Screening the Social Media Accounts of Interviewees

Let’s say you’ve found the “perfect” candidate for your veterinary tech. She’s skilled, great with animals and compassionate with people. What more could you need, right? But, shortly after you hire her, you notice she regularly uses swear words at work that make others feel uncomfortable and spends too much time sharing her political views with anyone she can corner. There’s no way you could have known that ahead of time, though . . . right? She just knew how to interview well, you tell yourself, and this was an unavoidable problem. Right?

Well, maybe not.

A ten-minute review of her Facebook page (okay, a five-minute review!) told you all of the above, and more. So, does this mean that, going forward, you should check interviewees’ social media pages during the screening process?

Employer Statistics

If you do, then CareerBuilder.com’s The Hiring Site says you’re not alone. Employers who are reviewing candidates’ social media accounts are steadily increasing:

  • 2013: 39% of employers check
  • 2014: 43% of employers check
  • 2015: 52% of employers check

And, these employers go above and beyond simply reading what can be seen. Many are also sending friend requests to these candidates to obtain full access to a person’s social media profile and postings. In fact, more than one third of employers surveyed do so (35%) – and, interestingly enough, 20% of those requests are turned down by candidates!

Employers say they are looking for positives, not negatives, with 60% wanting information to back up a person’s qualifications, but 21% say, yes, they are checking to see if there are reasons NOT to hire someone.

Is This All Legit?

The short answer is, yes, this is legal when handled appropriately. However, proceed with caution, says hiring site Monster.com. Once you have reviewed a prospective employee’s social media profile, a court will “assume you are aware of that person’s ‘protected characteristics’ that are often part of their online postings.” This includes but is not limited to “religion, age, sexual orientation or disability.” Armed with these insights, you must be especially careful not to ask interview questions that are outside the legal scope, or use this information in your hiring decisions in a way that’s beyond legal limitations.

This article provides insights from David Baffa, a labor and employment partner at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP. His advice includes:

  • Waiting to review social media postings until after you’ve met face to face. This helps to reduce the likelihood of being accused of making a snap judgment based on social media information or inappropriately using protected characteristics in your interview questions.
  • Consistently reviewing social media information for each candidate, including doing so at the same point in the process for each.
  • Saving and/or printing screen shots of areas of concern, ones that cause you to “question the candidate’s candor, professionalism or judgment.”

Final Considerations
If this all sounds too complicated or fraught with pitfalls, know that this issue isn’t going away. At one time, background checks were considered to be controversial. Phone interviews were thought to be suspect by many employers and telecommuting options seemed impossible.
The reality is that technology, notably the Internet, has radically changed the way the world conducts business, and using social media as a screening tool is likely to only become more common – and, if you resist using it, you may be hurting your chances of getting the candidate that best suits your needs and fits your culture. This isn’t to say that you must use social media as a screening tool, but it does suggest you need to explore options, come up with a well-thought-out policy (even if the policy is to NOT review social media pages of any interviewees) and then strictly follow that policy.

Veterinary Practices Posting Pet Pictures on Social Media

As the employees of a veterinary practice know, one of the side benefits of the job is getting to meet and interact with adorable animals! You get to see the sweetest of kitty faces and the melting eyes of a lovable pup, and more. It can be tempting to photograph them, perhaps to share them with others in the practice who were off that day, or to use in your practice’s marketing materials.

But, is that acceptable? Done correctly, the answer is yes. An article in Veterinary Business DMV 360’s site covers this topic, and shares how a practice in Arkansas – Azzore Veterinary Specialists – photographs each patient. They put the picture in the pet’s electronic health record, and also post the photos on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

What’s most important: getting the client’s permission first. Simply ask the client to sign a photography release form when checking in. You can use this form as written or tweak it to fit your practice’s specific needs. People may occasionally refuse to sign, but most are willing.

Beyond Just Posting Pictures

This practice goes a step further, providing online updates on social media. How well has that gone over? Well! The article says that “most clients understand that the purpose of posting photos is to keep them in the know—and to educate others who are simply following the action. Typical posts might explain that the pet ‘made it through surgery just fine,’ ‘is awake,’ or ‘is resting well after her procedure.’”

