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Recruiting Veterinarians with Employer Branding and Company Culture

Employer branding and company culture play a large role in an organization’s attempts to recruit veterinarians in this current market. And if you don’t have your employer brand figured out, then you reduce the chances that you’ll be able to successfully recruit and hire those veterinarians. Because if you don’t know what your organization is about and why someone would want to work there, then how do you expect a candidate to know why?

This is where smaller employers can fall behind when they’re competing against larger organizations. That’s because there are many larger organizations already have a well-established employer brand. So if you’re going to compete against those organizations, your employer brand must be articulated and then communicated to job candidates. Candidates need to know what your organization is about, what it stands for and why they would want to work there.


How to recruit veterinarians with employer branding

So what is employer branding? Essentially, it’s how an employer is perceived by job seekers and job candidates within the marketplace. And the rule of thumb is this: everything that a Veterinary organization does and does not do brands it in one way or another. As you might have already guessed, you can brand yourself in one of two ways, either in a positive fashion or a negative one.

However, if you’re not aware of employer branding and you don’t know what’s involved with it, then you may not be aware of how your organization is branding itself. You might think that you have a positive brand in the marketplace, when in reality, you may not have the brand you think you have. And a negative employer brand can negatively affect your hiring efforts.

There is a case study that illustrates this. An organization reached out to our recruiting firm to ask for help filling a position that had been open for six months. They had been trying to fill the position on their own without success. Now the hiring manager called and wanted to hire me to help fill it.

We reached out to a potential candidate about the role. When we spoke with the candidate, he asked, “Hasn’t that position been open for six months? Why can’t they fill it? What is wrong with it?” The problem was his perception, and perception is the foundation of branding. In short, the candidate believed there must be something wrong with the job, the employer, or both since the position had remained open for six months.

So, despite the fact that the candidate had never spoken to anyone at the organization, the candidate had a negative perception of it. The organization had branded itself in a negative way, and company officials didn’t even know it happened. The problem was that the organization was not viewed by the candidate as an employer of choice.


The importance of being an employer of choice

The goal of every organization is to be an employer of choice. But what does that mean? When your organization is an employer of choice, it means:

  • You have an extraordinary work environment
  • Job seekers and candidates want to work for your organization, or at the very least, you’re on their short list of employers.
  • Your best employees want to stay with you, even when they’re being courted by other employers.

There are many benefits associated with being an employer of choice. The top ones include the following:

  • Hiring the top candidates in the marketplace is easier.
  • Retaining your best employees is also easier.
  • When employees do leave you, for whatever reason, it will be easier hire.
  • You have an advantage over your competition, including when it comes to recruiting veterinarians.
  • You’ll experience increased productivity and profitability across the board.

Your organization’s employees comprise its most important commodity. The better the employees are, the better their work will be, and the better that the organization will perform overall. That’s why being seen as an employer of choice is so important.

Below is a list of the top reasons that candidates have given to our recruiting firm for why an organization is not an employer of choice in their minds:

  • Reputation in the marketplace
  • Compensation and/or benefits are not competitive
  • Unorganized; don’t have any systems
  • The way they were treated during the hiring process
  • No electronic medical records
  • Lack of mentorship opportunities
  • Lack of continuing education/chance to learn new skills

So the next logical question is how do you become an employer of choice? The answer lies in what you give, not what you get, specifically what you offer your current employees. Because when you give employees what they want, they will become your biggest advocates and your best means of advertising your organization or practice.


Characteristics of an employer of choice

According to the BalanceCareers.com, there are 12 common characteristics of an employer of choice, and they all revolve around what these companies give to their employees. They include:

  • Competitive salary and benefits offering
  • Compelling mission statement and/or vision
  • Job security
  • Empowerment and authority
  • Access to information
  • Commitment
  • Involvement
  • Positive relationships with co-workers
  • Work-life balance
  • Performance culture
  • Fairness
  • Recognition

Think for a moment how your organization stacks up in these 12 areas. In which areas do you excel and in which do you think you fall short? These areas are the standard by which a potential employer of choice is measured.


Company culture vs. employer brand

Your organization’s company culture is part of your employer brand. If employees and candidates think you have a great company culture, then you are well on your way to having a great employer brand. In order to attract, hire, and retain the top employees in the marketplace, companies must provide a stellar experience, in addition to a well-paying job. And company culture is an integral part of that experience.

But how specifically can you do that? In the early stages of the company culture trend, some employers were of the opinion that providing bean bag chairs and ping-pong tables were the answer. That turned out to not be the case. Employees, especially top employees, want more than a snack cart or an espresso machine. In short, what they want in terms of company culture are things of substance.

