Episode #253 – ‘The Great Resignation’ and Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring and Retention

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #253 - ‘The Great Resignation’ and Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring and Retention
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we will be talking about ‘The Great Resignation” and Animal Health and Veterinary hiring. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I am glad to be here with you.

Julea: Stacy, we have not specifically addressed “The Great Resignation” from the point of view of the employer yet on our podcast, have we?

Stacy: No, we have not, and that is one of the reasons that I wanted to discuss this topic today. However, there is another reason.

Julea: What would that be?

Stacy: “The Great Resignation” is far from over. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs this past November. That represents an all-time record in our country for the most amount of people to quit their jobs in a single month.

Julea: Wow, it seems as though instead of slowing down, the trend appears to be picking up speed!

Stacy: Yes, and believe it or not, “The Great Resignation” is poised to extend well into this year.

Julea: It is?

Stacy: Yes. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Joblist near the end of last year, 73% of Americans indicated that they were considering quitting their job. In addition, more than a quarter of those people also said they would feel comfortable quitting their job without a new one lined up.

Julea: Those are eye-opening numbers, especially considering how many people quit their jobs in 2021. So, it appears as though this year could present just as many Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and retention problems as last year.

Stacy: Yes. I have been a search consultant and recruiter for nearly 25 years now, and once again, I have to say that the job market for talent is as tight as it has ever been. That means identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified candidates is as tough as ever. And hiring the top candidates in the marketplace, the top 5% to 10% of talent? That is even more difficult. So, there are many challenges for employers in 2022, and that includes employers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.

These are all reasons why I wanted to address this topic during today’s podcast episode.

Julea: Now that we have laid the framework for our discussion, where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: I would like to start with the fact that are things that employers can do to combat “The Great Resignation” and improve their Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and retention efforts.

In fact, there is a lot that an organization can do to keep its top employees engaged and reduce the risk that they’re going to look elsewhere for professional satisfaction. I have a list of retention strategies that I would like to share, and these strategies are broken down into categories—those that directly involve more money and those that do not.

Julea: Stacy, should employers be using all these strategies?

Stacy: That is a good question. While it is a good idea to use all of these strategies to some extent, some of them are dependent upon the circumstances surrounding a specific situation. These circumstances include the caliber of a specific employee or group of employees and how convinced they are that they need to leave your organization for another employment opportunity.

Julea: Which ones will we discuss first?

Stacy: I would like to start with the ones that do not directly deal with money, and the first one is keeping the lines of communication open.

Even if an employee is only casually looking at other opportunities, their employer is not likely to know that they are doing so. That is why management must have a grasp of where they are in terms of their employment and their career. There are a series of questions that you can ask about the employee, including:

Are they engaged in their job? If not, why not?

Do they appear satisfied with their job? Once again, if not, why not?

And how do they want to grow professionally?

Julea: I am guessing that if you don’t have the answer to that final question, then you’d better find out.

Stacy: That is right. This is information that is vital to helping you retain your employees. If you do not have it, then you must get it.

The second item on our list that does not directly involve money is discussing employees’ career growth and path within the organization. The logic behind this is simple.

Sometimes, people do not see the opportunities for growth at their employer because they can’t see them. And the reason they do not see them is because their boss or other members of management have not communicated those opportunities to them in a way that resonates with them and compels them to stay. This is where a personal, one-on-one discussion is a good idea. It could be a wise investment of time and energy that could pay off down the road.

Julea: That’s because employees who can see the opportunities that exist at their current employer are more likely to stay with that employer so they can take advantage of them.

Stacy: That’s exactly right Julea! The third item on our list is to offer more flexibility and other perks.

Julea: Stacy, we have touched on this before, but isn’t there a limit to the flexibility that some Animal Health and Veterinary employers can offer to their employees?

Stacy: Yes, that is true. One of the most sought-after perks in the marketplace these days is working from home or remote work. However, not all employers in the Veterinary profession can offer that perk.

This means that employers have to be more create and offer other forms of schedule flexibility to its employees. They can also provide them with additional paid time off if they cannot offer remote work or other schedule flexibility.

Before we move on to the strategies that directly deal with money, I would like to note that all three of the strategies we just discussed should not be used in place of one another. After all, they are free. They just require a commitment and an investment of time and energy. Because of that, Animal Health and Veterinary organizations should be utilizing all of them to a certain degree.

Julea: That makes sense. Are we going to discuss the retention strategies that do cost money?

Stacy: Yes, we are, and the first one is the most obvious one, which is a salary increase.

Julea: Don’t most organizations give our raises at least once per year?

Stacy: Yes, but if you are only giving our raises once per year and the amount of those raises are 3% or less, then your organization should revisit its stance in regard to raises.

