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Episode #316 – 10 Steps for Maximizing Employee Engagement for Better Retention

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #316 - 10 Steps for Maximizing Employee Engagement for Better Retention

Caleb: 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 10 steps for maximizing employee engagement for better retention. Stacy, thank you for joining us today.

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

Caleb: Stacy, what is behind the topic of today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Retention is a big concern for Animal Health and Veterinary employers in today’s job market. In fact, every organization wants to know what they can do to increase the retention rate of its employees, especially its best employees.

Caleb: And employee engagement is how they can accomplish that?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right, but there is a lot involved with employee engagement. That’s why we’re going to discuss 10 steps. There’s a lot that Animal Health and Veterinary employers can do to successfully engage their employees so they stay with the organization and not leave in search of “greener pastures.”

However, the good news is that hiring and retention are “two sides of the same coin.” This means what you do during one, which is hiring, can have a positive effect on the other, which is retention. Fully engaging candidates during the recruiting and hiring process not only increases your chances of hiring your top choice for the position, but it also increases your chances of retaining that candidate as an employee for a considerable length of time.

Caleb: Stacy, we’ve talked before about the fact that the onboarding process starts the moment that a job candidate accepts an organization’s offer of employment.

Stacy: Correct, it does.

Caleb: So when should Animal Health and Veterinary employers start engaging those candidates in a meaningful way?

Stacy: Great question. From a logical perspective, the answer would be when the candidate accepts the job offer. However, that is not the correct answer.

Caleb: It’s not? Why is that?

Stacy: The answer is that an employer must start meaningfully engaging candidates far before their top choice accepts the offer of employment. And that leads us to our 10 steps for maximizing employee engagement for better retention. So I’d like to address each of these 10 steps individually.

Caleb: That sounds great. What’s the first step?

Stacy: The first step is defining clear job expectations and role fit.

Caleb: What does that mean?

Stacy: First, clear job expectations provide employees with a roadmap for success. When employees know precisely what is expected of them, they are better equipped to meet these expectations and perform at their best. This clarity reduces ambiguity, frustration, and potential conflicts that can arise when job roles are ill-defined. In addition, it empowers employees to set meaningful goals and benchmarks for themselves, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability.

Role fit, on the other hand, ensures that employees are in positions that align with their skills, strengths, and career goals. When individuals feel their roles match their capabilities and ambitions, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated. This alignment minimizes the risk of burnout and turnover, as employees are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere when they find fulfillment in their current positions.

Caleb: And burnout and turnover are definitely areas of concern, especially in the Veterinary profession.

Stacy: Yes, that is right.

Caleb: What’s the second step on our list?

Stacy: The second step is implementing a comprehensive recruitment process.

Caleb: What is involved with that?

Stacy: Multiple things. First, a well-structured recruitment process helps identify candidates who not only possess the necessary skills and qualifications, but who also align with the company’s values and culture. When new hires fit into the organization, they are more likely to feel connected, engaged, and motivated to contribute to its success over the long term.

Second, a comprehensive recruitment process can uncover candidates with the potential for long-term growth within the company. Identifying individuals who are not only a fit for their current roles, but also possess the capacity to take on greater responsibilities in the future can be valuable in terms of succession planning.

And third, an effective recruitment process minimizes the likelihood of hiring mistakes, reducing turnover and the associated costs. It helps ensure that job expectations are clearly communicated and that candidates have a realistic understanding of their roles, leading to fewer surprises and disappointments after hiring.

Caleb: All of that certainly makes sense. What’s third on our list?

Stacy: The third step is providing a positive candidate experience, and this one is of the utmost importance. And once again, there are multiple components to this step.

First, a positive candidate experience reflects the organization’s values and culture. When candidates are treated respectfully, communicated with transparently, and guided through a thoughtful and well-organized hiring process, they’re more likely to perceive the company as a great place to work.

