$215,000. That’s how much one of our accredited practices reports it lost due to the turnover of an associate. Soon after this associate was hired, staff fell in love with her, and clients were drawn to her easygoing personality and communication skills.

Fast-forward one year. The associate decides she’s not the right “fit” for the practice, gives her two-week notice, and immediately starts searching for jobs. It doesn’t take her long to locate another practice, just outside her non-compete period, and she is soon joined by a support staff member from her previous employer as well as several of the practice’s top 50 clients.

The owner calculates that his associate’s departure cost him nearly $215,000—nearly a quarter of the practice’s gross annual revenue—by the time he takes into account lost potential revenue due to the lost clients along with the cost of replacing the technician and doctor.

In 2009, the American Animal Hospital Association published this disturbing statistic: “The average turnover rate in veterinary practices is 30% per year.” This makes it one of the worst turnover rates in any professional industry.

Some practice owners are under the misconception that turnover isn’t a big deal because there is a “surplus” of candidates on the market. Although there is that perception in certain parts of the country, this perceived availability of candidates can be deceiving and is really irrelevant.

Practices without a clear understanding of their team dynamics, practice culture, and basic practice needs stand a slim chance of selecting the right candidate from a pool of applicants. The best method for reducing turnover is to hire right. That means identifying what your practice needs and then designing—and implementing—an in-depth screening process to identify the right candidate.

The selection and hiring of the right candidate can easily distract you from the practice of medicine and the management of your practice. In order to address the issue at hand, AAHA recently purchased My Veterinary Career (MVC), a job-search tool for the veterinary profession that matches veterinarians, practice managers, and technicians with practices of all sizes and specialties.

According to AAHA Executive Director Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, “AAHA prides itself on remaining on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine, and that means continually looking for innovative ways to serve our members so that they can better serve their patients and clients.

“Veterinary medicine continues to be plagued by high turnover rates. We know that turnover has many negative effects on a practice, including the bottom line, the culture, patient care, and customer service.

“The MVC matchmaking process seeks to put veterinary professionals and practices together that have a high probability for a successful relationship. That means finding a position where the recent graduate or experienced veterinarian, technician, or practice manager will not want to leave after the first year.”

If you’re tired of watching your hospital’s profits slowly slip through the drain, let AAHA and MVC plug the leak by matching you with the right staff member for your practice!

*This article originally appeared in the January 2012 edition of Trends magazine.

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