When the retention process officially begins with your new employee

We are currently in a “candidate’s market” where top talent has the leverage in hiring situations. Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS, of The Vet Recruiter has tips for how to retain your new hires.

By Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The competition for talent in the job market right now is as fierce as I’ve ever seen in my 25 years as a recruiter and search consultant, especially in the veterinary profession—and there’s a good chance that won’t change anytime soon. Employers must continue to focus their efforts on increasing retention rates, and that starts with recognizing when the retention process officially begins with a new employee.

When exactly is that? Does it start after they’ve been with the organization for a few weeks? A few months? How about on their first official day of work?

None of these are correct. The retention process officially begins with your new employee the moment they accept your offer of employment.

You might think this is too early, but rest assured, it’s not. When a candidate accepts your offer, you must start to retain them immediately—because, at this same moment, your onboarding efforts are overlapping with the retention efforts of the candidate’s (hopefully soon-to-be) ex-employer.

Since we’re in a “candidates’ market” and top talent has the leverage in hiring situations, organizations are highly motivated to retain their best employees—and they don’t care how late in the process or what they have to do to keep them. As a result, the counteroffer has become a retention tool of choice for an increasing number of employers.

Once upon a time, employers made counteroffers only in special situations to select employees. Sometimes, companies made counteroffers when they just needed some time to find an eventual replacement, even if the person did accept the counteroffer. Now though, because of the state of the job market and the shortage of candidates, organizations are extending counteroffers to their employees at far higher rates than ever before, and they’re intending the counteroffer to be a bona fide retention tool.

So, at the same time you’re excited about your new hire, that person’s current employer will soon be doing everything it can to keep its valued employee.

This is especially the case within the veterinary profession. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to an unemployed veterinarian who wanted a job and didn’t have one. Although the national unemployment rate is still historically low at less than 4%, the unemployment rate in the veterinary profession is lower still. In fact, according to the job search site Zippia, since 2013, the unemployment rate in the profession has decreased from 1.0% to 0.2%. Right now, many veterinarians who are accepting offers of employment are receiving a counteroffer from their current employer.

3 Ways to Combat the Counteroffer

  1. Accurately gauge the candidate’s sincerity (and their motivation) during the hiring process.
  2. Prepare the candidate for the possibility of a counteroffer, even if they don’t believe it’s going to happen.
  3. Focus on providing a superb onboarding experience. Onboarding and retention start at the same time—as soon as the candidate accepts your offer. Onboarding should be happening even during the period between the time the candidate accepts your offer and the time they officially start work at your organization.




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