(Find out more about who we are at The VET Recruiter and discover how our leadership team can help you recruit veterinarians.)


How to recruit veterinarians with company culture

Below are five of these things of substance. Notice that they’re also characteristics of an employer of choice.

#1—Make sure respect permeates at all levels within the organization.

Respect is another cornerstone of company culture. For some professionals, it’s the most important aspect of culture. They expect to be treated with respect by everyone all of the time. It’s pretty much non-negotiable. This means employees expect to be treated with respect by both their boss and also their co-workers. In fact, even if an employee feels respected by their employer, but then they see a co-worker disrespected in some fashion, it will lessen their opinion of the organization overall and the company culture.

#2—Encourage risk taking in the pursuit of problem solving and excellence.

Employees want to feel as though they have the freedom and flexibility to do their job in a way that will challenge and fulfill them. In other words, they don’t want to be micro-managed. They want to feel as though their employer trusts them to do what they think is best to accomplish both their individual goals and the organization’s overall goals. Allowing employees to take risks and make mistakes in their job is essential to instilling in them a sense of security, and by extension, a sense of confidence.

#3—Model transparency and accountability from the top down.

Basically, this means that if you want your employees to be open and honest with you and also be accountable for their words and actions, then the members of management must do that, as well. In fact, the members of management should be modeling that behavior for everyone. That’s what leadership does. Leaders model the type of behavior that they want to see from their team members. Because if management is not willing to do what it expects of employees, then why should the employees do it?

#4—Do NOT take yourself too seriously (i.e., have fun).

There’s no doubt that a good company culture is one that includes fun. However, you can have fun without having to install arcade games in the break room. Fun is just as much an atmosphere as it is an activity, and the first step is not taking yourself too seriously. Sure, your goal as an organization is to be productive and make a profit. After all, you can’t stay in business (for very long) if you don’t make a profit. However, employees are almost always more productive when they feel as though they’re having fun in the process.

#5—Recognize that trust represents the most important element.

If you want to create and maintain the best company culture that you possibly can and improve your hiring efforts, then candidates and employees must trust your organization. And it’s important to realize that trust within this scope is the same as trust in any other relationship between human beings: it’s difficult to build it and easy to destroy it. All of the other items on this list lead directly to the factor of trust. Ultimately, the organizations that are considered the most trustworthy by their employees are the ones that have the best company culture.


How well do you recruit veterinarians?

The recipe for success is simple. When you brand your organization in a positive way, then professionals will view you as an employer of choice. When you brand your company in a negative way, then those same professionals will NOT view you as an employer of choice.

You might be wondering where your organization stands on this spectrum. If that’s the case, then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have all of the candidates you’ve extended an offer of employment to during the past three years accepted that offer?
  • If they haven’t, what’s the percentage?
  • How many employees have quit working at your organization to pursue another employment opportunity during the past three years?
  • What are the reasons those employees left?
  • How do top candidates currently view your organization in the marketplace?
  • How are candidates treated during the interview process?
  • How do you want your organization to be viewed by job seekers and candidates?

Some of these questions are objective and some are subjective, but your answers will help give you an idea of where you stand in the marketplace. One way to cultivate trust is to ask your current employees for feedback about the company culture. This might be tough for some of you to do but it could give you some good information and help you improve.

(See The VET Recruiter’s mission statement and core values for helping job seekers and employers, and also read and watch candidate and client testimonials about our services.)


The role of a recruiter in hiring veterinarians

If your organization is having difficulty recruiting and hiring veterinarians, one option is to partner with an experienced and reputable recruiting firm that has a track record of success helping employers just like yours. The right recruiting firm has established relationships with the top talent in the Veterinary profession. We’re talking about the top 5% to 10% of veterinarians in the job market.

In addition, there aren’t active job seekers. That means these veterinarians are not actively looking for online openings, which means they’re not seeing your organization’s job advertisements. However, when you partner with a recruiter who has already established relationships with the best candidates in the profession, then you automatically have access to those veterinarians and, with the recruiter’s help, you can recruit them.


Recruiting veterinarians with The VET Recruiter

The VET Recruiter knows how to recruit veterinarians, and we’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. We have a track record of getting the results that our clients want, and we offer a variety of services to achieve those results. These services include:

  • Retained search
  • Contingency search
  • Contract recruiting
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
  • Veterinary consulting services
  • Veterinary succession planning

For more information, request a free consultation from The VET Recruiter regarding how we can best help your organization. You can also request a quote of The VET Recruiter’s services for recruiting veterinarians.

You can also call (918) 488-3901 or (800) 436-0490 or send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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