How do you feel the industry will address the global shortage of vets?
This talks to the need for a supportive and nurturing infrastructure at the clinic. If staff feel unsupported, motivation levels are lower, stress is higher and staff retention isn’t at the level it needs to be. As well as not having enough qualified staff, being able to attract and retain the pool of staff available is equally important.
Talking about issues at the veterinary practice
Kay points out that many individuals are not open enough with their employers about where there issues are. And typically people will call a recruitment agency and stress that there are certain issues. Her first response is to ask them if they’ve discussed those issues with the existing employer. And the answer is usually a no.
There are multiple reasons for it including the fact that an employee doesn’t have that open type of relationship with their manager. This pattern is found across independent and corporate clinics.
She offers insights into some solutions available for clinics:
Why you should invest in training for your staff?
It’s somewhat a sign of respect and care that you look after your staff’s wellbeing and also a win-win for both the clinic and the employee. Happier staff tend to be more productive, will stay longer and client satisfaction levels often benefit. Kay says that
Investment needs to be huge. Generally salary is not the reason people are motivated or changing roles. There’s an assumption that people want an increase. It’s more about the support and from a training perspective, and personal experience, we know that the appraisal side of things at clinics is not the best. Managers don’t give their staff the time that they need to tell them where the improvements need to be made, but more importantly- what they are doing really well. As an industry, we fall down bit, we don’t congratulate or motivate our staff enough.
For hiring managers and practices: ask your teams what they want
Kay recommends asking your teams what they want. It might be that staff want training on how to deal with difficult clients. It should be bespoke and catered to your employees specific needs.
As a graduate or experienced vet, what should I look for?
It is a scary time for new graduates no doubt, as you’ll have heard all the stories about burnout, compassion fatigue, the realities and global vet shortage. However Kay also imparts some wisdom for newbies.
For both graduates and experienced staff, Kay reinforces having a plan in place. Spending 20 minutes a month assessing your needs such as reviewing:
- What do you enjoy in your role
- What is it that you struggle with?
- Wht do you think your empoyer can do to help you with that struggle?
If you don’t know yourself, the negatives can compound, but in a personal review, you can focus on the positives too and create a line of communication to change and improve things where you can. It can also create opportunities for learning and training, identifying areas of development and courses to embark on.
If individuals wish to diversify, Kay also highlights how useful the self-evaluation is in identifying what a person wants to diversify. Once again, if you don’t know yourself, carrying the same issues to another clinic will occur. There are so many different roles that will cater, but it’s finding what fits.
The top traits and qualities hiring managers seek.
A useful nugget from Kay, is what employers and clinics look for when hiring veterinary staff.
It can have an impact on mental health once again, if an individual is applying for many competitive roles mindlessly, without really thinking about core needs and alignment. And if there are many rejections, it can effect your self-esteem and confidence levels. TJob adverts: The normal advert contains four things, that they’re looking for a Vet; pay X amount in salary; does this much CPD; and in X location. Those four things don’t really sell the practice at all. Every practice puts the same things. The advert should stand out and contain the culture, benefits, what the team looks like or what team members really liked about the practice. Communicate the values, if you do team nights out, professional development and so on. The little quirky things add up and make the difference in attracting quality candidates.
This has a knock-on effect on roles that might be suited you in the future.
When hiring managers are looking for staff, they should consider:
Job adverts: The normal advert contains four things, that they’re looking for a Vet; pay X amount in salary; does this much CPD; and in X location. Those four things don’t really sell the practice at all. Every practice puts the same things. The advert should stand out and contain the culture, benefits, what the team looks like or what team members really liked about the practice. Communicate the values, if you do team nights out, professional development and so on. The little quirky things add up and make the difference in attracting quality candidates.
Kay leaves us with three takeaways for candidates and hiring managers:
- Ask questions. You don’t get the answers if you don’t ask the questions. No one is a mind reader. If you have questions about what your team wants from you or what you want from your employer. Always ask questions and be open about what your needs are. We want the veterinary industry to be able to retain their teams.
- Focus on yourself: Don’t forget that whilst you are caring for pets and other team members, you need that self-care too. Breaks are needed, even if it’s 10-minutes. Give yourself the breathing space.
- Have fun! Try to have some fun. If you are unhappy, by all means, explore options or reach out to a recruitment agency, or reach out to a friend and talk it out.
For resources mentioned in this podcast:
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