thrive
Frequent voluntary turnover has a negative impact on employee morale, productivity, and company revenue. Recruiting and training a new employee requires staff time and money.
Some studies (such as SHMR) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that's $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.
But others predict the cost is even more - that losing a salaried employee can cost as much as 2x their annual salary, especially for a high-earner or executive level employee.
So how can a small vet clinic keep their employees from jumping ship? As our workforce becomes increasingly mobile, a well-thought out employee retention strategy becomes just as important as recruitment (if not more).
Here are seven tips for small business employee retention.
1. Understand Why Employee Retention Matters
Employee turnover costs small businesses time and money. Turnover disrupts the flow of a functioning workforce. When an employee leaves there can be a significant knowledge gap left, creating more work as the remaining team members pick up the pieces.
Recruiting and training a new employee requires staff time and money. Every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs on average 6 to 9 months in salary. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that's $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses, along with other intangibles.
While some turnover is inevitable, having an intentional employee retention strategy in place mitigates the turnover, and its costs, for a vet clinic.
2. Benchmark Your Employee Retention Rate
Do you know your veterinary clinic’s current employee retention rate? Before you start thinking about formal employee retention activities, calculate your employee retention rate and track it periodically, such as quarterly or bi-annually.
The calculation is simple. Divide the number of employees who left during a period by the total number of employees at the end of a period to get the percentage. According to industry standards, 85% or higher is considered a healthy employee retention rate.
3. Use Retention Strategies, Not Guesswork
There are several theories in employee retention strategies. Here's a sample of four common theories:
Positive Organizational Behavior is defined by Fred Luthans as "the study and application of positively-oriented human resource strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured, developed, and effectively managed for performance improvement in today’s workplace"
Valence, in Victor Vroom's Expectancy Theory, is the extent to which an employee's goals match the company's goals. The more aligned these are, the higher the employee retention rate.
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theorizes that companies should first take care of an employee's basic needs, such as job security, payment, and health benefits, and then advance to bigger aspirations, like his or her place in the company.
How important is it that employees feel they are being treated fairly? According to John Stacey Abrams' Equity Theory, if a worker feels he is getting what he considers to be fair for the job he is doing in return, he will be happy and remain in the position.
4. Don't Assume Employees Are Happy
One of the worst mistakes a small business can make is to assume that, because an employee is still there, he or she is happy.
Schedule regular, one-on-one reviews with employees. These review meetings serve as a forum where the employee can receive constructive feedback.
Feedback is important. Even the most productive employees should be given feedback as a part of the retention strategy. Studies show employees not only want acknowledgment for work done well, but also want constructive criticism and routine review of goals and expectations. This makes an employee feel valued and helps keep morale high.
Conduct regular, formal evaluations. Employee evaluations are also a good time to get feedback from employees on what will make them happy. With a retention strategy, always keep a balance between what the employees want and what's best for the business.
5. Health Benefits Are A Key Part of Employee Retention
Health benefits are a vital part of an employee's compensation package, and thus an important strategy for employee retention.
Work with an insurance agent or broker to evaluate your small business health insurance options including private exchange and individual health insurance premium reimbursement.
If your business can't afford a group health insurance plan, or cannot meet minimum participation requirements, work with your broker to design a premium reimbursement plan. Premium reimbursement allows your business to provide employees healthcare allowances for their individual health insurance policies. This is an alternative to an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan.
6. Provide Different Benefits for Different Employees
Turnover of certain employees may be more costly than others, thus it is common to provide different levels of benefits to different classes of employees. This is routinely done by major corporations. For example, office managers are compensated differently than veterinarians.
Because health benefits are such an important part of compensation and retention, why not provide health benefits that vary by class of employee? Veterinary clinics can do this with premium reimbursement allowances.
As there are no minimum or maximum contribution requirements with premium reimbursement, a vet clinic can design their health benefits plan to fulfill their exact recruiting and retention needs.
7. Conduct Exit Interviews
Exit interviews provide businesses valuable information on the reasons employees seek employment elsewhere.
Develop an exit interview survey that asks for feedback on the work environment, employee benefits, areas for improvement, training, supervision, and workload.
Evaluate the exit interview surveys and incorporate the feedback into your veterinary clinic’s employee retention strategies.
Additional Reading to Help Veterinary Clinics
Why Veterinary Clinics are Switching to Individual Health Insurance
As a veterinarian, you invest 100% of your physical, mental, and emotional energy into long days of assisting and treating animals - and that doesn’t include the side work of hiring, managing an office, and dealing with group health insurance for your veterinary clinic.Veterinary clinic health insurance is not only time consuming, but costly. As such, something is beginning to happen -- many veterinary clinics are switching to individual health insurance as a way to free up valuable time and money. >> Read more.
Healthcare Benefits for Veterinary Clinics
A more ideal solution is for veterinary clinics and animal shelters to send their employees to the individual health insurance market. The clinic can still help their employees with their individual health insurance costs while remaining within the strict confines of their budget. >> Read more.
Defined Contribution - A Health Insurance Solution for Veterinarian Clinics
Defined contribution is a popular health insurance solution for small to medium sized veterinarian clinics. This article looks at why vet clinics and animal clinics are quickly adopting defined contribution as a health insurance solution >> Read more.