5 Tips to Maintain Employee Loyalty

In a working culture that shies away from employee engagements and contracts, and rather favors an at-will status, how do employers support and nurture employee loyalty?
David Liss, BA, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), CVPM
Published: May 26, 2016
In a working culture that shies away from employee engagements and contracts, and rather favors an at-will status, how do employers support and nurture employee loyalty? That is, how do you, as an employer, convince your employees to stay with your facility and not succumb to the “grass is greener” mentality?
 
Here are 5 ways to maintain employee loyalty:

1. Evaluate employee engagement (wheniwork.com)

Cited as one of the top ways companies can retain their employees, employee engagement can allow a manager to measure the dedication of his or her employees. A manager should investigate which employees are maximally engaged at work and which are not. Focusing on the employees that aren’t as committed can allow the manager to increase overall engagement by identifying the obstacles and pitfalls these employees are facing. Why is Employee A not working “as hard” as Employee B? How do your employees feel overall about the company? Using feedback such as employee surveys and Likert scale metrics can help the manager identify what parts of company culture are actually hindering employee performance and success.

2. Improve facilities, equipment, and knowledge

Another method to assure employee loyalty is to update facilities and equipment.

Employees generally like working in facilities where maintenance and space issues are addressed. A cramped facility with limited space and storage, or a facility that constantly has electrical, plumbing, or other issues does not make for an attractive long-term employment prospect. Additionally, new and updated equipment, such as lab machines, can provide not only increased clinic efficiency and possibly enhance revenue, but give stagnant employees new equipment to train on, new tests to run, or other ways to engage in the company’s advancement. Additionally, companies that invest in their employees’ education through conferences, webinars, or courses may find their employees to be more loyal. 

3. Ensure management is fair and equitable

Favoritism by management is a corporate culture killer. Employees can see it, feel it, and generally resent it. Ensuring that managers uphold policies fairly and equitably levels the playing field and ensures employees are all treated the same. Employees will, therefore, have less gripes with the company and one less reason to leave. Managers must make sure that if Employee A was late and was reprimanded, that when Employee B is late, he or she receives the same penalty and that the punctuality policy is reinforced at a staff meeting or with a memo. Employees who are consistently on time then feel validated for following policies and understand that when policies are violated, there are consequences. Companies must rid themselves of management that plays favorites, or employees will flee in droves.

4. Avoid micromanagement—utilize employees fully

Employees like to be engaged. They like to feel as if they are needed and that their training produces productive work results. To hire a credentialed technician capable of veterinary medical care and not allow them to perform each and every skill for which they are trained results in reduced engagement, since veterinary technicians should be respected every bit as much as veterinarians, who have a different skill set. Employees who utilize their skills to the fullest feel respected and valued, qualities which lead to retention rather than attrition. Additionally, if that veterinary technician or associate veterinarian is the professional the company respects, that professional may operate well within their scope of practice. This means they may select various ways to provide the care they are tasked with. Managers, head vets, technicians, or even co-workers should refrain from micromanaging others which demeans rather than empowers.

5. Build a trusting relationship (customerservicegroup.com)

Top management consultants recommend being transparent with employees in regards to financial or other types of stability. Employers should discuss the financial situation of the clinic as well as future projections. If a clinic cannot give bonuses, raises, or have a holiday party as in years past, explain the reasoning to the employees. Most employees feel connected and understand company ups and downs, but feel as if they are important when sensitive information is divulged to them.
 

Although employee loyalty can possibly result in additional clinic expense, such as providing continuing education or purchasing additional equipment, losing employees can also be expensive. It is estimated that replacing an employee costs around 150% of the previous employees’ salary in the first year. An average company (non-veterinary) loses one-quarter to half of its employees per year, which can add up quickly. To avoid attrition and enhance employee devotion, follow these 5 steps and cash in on the results!
 
David Liss is a renowned technician educator and a double board-certified veterinary technician specialist in emergency/critical care and internal medicine. He has a diverse background in emergency and critical care nursing including lecturing internationally, authoring numerous articles and book chapters and serving on various technician association committees. He has also been awarded the Veterinary Technician Educator of the Year by Western Veterinary Conference and the Southern California Technician of the Year. David spent many years in ECC veterinary nursing and was technician manager at two different 24- hour referral/specialty facilities in the Los Angeles area. David currently is the Program Director for the Veterinary Technology Program at Platt College in Los Angeles, and works relief as an ICU technician at VCA Veterinary Specialists of the Valley in Woodland Hills, CA.

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