Generation Y, more commonly known as millennials, are a huge generation, and there are a lot of millennials that are in the veterinary industry. There is a generational divide between the millennials and the baby boomers, which is often commented upon by the media, and it can make it difficult for the people on either side of this generational divide to work together. As a result, the old strategies used to attract employees may not be having the same effect that it had 30 years ago. If you are hiring a veterinary associate straight out of school, it is likely that they are a millennial, so understanding how to retain them is important.
It is projected that by 2020, millennials will comprise of 46 percent of the labor force in the United States. Therefore, it is important to understand what exactly the generation wants in veterinary jobs.
Millennials are the largest generation of pet owners now, at over 35 percent in the nation, so having veterinarians in your clinic who are the same generation can be helpful.
Offering flexibility in your clinic is a good way to bring in millennials. If your practice is large enough to allow it, ask your employees what their preferred shifts and working days are, and try to accommodate where you are able to. Allowing a little more flexibility for those with children is also important.
Millennials also want to be able to take time off, so offering some vacation time is a good idea. Even if you cannot give them much paid time off, offering unpaid time off can be a good compromise.
Having newer technology is another way you might be able to attract more millennials to work at your clinic. A recent graduate got to work with the latest technology available, and they want to continue working with it after graduation. You may not be able to buy the brand-new tech the moment it comes out, but discussing with potential hires what equipment they think would benefit your practice is a good starting point for what you should consider getting.
A potential hire may want you to have cold laser, ultrasounds, cautery, or better dental x-rays, all of which can be helpful to your practice. Having upgraded technology will not only help you attract and keep employees, but it will also improve the quality of veterinary care you offer your patients.
Getting good computers is a good idea too. While your old, slow computers are still working fine, they are probably frustrating to work with. A millennial is used to working on computers and making things more paperless. Investing in better computers and cloud storage to make your office paperless can also help you retain employees; it will also make your clinic run more efficiently.
Finding a good balance between work and life is important for everyone, but millennials especially have a strong preference for it. Helping your veterinary associates with that balance is a great way to help you retain employees. One way to help with this is to give your associates opportunities to work from home. If your practice has everything in cloud storage, allowing your veterinary associates to take their chart notes home and type them up from the comfort of their sofa is a good way to encourage that balance.
Many people will eat lunch in the break room of their office but try encouraging them to take it out of the office, at least once a week; if they stay in the office on all of their breaks, they are not truly getting a break. Also, encourage them to use their leave time, so they can have a few days off to relax.
Try to avoid calling them in on their days off, and not changing their schedules without consulting them. If a patient of theirs comes in on their day off needing a specific treatment, just have them see another vet that day, unless the treatment is something that only that associate is able to do and it is an emergency. Frequently being called in on your days off is a common reason people leave jobs, so try avoiding it as much as you can.