Post-Covid analyses have revealed that high employee turnover is a challenge across most industries, and the pet care industry is no exception. Although it’s virtually impossible to eliminate employee turnover entirely, there are many strategies you can utilize to improve employee retention. If you’re tired of wasting your time and resources retraining new employees, keep reading!
Hiring Stage: Do Your Due Diligence
Working in the pet care industry is not for everyone. Despite what many people think, we don’t just play with puppies all day. It’s hard work and it isn’t always pretty. Be sure to be very clear with candidates about the realities of the position they’re applying for, especially for those that are new to the pet care industry.
Screen potential candidates thoroughly and take the time to call the references listed on their resumes. Schedule a face-to-face interview and consider requiring a working interview. Working interviews are common for grooming positions and provide you with a more accurate picture of their dog-handling skills, technical grooming skills, time management skills, and adaptability.
Onboarding Stage: Training!
Develop an employee training plan, and periodically offer refresher training sessions for existing staff. Having a clear and well-planned training process ensures that your employees have all the tools they need to be successful. Consider supplementing your in-house training with an online training program specially curated for the pet care industry.
Thorough and consistent training for new hires can help reduce turnover and weed out those who aren’t a good fit early on. Establishing a strict standard for employee training can also help prevent tragic, costly accidents, or be the difference between life and death during a medical emergency.
There is always something new to learn in the world of pet care. Helping your employees access educational opportunities is an investment that can benefit your business in a variety of different ways. Contributing to ongoing education efforts makes your employees feel valued, increases confidence and job satisfaction, improves safety and the quality of care they can provide, and can even create new revenue streams for your business. If you don’t live near one of the many pet care tradeshows/expos that occur throughout the year, there are also virtual trade show options available to take advantage of.
Improve Your Compensation, Benefits, and Career Opportunities
Many employees have reported quitting their jobs in the past because they felt were not being sufficiently compensated for the work they were doing. Providing your employees with satisfactory compensation will help make them feel more valued, reduce the rate of burnout and employee turnover, and boost productivity. Offering better wages, perks, or benefits might not cost as much as you’d think. Consider speaking with a compensation consultant. Their job is to help you evaluate your business and implement reasonable solutions for employee pay and benefits, among many other things.
Offering growth opportunities can play a crucial role in cultivating skilled and dedicated long-term employees. Per a 2018 Korn Ferry study, boredom and lack of challenges were the most commonly reported reason for changing jobs. Having something to work towards can be highly motivating, whether it’s a promotion with added responsibilities or just a small pay increase.
Create a Culture of Appreciation
Having a positive work environment has a large impact on employee retention. According to a 2017 study from Office Team, 66% of all employees who participated revealed that they would likely quit their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. That number increased to 76% for millennials. A National Employee Research Study found that 72% of employees surveyed stated that they would work harder if they felt appreciated.
Ideas for ways to show your appreciation:
- Keep open lines of communication where employees feel their input is valued and their problems are heard.
- Treat your employees with respect and require your customers to do the same.
- Offer words of praise and acknowledgment regularly. A simple “Great work today” can go a long way.
- Set aside funds to do something nice like providing lunch for your employees periodically.
- Provide amenities: Stock the refrigerator with cold water and ice pops during the summer. Keep coffee, tea, or hot chocolate on hand during the winter. If you have an indoor/outdoor facility your daycare attendants will love this!
- Consider making employee appreciation posts on your business’s social media pages (with employee permission). In addition to making your employees feel valued, it also adds a personal touch that can make customers feel more at ease and help gain their trust.
- Recognize employees who go above and beyond in a more formal, tangible way. A simple handwritten card feels more personal and shows that you care.
- Organize team-building events or get-togethers outside of the work environment to promote employee bonding and trust
When employees feel valued, the probability of them going elsewhere in search of greener pastures is significantly lower.
Employee retention hinges on your ability and willingness to provide them with support and consideration. There are a wide variety of different ways to make your employees feel valued without breaking the bank, and you’re sure to see a return on the financial investments that you do decide to undertake.