Do You Know if Your Employees Are Satisfied With Their Job?

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Let me state the obvious: you can NOT afford to lose the top performers within your Animal Health Company or Veterinary practice.

I’m making this obvious statement because the two most important aspects of workforce management for employers is the hiring of the right people and the successful retention of those people as employees. However, there is often a disproportionate amount of time, energy, and effort spent on hiring as opposed to retention. And that’s a problem.

Here’s why it’s a problem. If an organization spends a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort hiring the best candidates in the marketplace, but it doesn’t expend enough effort to retain those candidates as employees, then the organization just wasted much of what it spent to hire those people in the first place.

As an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, I can tell you that there are professionals who are not satisfied with their current employment situation. Yes, the unemployment rate is hovering near all-time lows, especially within the Veterinary profession. However, that does not mean the majority of veterinary professionals are satisfied.

And the reason I’m broaching the subject of job satisfaction is because satisfaction is the number-one way for organizations to effectively engage their employees and retain their services for an extended amount of time. But how satisfied are employees overall in the marketplace? And more importantly, how satisfied are the employees who are working at your Animal Health company or Veterinary practice?

Let’s tackle the first question. We can do so because of a recent report released by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). According to that report:

  • 38% of U.S. employees reported that they were “very satisfied” with their current job
  • 51% of U.S. employees reported that they were “satisfied, but to a lesser degree” with their current job

So we can see that 89% of the employees participating in the SHRM survey are satisfied to some degree with their current job. So that begs the question: if that percentage of employees are satisfied with their job, then why are companies and organizations finding it more difficult to retain employees?

Well, there are a couple of answers to that question, although they’re not overly satisfying ones. First, we don’t know how many of the 11% of employees who were not satisfied could be classified as top-tier employees. If they’re top-tier employees, then they would more than likely be grade-A candidates if they pursued other opportunities in the marketplace.

Second, it’s possible that it is such a candidates’ job market right now that candidates (especially top candidates) are still pursuing other opportunities even though they are more or less satisfied with their current job. As an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter “working in the trenches” each and every day, I can say that this is more just a possibility. This is one of the most extreme candidates’ job markets that I have seen, and I’ve been a recruiter and search consultant for more than 20 years. Candidates have more options, they have more leverage, and they have more chances to advance their career by pursuing employment opportunities at other employers.

There is yet another possible deduction that we can draw from this SHRM report. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the 38% of survey respondents who are “very satisfied” are not pursuing other employment opportunities. However, let’s say that the 51% who are “satisfied, but to a lesser degree,” are pursuing other opportunities. (At the very least, it’s logical to think that more of the latter are doing so than the former.)

If that is indeed the case, then it follows that being “satisfied, but to a lesser degree” is not enough to keep individuals engaged and ultimately, from accepting a job with another employer. That’s why making it a goal of your Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice to keep your employees “very satisfied” should be of paramount importance. Because it’s only when you reach that level of satisfaction can you hope to believe that your top employees won’t leave you “high and dry.” It should be the goal of the company to be the “employer of choice” in the industry where people want to work”.

So what, exactly, keeps employees “very satisfied”?  The SHRM report has the answer to that question, as well. The survey presented different categories, asking participants to select the factors within those categories that they believed to be most important in terms of satisfaction. The top five factors were as follows:

  1. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels
  2. Compensation/pay
  3. Trust between employees and senior management
  4. Job security
  5. Opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work

While compensation was high on the list, notice that it’s sandwiched between “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” and “trust between employees and senior management.” Who’s responsible for the respectful treatment of all employees at all levels? Senior management, that’s who.

This emphasizes how important it is for members of management to have good relationships with everyone working for them. And it’s even more crucial for those relationships to be built upon both trust and respect. Clearly, employees value those things more highly than anything in terms of their job satisfaction, and that includes their compensation.

So that brings us to our final (and most important) question. It just so happens to also be the title of this blog post: do you know if your employees are satisfied with their job?

To answer that question, forget for a moment about how much money they earn in salary and other compensation. Instead, think about the level of respect that is shown to the employees. Think about how much the employees trust the members of management. Is there respect? Is there trust? If there isn’t, then there’s little chance that your employees are “very satisfied.” They may not even be “satisfied, but to a lesser degree.”

And that would be plenty of reason to be concerned about your ability to retain them.

(I am one of a select group of search and recruitment professionals who has earned a Certified Employee Retention Specialist, or CERS certification. Finding and retaining employees is the number-one concern of employers in today’s marketplace and this certification helps The VET Recruiter’s clients become better at retaining their employees in order for them to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If you would like to discuss the successful engagement and retention of your organization’s employees, I urge you to contact me today.)

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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