Thriving Among Competition: Recruitment and Retention Strategies to Become a Destination Employer  

The lifeline of any company is attracting and retaining top-notch talent. High-performing employees serve as the building blocks for setting the foundation for organizational success. In a competitive workforce with a limited talent pool, recruitment and retention strategies have become more essential than ever.  

Following the Great Resignation (2021-2022), where an average of 4.5 million employees per month voluntarily left their jobs, the workforce has experienced a significant shift in talent and competition. In a changing employment landscape, 97% of employers value “soft skills” just as much or more than traditional skill sets. To meet the evolving demands of the workplace, employers are paying more attention to qualities such as communication styles, digital literacy, adaptability and emotional intelligence. This shift intensifies job seeker competition, prompting individuals to focus on continuous learning and upskilling for job market competitiveness. 

Looking specifically to the veterinary field, veterinary turnover rates average a drastic 25%. When 70% of Americans own a pet, meeting the consistent demand for pet care can pose significant challenges when paired with high turnover. As professionals in the veterinary industry, we must adapt strategies to recruit and retain veterinarians in a field with increased demand and limited talent pools.  

More broadly, many employers are facing challenges in recruiting and retaining top industry talent, while employees are presented with new opportunities and enticing incentives. So how do companies remain competitive to ensure their long-term success?  

Recruitment Strategies to Employ  

Across industries, attracting top talent requires understanding workplace trends and crafting thoughtful recruitment strategies. Take the veterinary field, for example. Like many healthcare professionals, veterinarians often face high emotional stress and burnout. By tailoring benefits to address industry-specific challenges, employers can resonate with target candidates to attract top-tier talent. Here are some strategies for consideration:

  • Developing an Employer Brand and Becoming a “Destination Employer” – Building an employer brand involves creating a positive reputation and identity for your organization as an employer. This includes showcasing company culture, values and opportunities to attract top talent. Showcasing employee engagement and offering a compelling employee experience is an important part of cultivating this brand. In fact, 75% of potential applicants consider an employer’s brand before even submitting their application.  
  • Taking a Personalized Approach to Benefits Packages –  88% of applicants compare benefits packages when weighing high-paying versus low-paying positions. As employers, we’re uniquely positioned to create industry-leading benefits packages that cater to the specific needs of our workforce. To adapt, employers should remain informed about workplace trends and understand their employees’ diverse lifestyle needs. For veterinarians, offering premium health benefits, student debt assistance, robust retirement planning and parental leave can significantly enhance and support team members at every stage.
  • Creating Impactful Recruitment and Interview Processes – Providing applicants with a positive application experience is key, not only for successful recruitment but also for shaping your employer brand. Just as job seekers put their best foot forward to present themselves as top candidates, employers should reciprocate by showcasing their organization as a great place to work. With nearly half of job applicants turning down an offer primarily due to bad hiring experiences, an optimal recruitment process that ensures a positive experience for both candidates and hiring managers should be prioritized. By creating a well-structured recruitment and interview process, including elements such as clearly defined job roles and responsibilities, timely feedback and communicating process timeline, employers can deliver positive experiences to job seekers in the industry.  

Retaining Talented Professionals for the Long Haul  

Transitioning from a positive recruitment experience to a positive workplace experience is key for retention. Creating a strong company culture, open communication channels and a supportive leadership team fosters employee engagement and loyalty. As human resource professionals, it is essential to humanize the workforce. 

  • Valued, Heard and Accommodated – Every employee should feel valued, heard and accommodated in the workplace. Taking additional time to understand your employees, their needs and desires, and allowing opportunities for open communication to voice opinions, concerns and satisfaction can go a long way with providing impactful interactions between employees and employer. 
  • Life-First Balance – A key contributor to employee retention is a balance between their professional and personal lives. Promoting a life-first balance can have direct impacts on the overall well-being of employees, improving and protecting their physical, mental and emotional health. Empowering employees to better manage the balance of the various aspects of life enhances employee satisfaction, and in turn, reduces turnover rates. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks, vacations, and mental health days promotes well-being and prevents burnout, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction. In addition to offering customized benefits packages, providing resources to support a life-first approach, such as wellness programs, childcare assistance and access to counseling services, demonstrates a commitment to employees’ overall well-being.
  • Ongoing Growth and Development – Professional development nurtures career growth, serving as a foundation for a long-term plan that values individual curiosity and progression. Recognizing each employee’s role and aspirations, employers should aim to encourage, rather than impose, these opportunities. For example, a seasoned veterinarian, despite being advanced in their career path, may surprise us with their interest in ongoing education opportunities just as much as an early or mid-career vet. By actively listening to individual needs and desires, employers can help facilitate tailored development pathways. Providing opportunities, such as training programs, mentorship and advancement pathways, can equip employees with the tools to maintain engaged and fulfilled in their positions, while also leading to the best outcomes for your business. Investing in employee growth also means you’re investing in your company’s future.

Integral Pillars of Success – For Employee and Employer 

As employers continue to navigate an evolving workforce, innovative recruitment and retention strategies become paramount, integral pillars of organizational success. Investing in these strategies not only enhances productivity and innovation but also cultivates a favorable employer brand, attracting more high-caliber candidates and creating a virtuous cycle of talent acquisition and retention. By prioritizing recruitment and retention efforts, organizations foster an engaged, motivated and committed workforce, driving sustained organizational success and competitive edge in today’s fiercely competitive environment. 

Michele Silverman has 20 years of HR and internal communications expertise where she has shaped meaningful employee experiences. As the Chief People Officer at Veterinary Innovative Partners, a network of veterinarian-owned-and-operated hospitals across nine states, she actively fosters a culture of creative support, empowering current and new team members to lead fulfilling lives inside and outside of the workplace by implementing the life-first approach.

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