Today's Veterinary Business

APR 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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44 Today's Veterinary Business Community Such statistics suggest that cultivating more diversity in your staffing searches will be challeng- ing, and it may be truer in some locales, just based on migration trends for various racial and eth- nic groups. That said, with min- imal effort, you can act affirma- tively to increase diversity in your pool of applicants. Yes, I invoked the term "affirma- tive action." To act affirmatively in building your applicant pool is not a bad thing; in fact, it should be what we all do when we are looking for new talent. This discussion is not about hiring, and this isn't about quotas. That was never the intended goal of affirmative action. Some of the uglier, mandated aspects of affirmative action evolved as a result of the persistent failure to recruit broadly and fairly evaluate all qualified candidates. Instead, here I am describing the need to simply be deliberate about sourcing your applicant pool with the broadest amount of talent available, which should include as much diversity as possible. Your goal in your hiring process should be to have your choice of exceedingly compe- tent individuals who also have various traits and attributes that your business can leverage to be more successful. There are numerous ways to create a diverse pool of talent. Grow Your Own Young students are always look- ing for opportunities to work and shadow successful veterinarians and business owners. Data from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges show that applicants who are from minority, low-income, first-generation or LGBT backgrounds have a more difficult time than their counterparts in acquiring valuable veterinary experience in prepara- tion to apply to veterinary school. The issue isn't willingness or com- petence. It's opportunity. As you consider long-term growth and needs for your busi- ness, the investment in developing young, diverse talented people who will likely be incredibly loyal and learn valuable insights into the way your practice runs can pay dividends later as you begin can- didate searches for new positions. Certainly, this is a strategy that em- phasizes the long game but one that creates a deeper pool of talent that benefits you and the larger profession. Diversity Toolbox columnist Dr. Lisa M. Greenhill is senior director for institutional research and diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Recruit Diverse Candidates When you are hiring, you may call your alma mater or local college of veterinary medicine to report you are looking for a new graduate. In the request you also can let the associate deans and career counsel- ors know that you are open to and looking for diversity in your appli- cant pool. This does not preclude anyone from applying. It simply signals that you are open to and encouraging a potentially broader population of graduating students to apply for work in your business. I recently attended a diversi- ty workshop during which this recommen- dation was made. A practice manager was shocked that some- one could deliberately reach out to applicant pool sources and re- quest that diverse can- didates be encouraged to apply. Again, this is about broadening your pool of talent, not the actual hiring process. Ask for the types of candidates you want to see in your pool. Additionally, there are emerging op- portunities online to recruit a more diverse candidate pool. Several communities exist on social media devoted to diversity in veteri- nary medicine. Student diversity organizations such as Veterinarians as One for an Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) and the Broad Spectrum Student Veterinary Association maintain a presence on Facebook. Online groups also exist for the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association and the Native American Veterinary Association. Each group will certainly welcome opportunities to network and pro- mote more diversity in applicant pools. A simple request to post your position is all it takes. Use Word of Mouth Ask your circle of friends and col- leagues if they are aware of poten- tial candidates who have the skills and attributes that you want and need. For example: • "Hey, do you know of any veterinarians or staff mem- bers who are multilingual and looking for a position?" • "Do you know any veterinary folks who also know Ameri- can Sign Language?" In the same way that new clients find your business by asking people in their com- munity, let it be known that you are looking for qualified applicants with additional attri- butes that will help your business. It Can Be Done Having a diverse staff can give you a compet- itive edge, so you want to do what you can to increase the pool of po- tential candidates when you are hiring. Think about your current and future business needs and how you can use staff to maximize the ability to meet client needs. You may find that you could benefit from a staff member who shares the culture and language of the people in your community or who is connected to a less visible community. With a little effort you can ex- pand your potential hiring choic- es. You can invest in and grow a pool of loyal future employees. You can specifically seek out more diverse candidates, and finally you let your colleagues know that you want to create the deepest pool of talent possible. These are the keys to the di- verse talent pool that your business wants and deserves. Community DIVERSITY TOOLBOX 1 Your goal in your hiring process should be to have your choice of exceedingly competent individuals who also have various traits and attributes that your business can leverage to be more successful. 2 3

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