The importance of retention for your practice
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Posted on 17 August 2023

​Employee retention is a critical factor for any veterinary business that wishes to thrive and succeed in today’s highly competitive market. High employee turnover rates can be both costly and detrimental to a practice’s overall performance, productivity and morale. Therefore, measuring employee turnover and retention rates and identifying the factors that contribute to them can be a powerful tool.

Measuring Employee Turnover:

To track employee turnover, organisations typically calculate their ‘crude’ or ‘overall’ turnover rates, which are expressed as a percentage of employees overall.

The formula is simply:

Total number of leavers over period x 100


Average total number employed over period

This calculation considers all leavers, including those who retire or leave involuntarily due to dismissal or redundancy. However, a more useful figure is voluntary turnover (resignations) as they are unplanned and unpredictable. Additionally, tracking more complex indices that consider seniority and experience can highlight areas where turnover is higher than others.

Measuring Employee Retention:

Stability index is a common metric used to indicate the retention rate of experienced employees. The calculation for this index considers the number of staff with service of one year or more and compares it to the total number of staff in post one year ago.

Number of staff with service of one year or more x 100

Total number of staff in post one year ago

Costing Employee Turnover:

The costs associated with employee turnover due to resignations can be estimated by calculating the average cost of replacing each leaver with a new starter in each major employment category.

The total annual cost of turnover is then calculated by multiplying this figure by the relevant turnover rate for that staff group. These costs include administration of the resignation, recruitment and selection costs, covering the post during the vacancy period and induction training for the new employee.

Factors Contributing to Employee Retention:

To improve retention, veterinary practices should:

  • Monitor workload and ensure it’s manageable within working hours.

  • Treat employees fairly. This is essential as perceived unfairness in the distribution of rewards can lead to resignations.

  • Pay attention to employee well-being. Support managers to help their teams thrive and manage issues such as workplace stress and presenteeism.

  • Provide opportunities for career development and progression and understand and managing people’s career expectations. This will benefit both employees and the the practice succession planning.

  • Consult employees and giving them a ‘voice’. This will make them feel valued and appreciated, which is essential in boosting retention rates.

Employee retention is a critical aspect of building a successful practice. Measuring employee turnover and retention rates, and identifying the factors that contribute to them, can help you build a business case for targeted retention initiatives. By monitoring workload, treating employees fairly, paying attention to employee well-being, providing career development opportunities, and consulting employees, you can improve retention rates and, ultimately, your staff overall performance and productivity.

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