The Best Tactics for Hiring (and Keeping) Top Talent in This Job Market

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Make no mistake about it: there is a competition happening right now. That competition is between Animal Health and Veterinary employers that are looking to hire the best candidates in the employment marketplace.

What also is true is that the competition is fierce. That’s because there is a shortage of top talent for many positions. As a result, employers must “pull out all the stops” in their quest to successfully find, recruit, and hire top talent.

But for some organizations, even their best efforts are not enough. They can’t find the right candidates, and if they do find the right ones, they can’t seem to hire them. Or hire enough of them. And then, to make matters worse, the great employees that they do have leave for other opportunities. It’s enough to make a hiring manager want to pull out their hair. (Or someone else’s hair, at the very least.)

So . . . what’s the answer?

Tackling the problem in reverse

While there is no “magic bullet,” there are things that Animal Health and Veterinary employers can do to better position themselves for hiring success.

Over the summer, LinkedIn released a report titled “Workplace Culture Trends: the Key to Top Talent in 2018.” The results of that report were quite enlightening, especially in regards to hiring and retaining the best and brightest in the marketplace.

So let’s break the results of this report down into two separate sections:

  1. What it takes to hire top talent
  2. What it takes to retain top talent once you hire those candidates as employees

However, we’re going to tackle this problem in reverse. In accordance with the questions asked in the LinkedIn survey, we’ll address retention first and then hiring second. Why? Because if certain factors are enough to keep an employee where they are, they can also be used to woo a candidate from their current employer to work for your organization.

In the survey, LinkedIn asked professionals what would make them stay at their current employer for the next five-plus years. (Which, by the way, is an eternity in today’s market). The top three answers were as follows:

  1. A sense of belonging—46%
  2. Benefits over perks—44%
  3. Support from the top—36%

So if that’s what would convince professionals to stay with their current employer for at least five years, what does that mean for organizations that are trying to hire the best candidates? According to LinkedIn’s report, it means the following three things:

#1—Maintaining values in the workplace

I’ve touched upon this before in other articles and blog posts. Your organization’s core values are vitally important in terms of hiring success. As an example from LinkedIn’s survey, 39% of professionals said they would leave their current job if their employer asked them to do something with which they have a ethical or moral conflict. However, you have to do more as an organization than avoid ethical or moral conflicts. First, you must have a set of core values, and second, you must share those values with your employees.

#2—Fostering a sense of pride in your organization

Also from the survey results, 86% of Americans indicated that having pride in their employer matters. One of the top factors: their employer having a positive impact on society (46%). And to reference what we discussed above, a sense of belonging was the number-one factor in keeping professionals at their current employer for five years or longer. So it’s a simple conclusion. The more that employees feel like they belong, the more pride they will feel working for your organization and the longer they will stay.

#3—Focusing more on benefits and less on perks

You’re probably heard that top candidates and employees want perks like a game room, free food in a cafeteria, or bean-bag chairs in the workplace. Sure, all of those things are nice, but they’re not so important that they impact decisions in any meaningful way. But what does impact decisions are things such as quality healthcare and a flexible work schedule. So forget the ping-pong table and give your employees more PTO (paid time off).

A matter of more than money

As you can see, salary was not mentioned at all (although benefits were). We have reached the point in this current candidates’ market where top candidates already know they can command the type of salaries they want. This is especially the case within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. There is an abundance of employers looking to hire and a scarcity of qualified candidates in the marketplace to fill those open positions, especially right now in the Veterinary Profession with unemployment around .5%.

So if top candidates already know they can command the type of salaries they want, what’s next? What’s next is everything that we’ve just discussed from the Linked survey and corresponding report. If a top professional is going to make a move for a new opportunity, they’ll want more than just money. If that same top professional is going to stay with their current employer for an extended amount of time (at least five years), then it will take more than just money to keep them there.

To recap, below are the tactics for hiring (and keeping) top talent in this market:

  • Making employees feel like they belong
  • Providing support and appreciation to employees
  • Offering benefits that employees actually want over ultimately meaningless perks that are not going to improve their lives in any tangible way
  • Communicating your organization’s core values to employees
  • Striving to make a positive impact on the surrounding community and society at large

How does your organization stack up in these areas? Do you offer enough to attract and hire top candidates? Do you provide enough to retain your top employees and prevent them from pursuing other employment opportunities?

The VET Recruiter has been providing market intelligence regarding trends in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession for more than 20 years. We consult our clients regarding employment matters, including the retention of employees.

In addition to being a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), I’m also a Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS). I am one of about 30 search professionals in the world who has earned this certification. Finding and retaining employees is the number-one concern of employers in today’s marketplace. This certification helps our clients become better at retaining their employees in order for them to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

So I welcome you to reach out to explore this topic further.

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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