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6 Proven Employee Retention Strategies

Updated: 1 hour ago

How much money is employee turnover costing your veterinary practice? Beyond the financial impact that comes with recruiting, hiring and training new team members, turnover can cause other less quantifiable problems, such as decreased productivity and a dip in employee morale. If you’re starting to feel like your practice has a revolving door when it comes to employees, here are a few strategies you can implement today that may help turn things around.

Provide Positive Feedback

Of course, there are always going to be instances in which correcting an employee is necessary, but if the only interaction you have with your team members involves pointing out when they’ve done something wrong, you can kiss your retention numbers goodbye. Balance constructive criticism by offering more positive feedback as well.

Encourage and Promote Growth

Most people want to feel as though there are opportunities for growth with their employers. If your employees feel that their careers are stagnant, they’re more likely to look elsewhere for those opportunities they’re seeking. Provide plans for career advancement whenever possible. If your practice happens to be too small to do this, offer options for professional development, such as ongoing training and coursework.

Challenge Them

Boredom can easily lead to the desire to move on, so make sure your employees are always engaged by challenging them in their day to day duties. Give them newer and bigger responsibilities and demonstrate the important role that they play in the overall success of the practice. Show them you trust and believe in them and they’ll reward you with hard work and loyalty.

Foster Respect

Employees who don’t feel respected at work – either by their peers or by management – are less likely to stay on for the long haul. To avoid losing top talent, make respect a key component of your practice culture. Create an atmosphere where communication, honesty and work-life balance are an integral part of what sets your brand apart. Always show your appreciation, even if it’s just to say ‘thank you’ for a job well done.

Invite (and Listen to) Feedback

Just as it’s important to let employees know how they’re doing, it’s equally critical to understand how they feel about their work environment. Encourage your team members to share their thoughts and ideas. Ask them to point out areas where they feel improvements could be made. And, most importantly, put that feedback to good use. Your employees will feel valued and your practice will continue to develop into an even better place to work as a result.

Be Authentic

Last but certainly not least, show your employees that you truly care about who they are as people, not just as employees who contribute to your practice’s bottom line. Get to know them and encourage them to get to know one another better as well. Take the time to listen and learn what matters most to them. Ask about their families and celebrate life events with them. This can help solidify your relationship and establish a much stronger bond that equates to long-term, loyal and engaging employment.

At DVMelite, we’ve worked with countless clients who have struggled with costly employee turnover. We’ve also witnessed firsthand how implementing the right strategies can truly make a difference. If you’ve been having a hard time keeping your team members happy and engaged, we encourage you to give one or more of the above suggestions a try. And if you still need guidance with retention, growth or any other area of practice management, we invite you to give us a call. We’re here to help!

Our Advice on Proven Employee Retention Strategies in 2024

What metrics can veterinary practices use to track employee turnover rates and costs?

Veterinary practices can track employee turnover rates and costs by measuring key metrics such as the overall turnover rate, calculated by dividing the number of employees who leave by the average number of employees during a period. Additionally, tracking the time and cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new staff provides insight into turnover expenses. Monitoring employee engagement and satisfaction scores through regular surveys can identify potential retention issues early. Analyzing these metrics helps practices understand the impact of turnover and develop strategies to enhance employee retention and reduce associated costs.

How can practices identify the root causes of turnover in their specific context?

Practices can identify the root causes of turnover by conducting exit interviews to gather honest feedback from departing employees about their reasons for leaving. Regularly distributing anonymous employee satisfaction surveys can highlight ongoing issues and areas for improvement. Analyzing patterns in turnover data, such as high turnover in specific roles or departments, can also provide insights. Additionally, fostering open communication channels where current employees feel comfortable voicing concerns can help uncover underlying problems. Combining these methods creates a comprehensive understanding of turnover causes, allowing targeted strategies to improve retention.

What role can a structured onboarding and orientation process play in setting new hires up for long-term success and retention?

A structured onboarding and orientation process plays a crucial role in setting new hires up for long-term success and retention by providing them with a clear understanding of their roles, expectations, and the practice's culture. Comprehensive training programs ensure new employees are well-equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge. Early integration into the team fosters a sense of belonging and support. Regular check-ins and feedback during the initial months help address any concerns and reinforce their decision to join the practice. This foundation promotes confidence, job satisfaction, and loyalty, ultimately reducing turnover rates.

What strategies can practices use to foster a sense of purpose and meaning in employees' work?

Practices can foster a sense of purpose and meaning in employees' work by clearly communicating the impact of their roles on animal health and client satisfaction. Providing opportunities for professional development and career advancement demonstrates investment in their growth. Encouraging staff to participate in community outreach or educational programs can enhance their sense of contribution. Recognizing and celebrating individual and team achievements reinforces their value. Creating a supportive and collaborative work environment where employees' ideas and feedback are valued also helps instill a deeper connection to the practice's mission and goals.

How can practices support employees' mental health and wellbeing, especially given the emotional demands of veterinary work?

Practices can support employees' mental health and wellbeing by providing access to mental health resources, such as counseling services and stress management programs. Regularly scheduled wellness workshops and mindfulness training can help staff manage the emotional demands of veterinary work. Encouraging open communication and creating a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their struggles is crucial. Implementing flexible work schedules and promoting a healthy work-life balance can reduce burnout. Recognizing compassion fatigue and offering targeted interventions further ensures that employees feel valued and supported in their roles.

For more practice management tips, tricks, and expert advice, bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh content.

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