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In the wake of the pandemic, we’re facing an unprecedented plague of resignations – during a talent drought that’s particularly extreme in the vet industry.

In other words, if you don’t know how to hold on to your top talent, things are about to get Biblical.

Fortunately, there are some tried-and-tested retention strategies you can use – and not all of them cost money. Skip to the second half of this article if you’re only interested in the ones that don’t (but remember you need to weigh that decision against the cost of finding and hiring someone new).

Retention strategies that cost money

Salary increases

If you only give out pay rises at set times of year, there’s never been a better time to rethink that policy. For each of your top employees, ask yourself when you last gave them a raise and how much it was. If it was just a 3% cost-of-living raise, you’re already at risk of losing them. Be proactive and show them how much you value them.

Retention bonuses

While less common than a straight pay rise, retention bonuses can be more effective in retaining high performers. Simply offer them a hefty bonus for staying for the next one, two, or five years. It’s likely to get their attention.

Longer resignation bonuses

This is not so much a retention strategy as a loss-cutting strategy when someone has already decided to leave. Consider rewarding them for staying for a three-month notice period instead of three-week, giving you more time to prepare for their leaving and start looking for their replacement.

Free retention strategies

Since these don’t cost money, and aren’t a big time investment either, it’s well worth doing these all the time, not just during a crisis.

Keep the lines of communication open

Employees won’t usually tell you if they’re looking for other work. You need to work out for yourself how engaged they are, what kind of job satisfaction their role is giving them, and how they want to grow professionally. This information is vital in retaining staff. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, set up more 1:1s, show your people that your (real or virtual) door is always open, and encourage them to be honest with you.

Discuss career development

Don’t assume your employees know what growth opportunities are available for them in your practice. You need to proactively communicate where their career with you could go, in a way that gets them excited about the possibilities. Again, this is where investing time in 1:1s can pay you huge dividends. Employees who see a future with you will stay around for it.

Offer more flexibility and meaningful perks

Home working is one of the most sought-after perks in today’s job market, but for most roles in a vet practice, it’s not a realistic option. So get creative and find other ways to offer flexibility, such as more flexibility in scheduling or additional paid time off.

How a specialist recruiter can help

You might be surprised to learn that recruiters can help you with retention, but helping employers and employees communicate successfully is a huge part of what we do – and in a crisis like this, it’s more important than ever to work with a specialist recruiter who understands the unique needs of veterinary professionals.

Hiring the best is not enough – you also need to be able to keep the best. To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today for a free chat.

Veterinary salary survey 2022

Our 2022 Salary Survey is the Veterinary industries most comprehensive census on careers, salaries and workplace trends.