Recruit, retain, reward

Use the three “r”s to ensure you make the most of your greatest asset: your team

28 November 2018, at 10:45am

When we assess the net worth of a practice, there is often a glaring omission when it comes to assets: people – both clients and the practice team. It is important that a practice does its utmost to recruit the right individual for a position. There is also a responsibility to ensure the position is right for that individual. So, what can you do to optimise recruitment and retention?

Recruiting the right person for the job

Do you know who you’re looking for? What type of person do you need? What attributes are negotiable, and which are essential? Are there any gaps in your current team? Do you need a leader or a follower? Answering these questions will help you focus on finding who you need, rather than being distracted by “nice-to-haves”.

Look beyond skills and qualifications to find someone who fits your team. Behavioural profiling can help by:

  • Increasing the chances of hiring the right individual first time, by matching person to role.
  • Informing competency-based interview questions.
  • Identifying any “interview smokescreens” where the interviewee may be tempted to say what you want to hear rather than being honest.
  • Enabling communication tailored to personality type, leading to more open and honest answers.
  • Creating a common language where feedback is direct but need not be offensive.

Plan carefully for recruitment, allocate sufficient time to ensure the best outcome, and remember, the cost of employing the wrong person is high.

Retaining engaged employees

Employees’ visions need to be in line with practice vision. Discuss what provides fulfilment within their role, and why they chose it. This should also be discussed at interview. Development is crucial. Knowing team members’ aspirations and ensuring that loyalty is rewarded is key to personal development and motivation. Contracts and appraisals should detail this fair exchange.

In the CIPD UK Working Lives Survey (April 2018), 6,000 responses from UK workers provided a picture of what job quality looks like. The “seven dimensions for consideration” certainly represent the veterinary sector. These are: voice and representation; pay and benefits; terms of employment; work-life balance; job design and the nature of work; social support and cohesion; and health and well-being.

Rewarding beyond remuneration

Many people automatically equate “reward” with remuneration when talking about employee retention. Remuneration and benefits are influencing factors when employees are deciding on jobs, but once employed, these are not the only factors to consider.


Your people are your greatest asset; you must allocate appropriate resources to this crucial aspect of your business. Work at your team’s cohesiveness but recognise that team members are individuals; one size won’t fit all. If you’re finding yourself with recruitment or retention challenges, avoid falling into a constant cycle of “panic buying” recruitment. Understand causes rather than symptoms and take action to resolve issues.