What Would Shawn Do? Retaining Employees


What is the standard employee retention rate for a small-animal practice in the inner city? I think my 24- to 36-month retention rate is 63%, and I am a little disappointed with that.



In North America, the average turnover rate for a small animal hospital is about 25% to 30% for front-desk support, which is equivalent to a 12-month 70% to 75% retention rate. For non-licensed or accredited technicians, three years seems to be the magic number. This means one-third of the staff will turn over every year, which is equivalent to an annual 33% turnover rate or a 67% retention rate.

If your 24-month retention rate is 63%, that equates to a 12-month retention rate of about 32%, or half the average. You may be having a harder time because your practice is in an affluent area, where it is likely that your employee base is upwardly mobile and not attracted to traditionally low-paying jobs.

A wise boss once told me that if you pay people well and treat them poory, or pay them poorly and treat them well, you stand a chance of retaining them. Veterinary medicine pays poorly, so we must treat them better than other employers. Offer education and quality-of-life incentives that employees can’t get anywhere else. Most of all, communicate with them your team regularly and keep them involved.

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