7 Reasons You’re Losing Your Best Talent to the Competition

In a niche industry such as veterinary care, hiring top talent can be quite the challenge. But that’s really only half the battle. Keeping those talented individuals happy and engaged is even more difficult. And with other clinics in the area also vying for the same skilled folks as you are, it’s important to take proactive measures to prevent your competitors from both going after your current employees as well as stealing your prospects away. That said, here are a few key things to avoid. 

Inadequate compensation. 

The salary you paid your veterinary technicians even just a year or two ago may be far below the market rates of today. It’s critical that you stay abreast of the current compensation range, particularly in your geographic area. If you don’t, your competitors could easily swoop in and woo your top employees away with the promise of higher pay. Is salary the most important factor? Not necessarily, but it is important nonetheless, so be sure you’re making it a priority. 

Unusual interview questions.

It’s ok to get a little creative with the questions you ask your candidates, but only if those questions provide a means to an end. If your questions are outlandish, overly personal or simply do not seem to have any sort of relevance, you risk your candidates feeling as though you’re wasting their time, which does not bode well. This is especially important in the digital age, when applicants can (and often do) leave reviews about their experience right online, for all to see. Make sure all of the questions you ask have a purpose.

Bad practice culture.

Getting a great candidate’s foot in the door is one thing, but if your culture is lacking – or worse, downright toxic – getting them to stay will be next to impossible. A strong, positive practice culture will not only help you keep your team intact, but if you do enough to promote it, you can also leverage your culture to attract applicants who would be a good fit during the recruiting process as well. Culture isn’t just about free lunch and fun and games, either. It’s about ensuring that each member of your team is emotionally invested in his or her work and committed to the mission of the practice as a whole. 


If you are prone to micromanagement, you may not need to look any further to find out why you can’t seem to keep good people. The goal of hiring should be finding individuals who are capable and competent. If you do this part right, you shouldn’t have to spend your days constantly looking over their shoulders. Take the time to hire right and then trust and empower your team with freedom and flexibility. Your staff will appreciate it and you’ll enjoy far less stress in the process.

Boring benefits.

Similar to salary, the benefits package you offer to your employees is an important factor in whether or not they’ll a) accept your job offer, and b) stay with your practice for the long haul. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative when it comes to this step, either. Every clinic in the area is probably offering similar health insurance and retirement plans, but you can sweeten the pot by throwing in a few unique perks, like tuition reimbursement, employee discounts and rewards/recognition programs. These things may be just what it takes to tip the scales in your favor. 

Lack of opportunity.

A great employee may love working for your clinic, but still flee into the arms of your competition if he or she feels there is little to no room for growth. If you tend to hire externally rather than promoting from within, you could be sending the wrong message to your existing team, and that message could lead to their premature departure. Whenever possible, look to your current crew to fill new roles. At the very least, show them that you’re willing to invest in them by contributing to their continued personal and professional development. 

Poor management.

It’s often said that people don’t leave a job. They leave a bad manager. If you’re experiencing higher than average turnover in your practice, it could be something that’s trickling from the top down. It’s time to get real and be honest about how you and/or your management team are leading your employees. Maximizing employee morale is the key to retention, so make sure you’re not engaging in toxic work behaviors that could instead be driving your team members away.

Having issues attracting and/or keeping great employees? Chances are, your hiring and management practices could use a revamp. Consider each of the factors listed above and make the necessary changes. As a result, you should be able to not only win over the best of the best, but keep them as loyal members of the team for many years to come.