Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 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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57 June/July 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Frustration with short staffing and turnover can be felt at times in any practice, even those with better-than-average employee satisfaction rates. The reality is that we should expect new hires to stay with our hospitals for three to five years (4.2 years if we match nation- al averages across all industries). If you predominantly hire people un- der age 35, expect the tenure to be even shorter. Millennials job-hop frequently — baby boomers did the same in their 20s and 30s — as they settle into their career paths and adult lifestyles. So while on the one hand it is important to identify, address and minimize the reason for any turn- over you experience in your prac- tice, it is equally important to expect and plan for a certain level of hiring each year. Perfecting this process is a work in progress for me, but through trial and error I have devel- oped some successful strategies. 600 Responses A common notation on nearly all 40 job posts was "veterinary experi- ence preferred." It's understand- able. Working in an animal hospital seems enticing to typical pet lovers until they discover that the job is as much about customer service as patient care. They also find that the hours are long, the work can be emotionally and physically draining, and the pay is not reflective of the required effort. Too frequently they quit during the first year. We all look for the ideal can - didate who understands what it takes to work in our profession and remain passionate about the job. With a limited pool of desirable, experienced applicants, how do we weed through the wannabes to find true potential? I have found that Indeed.com produces the highest volume of ap- plicants for our open support-staff positions. I routinely cross-post openings on Facebook and oc- casionally advertise higher-level positions on industry job boards, but Indeed is my go-to resource. In 2016, I posted three varia- tions of a couple of job openings and received nearly 600 applica- tions. The vast majority of appli- cants did not have any veterinary experience. I was willing to take a chance on a newbie, however, and I desperately needed a way to efficiently sort through the cashiers and servers to find the right person. I created a Survey Monkey questionnaire that I could send with one click to any candi- date for whom I had at least a mild interest. The email congratulated the applicant on being selected for an initial round of interviews. It included a link to the question- naire, a completion deadline and the date I would respond if the person was chosen for the next interview round. As I write this, Indeed.com shows over 40 active job postings for veterinary receptionists, technicians and assistants in greater Charleston, South Carolina. All the employers essentially are looking for the same applicant. Leadership TAKE CHARGE By Abby Suiter, MBA, CVPM The survey covered topics like availability, pay requirements, the reason for leaving a current job and three behavioral questions. A shockingly large portion of applicants never completed the questionnaire, and I was grateful to have a way to identify them early and with little effort. Other applicants indicated that they could not: • Arrive at the time we opened. • Stay until we closed. • Work Saturdays. • Afford to live on the hourly rate we had in mind. Unless I found a strong reason to get creative and consider them, they were set aside. My favorite part of the survey was the open-ended questions about their current job and behavior. To be fair to anyone not formal- ly schooled on how to interview for a job, I provided a link to a blog outlining how to fully and concisely answer behavioral questions. The Filter your applicant pool A structured hiring process and adjustments made inside the practice can be big factors in reducing employee turnover.

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