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Staff Retention

Staff retention is important for any veterinary business. It helps companies avoid productivity losses while recruiting or training, ensures that employers recruit engaged workers, creates connections with clients, builds relationships between team members and improves staff morale.

Some interesting statistics from the 2022 Employee Engagement and Retention Report:

  • 66% of employees are considering a job hunt in 2022
  • 50% feel that issues in their job are caused by labour shortages
  • 76% worked longer hours and 78% took on more responsibility without a pay rise or promotion
  • 59% stated their professional development was not being prioritised
  • Only 30% felt a very strong sense of belonging in their workplace
  • 78% said a strong recognition culture is what makes an employer worth working for
  • 37% said their current workplace recognition is not meaningful, up from 33% in 2021

To understand how to increase staff retention, you must recognise the most common factors that cause employees to leave:

  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Unrewarding salary or pay rises
  • Limited training or further opportunities for development
  • Loss of confidence in management team
  • Absence of company culture or sense of belonging
  • Insufficient meaningful recognition
  • Few rewards or benefits

There are a range of strategies that employers can implement to increase team morale and create a sense of belonging:

  • Focus on building a strong rapport amongst team members
  • Create a company culture that makes everyone feel like they belong
  • Recruit the right people
  • Offer career progression opportunities
  • Promote meaningful recognition of individual employees
  • Devise a compelling introduction to the team and work environment for new employees
  • Invest in competitive salaries and pay rises that reward employees for their work

Top Tips

The first steps in developing an employee retention strategy are to find out:

  • 1.Should you have the unlikely situation of a team member leaving, conduct an exit interview to find out why and gain valuable feedback. These are usually held by a non-direct manager to gain a more open and objective response.
  • 2.Not all employees are looking for salary increase, find out what is important to them, it could just be an extra couple of days holiday etc.
  • 3.Be flexible wherever possible, such as by accommodating individual preferences on working hours and times. As part of this, it's also important to monitor workload and ensure it's manageable within working hours.
  • 4.Treat people fairly to avoid voluntary resignations. For example, perceived unfairness in the distribution of rewards is very likely to lead to resignations.
  • 5.Pay attention to employee well-being. Support managers to help their teams thrive and manage issues such as workplace stress and presenteeism.
  • 6.Enable career development and progression, maximising opportunities for employees to develop skills and careers. It's also important to understand and manage people's career expectations. Where promotions are not feasible, look for sideways moves that allow employees to gain different development experiences. This can also benefit an organisation's succession planning.
  • 7.Ensure that employees have a 'voice' through consultative bodies (UK employers should be aware of the updated Information and Consultation of Employees regulations), regular performance conversations, attitude surveys and grievance systems.
  • 8.Use 360 feedback surveys to help your leaders understand their impact on engagement and retention. 360 feedback identifies blind spots, development areas and helps map out a development plan.
  • 9.Regular set individual and team meetings and reviews. Quarterly and yearly appraisals are a must in today's business environments.
  • 10.Perhaps have an anonymous feedback or idea box which is reviewed and discussed monthly.
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