Recruit, Develop and Retain

Presenter: Alison Warner. Alison’s background is in working in the Corporate sector both at the operational level and in a support capacity within HR. She was an Area Manager for a number of years with Pizza Hut UK, and Starbucks Coffee Company, which gave her a valuable foundation of experience to then move into a support function such as HR.

Last week was BSAVA, so the usual Thursday night webinar was put on hold and instead I opted to watch another webinar which caught my eye, entitled ‘Recruit, Develop and Retain’. This was led by Alison Warner who has a highly successful career in human resources having worked with a number of large well-known corporations. According to Alison, recruiting the right candidate and ensuring they remain engaged is the key to ensuring a successful business.

This is demonstrated by statistics stating that 70% of engaged employees had a good understanding of customer needs compared to only 17% of disengaged employees, and that 78% of engaged employees would recommend the company’s products or services compared to 13% of disengaged employees.

Maintaining employee engagement is obviously key to a smooth running practice, but retaining these employees is also imperative. Alison cited a statistic which stated that 75% of people who voluntarily leave their jobs are leaving because of their boss and not because of the job itself, demonstrating the importance of good line management.

After hearing all these statistics it is easy to understand how disengaged staff could be detrimental to a business and how this disengagement is likely to lead to high staff turnover costing the practice both time and money.

Alison visits veterinary practices with the aim of steering them away from this negative culture and, in her experience, she sees five common mistakes made in the management of these businesses. These are:

  1. Not sharing the business vision and how the business is performing with their staff
  2. Misunderstanding from staff about what good performance looks like
  3. Managers not spending enough time with their staff
  4. Managers not giving honest feedback in a constructive manner
  5. Promoting people to line management with little support

After detailing these common mistakes, Alison went on to make a number of recommendations to ensure these problems are rectified. Sharing business vision and the progress of the business is an obvious step which should be easily achieved. Alison also discussed documenting a competency framework for each individual that could be used at interview to ensure the right candidate is recruited, and also used as a framework during employment. This document should outline the six core behaviours required from the individual in order to perform their job effectively. These are: Communications; team skills; customer focus; problem solving; results orientation; and people management.

Other recommendations from Alison include offering a personal development plan, focusing on developing strengths and providing regular coaching and feedback. In regards to providing feedback, Alison recommends line managers spending at least thirty minutes on direct reports with employees each month to provide balanced feedback.

Interestingly, statistics demonstrate that feedback should be given at a ratio of 3:1 positive:negative in order to deliver a significant improvement in an employee’s performance. If the ratio is any less than 3:1 there is no improvement in performance and if any greater, there is an actual drop in performance presumably related to employees assuming the praise isn’t genuine.

Alison explained all her recommendations in greater detail within this webinar paying particular attention to the utilisation of people’s strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. This in itself is worth watching the webinar for, alongside the many tips and advice offered by Alison to run a successful and engaged practice.

The Stethoscope (MRCVS)




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