Episode #256 – The Role of Employee Experience in Animal Health and Veterinary Employment

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #256 - The Role of Employee Experience in Animal Health and Veterinary Employment
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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’ll be talking about the role of employee experience in Animal Health and Veterinary employment. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Julea: Stacy, what exactly will we be discussing today?

Stacy: We’ll be talking about number of things, actually, but mainly we’ll be discussing the critical role that employee experience plays in Animal Health and Veterinary employment. And the reason that I’ve chosen this topic for today’s podcast episode is that successful hiring and retention revolves around the employee experience.

Julea: What do you mean by that Stacy?

Stacy: The employee experience is what ties everything together. We’ve touched upon this in the past, but the employee experience after a person is hired must match the candidate experience that the person had prior to being hired. For example, if a person has a great candidate experience during the interviewing and hiring process, but then they have a poor employee experience after they’re hired, then they’re already at risk of leaving.

Julea: And they were just hired!

Stacy: Exactly.

Julea: And the candidate experience is what convinces a person to accept an offer of employment in the first place, correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. So, for the purposes of this podcast episode, when we talk about the employee experience, we’re going to include the candidate experience, as well. That’s because they’re linked together in an important way, especially within the context of both hiring and retention. As I’ve said before, what’s the point of hiring top talent if you can’t keep those candidates for a considerable amount of time as employees? Retention is a critical topic for employers during the best of times, when it’s relatively easy to hire. However, that’s not the case right now.

Julea: Because hiring is not easy is it Stacy?

Stacy: That’s right, Julea. Hiring is definitely not easy. In fact, it’s as difficult as I have ever seen it, especially in the Veterinary profession. And that’s just one of two major factors that are contributing to the conditions that currently exist in the job market.

Julea: Tell us more about those factors Stacy.

Stacy: The first one is the fact that there is a talent and worker shortage, one which is even more severe in the Veterinary profession than it is in the employment marketplace overall. Because of this, candidates have the leverage in hiring situations, especially top candidates. I’m talking about the top 5% to 10% of the professionals in the job market. This essentially means that employers need these candidates more than these candidates need the employers. This is the essence of having leverage, and since that’s the case, organizations that want to hire these candidates not only have to provide an exceptional experience during the hiring process, but also an exceptional experience to employees after they’ve been hired.

That’s the first factor. The second factor is that professionals in this day and age are expecting a great experience. In addition, what they want as part of that experience has changed. Part of this change is generational, meaning that Millennials and members of Generation Z want different things than members of previous generations, which makes sense. And this is something that we’ve discussed on previous episodes of our podcast. However, part of this change is not generational.

Julea: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: The employment marketplace and the job market have undergone a fundamental shift during the past two years, especially since the pandemic started. We’ve discussed part of that shift in terms of “The Great Resignation.” In short, people’s attitudes toward work, their job, and their career have changed, and this change in attitude has also contributed to the growing importance of the experience, especially in regards to Animal Health and Veterinary employment.

Julea: How have people’s attitudes changed?

Stacy: To help answer that question, I’m going to draw from LinkedIn’s “2022 Global Talent Trends Report.” This is a report that, as you can tell from its title, LinkedIn puts our every year and is usually full of great information regarding the job market and employment, and it was again this year.

Julea: What did the report say?

Stacy: A number of things, including insight related to our discussion today about Animal Health and Veterinary employment and the employee experience. According to the report, employees across all industries are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. As a result of this reassessment that they’re doing, there a number of things that they’re now looking for in an employment situation, either their current situation or a new one with another employer.

First, they want flexible work arrangements. Second, they want more work-life balance. And third, they want to work for an employer that values their physical and emotional well-being. And most importantly, professionals are willing to walk away from those employers that do not provide these things.

Julea: Because they have the leverage?

Stacy: Yes, because they have the leverage. And job seekers and candidates definitely have the leverage in the Veterinary profession. And when I say “walk away,” I mean two things. I mean walk away from their current employer by exploring other job opportunities and walk away from a prospective new employer during the recruiting and hiring process.

And LinkedIn’s “2022 Global Talent Trends Report” has plenty of statistics to back all of this up.

Julea: I’m sure it does. Which statistics would you like to share?

Stacy: I’d like to start with the fact that when professionals are picking a new job, they selected three top things. Those things were work-life balance, compensation and benefits, and colleagues and culture.

Julea: Were those ranked, or do you know which one was the top selection?

Stacy: Yes, they were ranked. Work-life balance was number-one, followed by compensation and benefits and colleagues and culture.

Julea: So, compensation and benefits was not the number-one consideration?

