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THIS is Just as Important as Why People Quit Their Job

Stacy Pursell

The VET Recruiter ®

Not hiring the best candidates in the marketplace hurts your organization. There are no two ways about it. However, there’s something that is almost as costly as not hiring the best candidates.

That’s hiring the best candidates and then losing them because they leave.

Retention is a concern for many employers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. It’s even more of a concern in this current candidates’ market. That’s because, as I’ve discussed before, all candidates have more options in this market and the best candidates have the most options. As a result, it is inherently more difficult for employers to keep their best employees.

And before we go too far, understand that recruiters are ultimately not responsible for professionals choosing to leave their employer for another opportunity. The decision lies with the professional. They decide what to do and what not to do. In fact, the employer is more responsible than any recruiter. That’s because the employer has within its power the ability to prevent the employee from leaving.

Keep in mind that while retention is a noun, the verb version of the word, retain, is meant to be an active verb, not a passive one. In other words, an employer should strive to actively retain its employees. It should not passively try to retain them or react after the fact (after the employee has given their notice).

Both WHY and WHEN

There are two important facets regarding the issue of retention. The first facet is WHY people quit their jobs. However, it’s not the only factor involved in successful retention. That’s because WHEN they quit their jobs is just as important. That’s because even if you know the general reasons why people quit, if you don’t know when they typically quit, then that information will only take you so far.

However, if you know both why and when people quit their jobs, then that allows you to “get ahead of the curve” and attack the issue proactively instead of reactively.

CEB, a best practice insight and technology company based in Washington, D.C., recently conducted research that sheds some light on this issue. According to CEB’s research, there are three milestones in a person’s life that might trigger the need for reflection and the corresponding desire to make a change in regards to their current employer situation. Those three milestones are as follows:

  1. Work anniversary
  2. Birthday
  3. Class reunion

What do these three milestones tell us? That people are more likely to quit their job when they’re comparing themselves to other professionals. This makes perfect sense. People feel the intrinsic need to compare themselves to others, and that’s exactly what they do when they observe or celebrate these milestones.

When they celebrate a birthday, they think about other people who are the same age. They wonder if they are where they should be in their career. When they celebrate a work anniversary, they wonder what kind of future they have at their employer and whether or not they could enjoy more success if they made a move. When they go to a class reunion, they see what their former classmates have done with their life and wonder whether or not they could be doing more to reach their full potential.

The fact of the matter is that job departures are more frequent around these three milestones. Is this information of which you’re aware and/or you could put to good use within your organization?

Proactive and concrete steps

Do you know the birthdays of all of your employees? Do you know their work anniversaries? Do you know the other important milestones in their life? If not, then you should. This is all important information that will allow you to more effectively retain the best employees within your organization.

Keep in mind, of course, that just knowing this information will not be enough to retain your employees. You also have to do something with it. If you don’t, then the information is useless, plain and simple.

However, this data does provide you with the opportunity to take proactive, concrete steps toward improving the retention rate of your best employees:

  1. As mentioned above, make sure that you know the important dates associated with all of your employees’ milestones.
  2. When the date of each milestone draws near, reach out to the employee to discuss what they think and how they feel about their employment with your organization. It can be just a small get-together or meeting with a few questions. Communicate the fact that you care about the person’s employment, especially their future employment.
  3. Record any and all feedback that they provide and then take whatever further action is necessary. For example, if you discover that the person is disenchanted with their employment, address their concerns immediately.

Once again, I must emphasize that knowing the reasons why employees typically leave is not enough to increase your organization’s retention rate. Knowing when they typically reflect on their employment and are more likely to leave is not enough, either.

In order to increase your retention rate, you must take action. You must meet the needs of your top employees and you must meet them on a continuous basis. To do that, you must know what those needs are. This requires a proactive approach that might include some tough questions.

There isn’t a single Animal Health employer or Veterinary employer that wants to lose its best employees. However, organizations often do not do what is necessary to prevent their best employees from leaving.

Stacy Pursell has 20+ years of experience as an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter and is also a Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS). 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 have any questions about this article or about employee retention, please contact us at www.thevetrecruiter.com

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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