Pulse - August 2021 - 15

adopted, more people stayed home, and the humanization of
pets got a huge boost.
" A recent article in The Hill said people are sacrificing
their own health care for their pets', " she says. " Millennials
are getting pets before getting married, having kids or
owning a home. They are the biggest pet-owning generation
that exists right now. "
And with the pandemic apparently subsiding, the staffing
shortage has made its way into all parts of the clinic.
How should a practice manager or owner respond?
" You have to be the employer of choice, " Pursell says,
because there's so much competition. No detail is too
small to deserve attention.
She tells of one of her veterinarian candidates who
received multiple job offers. One was from a clinic whose
staff he loved and that offered a great salary and a lucrative
package, and would have been a shorter commute than his
current position. But its physical appearance was worn and
dated. He declined the offer. Another candidate refused an
offer because the clinic still used paper records.
" Many people today, with competition so fierce, don't
want to work at a noncomputerized facility, " Pursell says,
adding that this applies to support staff, too.
" In many cases, the employer needs the candidate
more than the candidate needs the employer. "
Employers also need to be intentional about the recruiting
process and extremely careful not to say or do the
wrong thing. Many could stand to be trained on greeting
and interviewing candidates, even including basic civility.
Leaving a candidate waiting in the lobby for an interview
and asking her to reschedule because your practice
is unusually slammed isn't going to cut it, she says.
Personal branding is key, Pursell says, and the practice
owner or manager needs to constantly consider what
it takes to be the best, to hire the best, and then follow
through. That applies to everything from the clinic website
to how staff and clients are treated.
" It's kind of like real estate, " Pursell says. " If 10 houses
are for sale, the one with the best curb appeal will get
the most attention. "
In years past, candidates would send thank-you letters
to employers after interviews. " Now employers are sending
thank-you letters to candidates for interviewing with
them, " Pursell says. P
The Elephant in the Room: Raising Wages to Compete
In a July Facebook livestreamed video, Andy Roark,
DVM, tackled followers' questions about how to
contend in a brutally competitive job market when
your clinic budget doesn't allow, but you desperately
need to keep a staffer.
First, he stressed, this is not a veterinary medicine-specific
phenomenon. " It's happening across the country, probably
across the globe, " he said. " People are quitting jobs in record
numbers.
" We had a year of getting our butts kicked, and a lot of
people are tired, burned out, suffering compassion fatigue.
They don't want to do the same work at the same pay.
" It's a question of supply and demand, " he noted. " Because
of the shortage of labor, places with resources are actively trying
to recruit. "
First, he said, don't take it personally if a staff member finds
it necessary to quit.
" A $3 an hour raise is not nothing, " he said, picking a number
out of the air. " It's not an indictment of you.
" We're all getting pinched. We have tried hard to shield
pet owners from discomfort. We want to keep veterinary
medicine affordable. But when we get to this point, trying
PULSE
AUGUST 2021
to retain staff, we're going to have to pay staff better in
some regions.
" We're trying to do right by pet owners by keeping costs
down. But we might have to raise prices to keep staff, to
make them keep wanting to come to work. "
Clinic owners and managers have three options, Dr.
Roark said.
" We can be more aggressive and work up more cases. We
can try to get more efficient to see more cases with the people
we have. And the last is to raise prices. It's a hard choice. "
It's not fair to sacrifice support staff by refusing raises, he
said. Everyone is trying to retain balance in these trying times.
" When staff comes in and says hey, I need to make more
money, or I see ads offering more money, know that you don't
have to have an answer right this second. You can say, I hear
you, let me look into this and see what I can do. Set realistic
expectations. Ask for some time. Most people understand that.
" We have to be fair to everybody, " Dr. Roark said. " We're
moving toward wage transparency and wage scales, " although
we're not there yet.
In the meantime, he said, " Do your best to provide
a good environment for people to work in. Have a good
office culture. "
Those things count for a lot in times of change.
15

Pulse - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - August 2021

August 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
Pulsepoints
SCVMA Profile
Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - August 2021 - August 2021
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - August 2021 - 1
Pulse - August 2021 - 2
Pulse - August 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - August 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - August 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - August 2021 - 6
Pulse - August 2021 - 7
Pulse - August 2021 - 8
Pulse - August 2021 - 9
Pulse - August 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - August 2021 - 11
Pulse - August 2021 - Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Pulse - August 2021 - 13
Pulse - August 2021 - 14
Pulse - August 2021 - 15
Pulse - August 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - August 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - August 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - August 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - August 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - August 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - August 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - August 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - August 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - August 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - August 2021 - 26
Pulse - August 2021 - 27
Pulse - August 2021 - 28
Pulse - August 2021 - Resources
Pulse - August 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - August 2021 - 31
Pulse - August 2021 - 32
Pulse - August 2021 - 33
Pulse - August 2021 - 34
Pulse - August 2021 - 35
Pulse - August 2021 - 36
Pulse - August 2021 - 37
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Pulse - August 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
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