Second, candidates who have had a positive experience during the recruitment process are more likely to become engaged employees. They are predisposed to feel valued and respected from day one, leading to a strong sense of belonging and commitment to the organization.

And third, a positive candidate experience can also influence word-of-mouth recommendations. Candidates who have been treated well are more likely to speak positively about the company to their networks, potentially attracting more high-quality talent in the future.

Caleb: Employee engagement certainly does require a lot of steps and components.

Stacy: And that’s why it also requires a lot of planning and a lot of energy in its execution. But it’s worth it, considering what happens when you don’t effectively engage employees.

Caleb: I agree! What’s next?

Stacy: The fourth step for maximizing employee engagement is establishing a robust onboarding program.

First, a comprehensive onboarding program helps new hires acclimate to their roles and the company culture more efficiently. When employees are given the necessary tools, information, and guidance from the start, they can start contributing to the organization’s goals sooner.

In addition, onboarding programs convey a strong message of value and commitment from the employer. When new employees feel their integration into the organization is a priority, they’re more likely to reciprocate that commitment by remaining with the company for an extended period.

A well-structured onboarding process also fosters connections and relationships within the workplace. It encourages interaction with colleagues and managers, helping new hires feel like they are part of a supportive team.

Caleb: That’s also part of providing a positive candidate experience, is it not?

Stacy: Yes, it’s part of providing a positive experience during the transition period from when the person is a candidate to when they’re an actual employee. And the fifth step in the process also reflects this transition.

Caleb: Which step is that?

Stacy: Creating and cultivating a welcoming environment.

Caleb: What does that step involve?

Stacy: More than a couple of things. First, a welcoming environment fosters a sense of belonging and safety. When employees feel accepted, respected, and valued for their unique contributions, they’re more likely to engage fully in their work.

Second, a welcoming workplace encourages open communication and collaboration. When employees are comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, they become active participants in the company’s growth and development.

And third, a welcoming culture also supports employee well-being, both physically and mentally. Organizations that prioritize their employees’ health and happiness create a more attractive work environment, reducing stress and burnout. And as we’ve discussed, stress and burnout are of particular concern in the Veterinary profession.

Caleb: What’s next on our list?

Stacy: The next step on our list is providing opportunities for growth and development.

Caleb: That’s a big one in this current market, isn’t it?

Stacy: Yes, it is. Growth and development opportunities demonstrate an Animal Health or Veterinary employer’s commitment to investing in their employees’ futures. When employees perceive that their organization values their personal and professional growth, it fosters a sense of loyalty and engagement.

In addition, learning and development initiatives enhance job satisfaction and employee morale. As employees acquire new skills, take on more challenging tasks, and achieve their career goals, they experience a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.

Not only that, but offering growth opportunities can also help organizations identify and cultivate future leaders from within their ranks. This not only ensures a strong talent pipeline, but it also promotes loyalty among employees who see a clear path to advancement.

Caleb: Stacy, I’ve noticed a theme and a pattern with these steps. It seems as though the more that an organization helps its employees, the more that it helps itself in the long run.

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct! In fact, I want to address that point at the end of today’s podcast episode. But first, we must move on to #7 on our list, which is encouraging collaboration and teamwork.

Caleb: How does that maximize employee engagement?

Stacy: As has been the case with all of our steps, in multiple ways.

First, collaboration enhances job satisfaction by creating a more enjoyable and fulfilling work environment. When employees work together effectively, they experience a sense of accomplishment and shared success, which contributes to higher engagement levels.

Second, teamwork promotes a strong sense of camaraderie and support among employees. When individuals feel like they’re part of a team that values their contributions, they’re more likely to form meaningful connections and build strong relationships in the workplace.

And third, collaboration and teamwork can lead to professional development opportunities. Employees who work closely with colleagues from different backgrounds or disciplines often acquire new skills and perspectives, which can enhance their career growth within the organization.

Caleb: Seven down and only three more to go! What’s the eighth step on our list?