Julea: Is that because of the state or the job market and how much that talent is in demand?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. I wrote an important article for The VET Recruiter website this past year. The title of that article was “Why Higher Wages and Bigger Bonuses Are Inevitable in This Market.” I recommend everyone in our listening audience to read that article, especially if you are a hiring manager or a decision maker within an Animal Health company or Veterinary organization.

In that article, I discuss how and why employers must be willing to pay more in terms of starting salaries, bonuses, and other compensation if they want to hire the best candidates in the marketplace. The same goes for retaining the best employees. An organization must be willing to pay more to retain the services of top talent. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, paying for talent is not the same as paying for electronics. You should not have a “pay the least amount of money for the most amount of value” mindset. That won’t cut it in today’s marketplace. If you want to hire and retain the best in today’s job market, then you must be willing to pay the best.

Julea: So, it’s probably not a good idea for an employer to wait until the annual performance review or some other time to give out raises to its top employees?

Stacy: That is right. It is not a good idea. Instead, employers must look over their employee roster and ask themselves some questions, such as:

  • Who are my top employees?
  • When was the last time those employees received a raise?
  • What was the amount of that raise?
  • Was the raise only a 3% cost-of-living raise?

Julea: If an organization is only giving their top employees cost-of-living raises, then that is a problem, too, isn’t it?

Stacy: Yes, it is, because those employees could already be at risk for leaving. The best way to keep employees is to do so proactively and giving out appropriate raises is a proactive way to show your appreciation.

Julea: How else can employees accomplish this?

Stacy: Another strategy that deals directly with money is giving out retention bonuses.

Julea: Is that like a signing bonus that an employer would give to someone whom it just hired?

Stacy: Exactly, except in this case an organization is giving it to a current employee in an effort to convince that employee to stay.

This are less common than salary increases, but could prove to be more valuable, especially with employees. If you have only given your top employees cost-of-living raises, then you could make up for that with a retention bonus. That would certainly get their attention and perhaps make them think twice about leaving. However, if you really want to “seal the deal,” so to speak, you would consider giving your top employees BOTH a substantial raise for the value that they provide to the organization, as well as a retention bonus.

Julea: So, it might not be an either-or situation?

Stacy: That is right. As I mentioned earlier, some of these strategies are dependent upon the circumstances surrounding a specific situation or a specific employees. Whereas one employee might merit both a substantial raise and a retention bonus, another employee might only merit a retention bonus. It is up to the organization to assess the value of its employees and then do what is necessary to retain those employees on a case-by-case basis. That brings us to our third and final retention strategy that deals directly with money.

Julea: Which strategy is that?

Stacy: Longer resignation bonuses.

Julea: What does that mean?

Stacy: Well, this really isn’t a retention strategy, per se, because the employee is ultimately going to leave, anyway. However, depending upon the caliber of the employee and the position that they are leaving, you may want to reward them for a longer resignation period.

For example, if you can convince them to stay four weeks instead of the standard two, that could give you enough time to prepare for their departure and get a head-start on finding their replacement, regardless of whether that person will come from within the organization or from without.

Julea: That makes sense, when you think about it. We’ve talked before about how costly is it is leave a position open for an extended period of time.

Stacy: Right, and that cost goes up depending on how important the position is. The longer that you can have someone in that position, the better, even if that person is going to leave eventually. It will give you more time to find a suitable replacement.

Julea: Stacy, we are just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes, since we talked about retention today, I thought it would be appropriate to add that not only am I a Certified Personnel Consultant or CPC, but I am also an Employee Retention Specialist or CERS. As a result, I am uniquely qualified to provide expertise in the area of employee retention and that’s why I feel so strongly about how important it is for employers.

Julea: So, it would be accurate to say that not only are you an expert in the area of Animal Health and Veterinary hiring, but you’re also an expert in retention, as well?

Stacy: Yes, that would be accurate to say. And I would like to add that employee retention is as important now as it has ever been, for all of the reasons that we’ve just discussed. Animal Health companies and Veterinary organizations should be doing everything within their power to retain the services of their best employees so they can keep benefitting from the tremendous value that they provide.

In this day and age, it’s not enough to continually hire the best. You have to keep the best, too.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about creating an effective Animal Health recruiting and hiring plan. And there is additional information The VET Recruiter website about your services for employers, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. We have information about our services for employers, including a detailed breakdown of our recruiting process and testimonials from Animal Health companies and Veterinary organizations as well as candidates that have used our services and continue to use them. And since The VET Recruiter has a long track record of success during the past two-plus decades, we also have a list of positions that we have placed in the past.

I also recommend that those who visit the website also sign up for our monthly newsletter, which also contains hiring tips and strategies. You can also follow The VET Recruiter on the various social media channels, including LinkedIn, and you can do that right from The VET Recruiter website.

And of course, you can get a quote of our services, submit a job order, or request a consultation. We would be happy to speak with you about your Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring needs.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, Julea and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!