Stacy: No, it was not. That should tell you something about the nature of the employment marketplace in this day and age. Things have definitely changed, and as you can see, the top priorities of job seekers and candidates are one of those things.

Julea: Do you have other statistics or findings from the LinkedIn report?

Stacy: I do. As part of its survey for the report, LinkedIn asked professionals to select the top areas that organizations should invest in to improve company culture. The results were as follows:

#1—Professional development opportunities

#2—Flexible work support

#3—Mental health and wellness

#4—Training managers to lead remote and hybrid teams

#5—Diversity and inclusion

Julea: So, if an employer wants to provide a great experience for its employees, the top way to do that is by offering opportunities for professional development? Is that what the report is saying?

Stacy: Yes. In fact, organizations should strive to provide all five of these things, if possible, if they want to provide the best experience and retain the value of their employees, especially their best employees.

Julea: What other interesting numbers does LinkedIn’s report have?

Stacy: In its report, LinkedIn tracked the difference in engagement on a company post mentioning flexibility, relative to the average company post. According to LinkedIn’s report, there was 77% more engagement with members of Generation Z and 30% more engagement with Millennials.

Julea: What about Generation X and Baby Boomers?

Stacy: Those results were also very interesting. Believe it or not, there as 5% less engagement with Generation X on a company post mentioning flexibility as compared to the average company post and 31% less engagement with Baby Boomers.

Julea: You’re right, those are interesting numbers!

Stacy: Yes, and they perfectly illustrate the disparity between the different generations in the workplace and what they want in a job and in a career.

And LinkedIn also asked another question along generational lines, specifically the percentage of people who say that they’d like to see more investment in mental health and wellness to improve the company culture.

Julea: I would imagine those results mirrored the results of the other survey question that you mentioned.

Stacy: That’s right, they did. In fact, 66% of Generation Z said they want a company culture built on mental health and wellness. Millennials were in second place at 51% followed by Generation X at 41% and Baby Boomers at 31%.

Julea: I’m actually a little surprised that the Gen X and Baby Boomer percentages were that high after the results of the other survey question.

Stacy: Me, too, but it goes to show that mental health and well-being are a concern for every generation, not just the younger ones.

Julea: So, Stacy, what were the take-aways from the report? What can Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices do to improve the experience they provide for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals they are employing?

Stacy: There were a number of things that LinkedIn recommended in its report, and I recommend that anyone who is interested should download the full report. For our purposes, though, I want to mention those things that I most closely advocate.

The first thing is to focus on results and not work hours. I know this might be more difficult for Veterinary practices, since employees have to work specific work hours. However, the bottom line is always result and the best results are not always the ones that took the longest to achieve. If an employee can achieve optimum results in a shorter amount of time, then there’s no reason to be suspect of that employees activity or efforts.

The second outcome from the LinkedIn report that I recommend is train your managers to be empathetic leaders. Employees want and need emotional support, and this is truer of the younger generations. Since Millennials and Gen Zers dominate the workforce right now, this makes perfect sense. Burnout is a concern in many industries and professions, and this includes within the Veterinary profession. Managers must able to navigate this concern to prevent their workers and the members of their team from burning out.

The third thing is to listen to your people. To improve Animal Health and Veterinary employment, organizations must be willing to both solicit feedback from their employees and then actually listen to that feedback. That doesn’t mean implementing every single suggestion that someone makes, but it does mean considering every suggestion made and then implementing those suggestions that make sense for everyone, especially the employees.

And of course, I agree with the recommendations made by LinkedIn in its report. It’s just that not all of them will necessarily work for all Animal Health and Veterinary employers. For some employers, like Veterinary practices and hospitals, remote work situations are not possible and offering more flexibility is sometimes not practical.

Julea: But the main point of LinkedIn’s study—and also of our podcast episode for today—is that having a great experience for candidates before they’re hired and also having a great experience for those candidates once you’ve hired them.

Stacy: That’s correct. And because of all of these changes and everything that’s happened, organizations have to change and adapt to the conditions that now exist in the marketplace. Those employers that do not adapt to current conditions are less likely to consistently hire well and retain their employees once they do hire them.

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?

Yes, I’d like to add that in addition to being a Certified Personnel Consultant, I am also a Certified Employee Retention Specialist. I’m one of less than 50 professionals and search consultants around the world who holds this certification. I believe this certification helps our clients become better at retaining their employees in order for them to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Once again, hiring the best candidates is only part of the equation. The other part is doing what is necessary to retain those candidates for the long haul so that you can benefit from the tremendous amount of value they provide to your organization.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about the candidate and employee experience in Animal Health and Veterinary hiring. And there is additional information The VET Recruiter website about your services for employers, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s 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 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’ve 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!