Stacy: The eighth step is recognizing and rewarding employee contributions.

Caleb: We’ve discussed this before on the podcast, too, haven’t we?

Stacy: Yes, we have, and we’ve done so on multiple occasions, mainly because of how important it is.

When employees receive praise or tangible rewards for their hard work and dedication, it reinforces their belief that their contributions are valued by the organization. This recognition boosts morale and job satisfaction, making employees more likely to stay and continue to excel in their roles.

And of course, employees who see a direct correlation between their efforts and positive outcomes are more likely to be engaged and committed. The prospect of recognition and rewards can serve as a strong incentive for employees to consistently perform at their best.

Not only that, but a culture of recognition and rewards can also lead to increased peer-to-peer appreciation and collaboration. When employees witness their colleagues being recognized for their contributions, it encourages a supportive and motivating environment where everyone strives for excellence.

Caleb: Stacy, we discussed work-life integration on the podcast last week. Does that enter into the picture at all when it comes to employee engagement?

Stacy: Yes, and thank you for asking, because I’d like to talk about that next!

As we discussed last week, when employees have the flexibility to manage their work and personal commitments effectively, they experience reduced stress and improved well-being. This, in turn, leads to higher engagement levels and a greater sense of loyalty to the organization.

In addition, when employees feel that their company values their personal lives and respects their boundaries, they’re more likely to remain with the organization for the long term. This commitment to employee well-being translates into increased retention rates.

And work-life integration can also boost productivity and creativity. Employees who have the flexibility to balance their personal lives are often more energized, focused, and innovative when they’re at work. This contributes to a more motivated and engaged workforce, ultimately benefiting the organization’s bottom line.

Caleb: And as we discussed just a few minutes ago, when an organization helps its employees, the organization benefits in the long run, including in regards to its bottom line. So we’ve reached the end of our list. What is the 10th step for maximizing employee engagement for better retention?

Stacy: The 10th and final step is to continuously measure and adapt.

Caleb: What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: By collecting feedback and analyzing data, organizations can identify areas where improvement is needed, whether it’s related to work conditions, communication, or development opportunities.

And adapting and making changes is essential because employee engagement is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Different individuals may be motivated by different factors, and their needs might evolve as they progress in their careers. A flexible approach to engagement strategies allows organizations to tailor their efforts to the unique preferences of their employees.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time for today, but I know that you wanted to address one more thing on today’s podcast.

Stacy: Yes, I want to wrap things up by emphasizing that maximizing engagement is a way of investing in your employees. First of all, of course, retaining more employees—especially top producers—leads to a healthier bottom line.

But when employees are engaged and more committed to their work, they’re more productive. Their performance can directly translate into improved efficiency and reduced operational costs. That also ultimately leads to a healthier bottom line.

And something that we briefly alluded to earlier is that engaged employees act as brand ambassadors. Their positive experiences translate into higher levels of customer satisfaction, as they’re more likely to go above and beyond to deliver exceptional service. This, in turn, enhances the company’s reputation and customer loyalty.

So the more that an Animal Health or Veterinary employer does for its employees and the more that it invests in its employees through engagement, the better the result is for the company. When you help your employees, you’re actually helping yourself in the long run.

Caleb: That makes complete sense! Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about 10 steps for maximizing employee engagement for better retention.

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

Caleb: Before we go, if you are an employer in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession needing to hire your next team member look no further than The VET Recruiter.  Reach out to Stacy today to discuss your hiring needs. The VET Recruiter fills all kinds of positions in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession including veterinarians and Medical Directors for Veterinary Hospitals.   The VET Recruiter places professionals and executives in the Animal Health industry including in the areas of sales, marketing, research and development, Veterinary professional services, pharmacovigilance and more. If you are an Animal Health professional or veterinarian ready to make your next career move reach out to Stacy as well. Well, folks we are wrapping up today’s podcast and we look forward to seeing you again next week.

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