3 Surprising Things Top Veterinary Talent Look for in an Employer

When it comes to hiring talent for your veterinary practice, you’ve probably already discovered, things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. Not only is the candidate market incredibly thin, but those who are looking for a new job are seeking perks that aren’t even on the radar of many prospective employers. We’ve uncovered three of the most surprising things that can help you attract, land and keep the best associates for your team.

Mentorship

In a recent poll of newly graduated veterinarians, 86% said it was very important that they receive either an annual evaluation or at least some type of formal feedback. This is not surprising, since the millennial generation is known for how much it values mentorship. Not only that, but as it turns out, the meaning of the word “mentorship” itself has actually evolved over the years.

Not long ago, a new associate might be happy with an orientation to bring them up to speed in the first days on the job. Today’s veterinary professionals crave more ongoing support. This may stem from the fact that diagnostics and treatment options are evolving and expanding. Or, it could be as a result of the demand for new team members to be able to rise to the challenge of being the “other family doctor” right off the bat.

In either case, the stakes for new associates are much higher than they once were. As a result, fresh grads and younger job seekers are looking for a place to settle down where they can trust and rely on the feedback and support of experienced existing personnel. If you don’t have a formal mentorship program in your practice, the time to start developing and implementing one is now.

Strong Culture

Back in the day, a job meant coming in every morning to do your daily work and then clocking out at quitting time. Fun was something reserved for after-hours activities. Today, the concept of work has morphed into something entirely different. Modern veterinary technicians and associates are looking to create a sense of balance, both inside the clinic as well as at home. That starts with a strong, positive practice culture.

For today’s workers, it’s not just about professionalism. It’s about how managers and colleagues treat one another. It’s about understanding the vision and mission of the practice and internalizing it so that it becomes everyone’s driving purpose. Simply put, we are no longer operating in a ‘work to live’ era, but rather one in which high salary and good health benefits are secondary to the quality of workplace interactions.

If your practice culture is lacking in any way, you’ll want to work on fixing it before you start fishing for new candidates to join your team. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your precious time and energy.

Flexibility

The third surprising benefit many new veterinary associates are looking for is flexibility. This can be challenging, particularly in an industry that for years has been defined by long hours and instability. Today’s top candidates want to know they can contribute and perform meaningful work but still be able to have a life outside of the office. And really, is that such an unreasonable request?

While some options aren’t possible in veterinary medicine, such as the ability to work from home, you can offer your team more leeway in terms of scheduling. For instance, you might explore the possibility of a four-day workweek or flexible start and finish times.

More importantly, offer your employees generous time off and encourage them to use it (within reason). Not only will it make them more appreciative and loyal to your practice, but it’ll also help them better serve your clients. In other words, with flexibility, everyone wins.

Other Important Benefits

Of course, this is not to say that today’s top candidates are only looking for the three things above. In reality, we are operating in a job-seeker’s market, which means they have the leverage. Including the above in addition to the basics, like a competitive salary, quality health care coverage, retirement planning, etc. will provide you with a much more attractive package to offer. And that will ultimately help you win those “A-players” for your team.

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