Employee Retention as a Focus


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Keeping good employees is good business for your veterinary clinic customers.

As demand for veterinary care outstrips supply, many of your customers are desperate to hire both veterinary technicians and veterinarians to take the pressure off their current teams, which is constant and, in many cases, unhealthy. While many practices focus on talent acquisition, there should be an equal or more significant focus on retention, given the high cost associated with making a change.

As we move into a post-COVID world, employee expectations have changed. More of them are willing to leave their current jobs for an increase in pay, better culture, working conditions, mentorship, etc. – and some don’t even care if they stay in their current industry. This is not just in veterinary care but in almost any industry, from hospitality to human health care to retail.

In your roles as DSRs, many of you have witnessed firsthand how top-notch associate veterinarians positively affect a practice, as well as what talented, properly deployed technicians can do. In the case of technicians, almost everything you read on solving the shortage of veterinarians references better utilization of technicians and handing off certain areas of care to free up the vet. Hopefully, this trend will develop in the same way it has in the dental market, where the hygienist is fully integrated into the patient experience. Many believe that will also inspire more technicians to remain in the veterinary care market.

Compensation is undoubtedly an essential part of a retention strategy. Today, too many technicians find themselves underpaid, in debt, and sometimes struggling to make ends meet. That is changing, and many practices have significantly raised the salary of their technicians, which is a positive step. Associate veterinarians have seen their compensation rise as well. This is not a temporary phenomenon, but a new normal, so adhering to yesterday’s benchmarks can be shortsighted, especially in an inflationary environment.

Of course, building an attractive culture with proper mentoring, training, and recognition is vitally important in retaining high performers. They want to be a part of something they believe in that reflects their values. If it’s not there, they leave. When you engage with your customers and they express a desire to find new talent, you’ll be helping them by stressing how important it is to keep their current employees engaged and happy, which ultimately saves money, and helps them attract new talent into their practices.


Photo credit: istockphoto.com/AnnaStills