Clients get updates that way without needing to call and it’s easy for them to share updates with friends and family. Posting updates typically only take a few seconds to do, although when a celebrity cat – the mascot for the local weather station, Joey the Garden Cat – had a tumor removed, Facebook activity was fast and furious.

VMDTechnology.com points out benefits of using social media this way. “Social media, like Facebook or Twitter, can help you continue client bonds outside of your veterinary clinic’s exam room. Establishing a strong presence on several social media platforms will help you connect 365 days a year, rather than during 15-minute annual visits. Before you know it, clients will see you as the source for pet health information online, not their buddy Dr. Google (where did that guy go to veterinary school, anyway?).”

Engaging Veterinary Facebook Posts

SnoutSchool.com agrees that patient stories (including photos) are among the most engaging types of Facebook posts. When Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital in Connecticut posted about Ty, a “handsome black lab” who’d been hit by a car, the post reached 1,045 people. That’s a great way to help your community learn more about your practice.

Another way to elicit engagement is to post a picture of an animal and ask a question. “You could post a picture of a unique dog and ask people what breed it is, ask clients what their pet’s plans for the weekend are, or post a funny picture and ask clients to caption it.”

Once you have a signed release form, you are limited only by your imagination!

Employee Guidelines for Social Media Usage

As of October 2015, says Pew Research Center, 76% of adults in the United States who have access to the Internet use Facebook – and, with the abundance of smartphones, people are connected to the Internet with just a finger tap. This trend is unlikely to decrease – mobile phone usage OR social media participation – so it just makes good sense for veterinary practices to establish social media policies for their employees.

Important note: It also makes sense to consult with an attorney when creating your policy. This is an ever-changing social phenomenon and issues are not always clear-cut.

Social Media Policies

First, how do you define social media? You’re almost certainly considering platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and the like to be social media. But, what about an employee’s personal blog? Comments he or she makes on someone else’s blog?

It’s important that your policy clearly outlines what’s permissible and what isn’t, but you should first share the following context:

Policies should state that the practice respects the rights of its employees to use social media as a method of self-expression and public conversation. State that the practice does not discriminate against employees who use social media to communicate personal interests and affiliations, or any other lawful purposes.

A 2012 memorandum by the Office of the General Counsel (OM 12-59) uses phrases like this in their sample policy:

  • “Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved.”
  • “Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the performance of fellow associates or otherwise adversely affects members, customers, suppliers, people who work on behalf of [Employer] or [Employer’s] legitimate business interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.”

Other sections in OM 12-59 encourage being honest, accurate and respectful. There is a focus on specifically prohibiting posts that include discriminating or harassing statements and, as far as prohibiting specific forms of content, types include:

  • Employer trade secrets/private and/or confidential information
  • Internal reports, processes and policies
  • Content where someone falsely claims to represent his or her employer

You will likely want to prohibit non-work-related social media posting while an employee is on the clock.

An Entrepreneur.com article by Arkady Bukh, a New York federal defense attorney, sums up social media policies this way: “Ultimately they [social media policies] should be about educating workers to use common sense when they use social media.”

Pros and Cons

As you craft your policy, keep in mind both the benefits and challenges associated with social media. On the plus side, social media can be used as a powerful marketing and branding tool. So, if your employees are perceived as likeable, friendly and trustworthy people on social media, then this can only benefit your practice when people are looking for a new veterinarian.

Spread the Word

It’s not enough to simply create a social media policy. You need to share this policy with all employees regularly, perhaps at an annual meeting where you review all company policies. Allow time for your staff to ask questions and gain clarity.

2017 Calendar for Human Resources Related Events

2017 – Is it really here in just the blink of an eye?  We have updated our calendar with additional events that you should be addressing in 2017 regarding Human Resources related activities.  Please take the time to at least scan the list and pencil in on your appointment book or mark on your outlook calendar or for you techies with the smart phones or tablets, maybe there’s an app for that – so that you are proactively prepared to administer or address each event in a timely manner.  Our list is based on a calendar year and your Practice’s fiscal year running concurrently.  But any listed activity below can be scheduled in the month that you need to begin the activity so that you have enough planned lead time to get the event executed successfully according to your own schedule.  Not all activities may pertain to your Practice (some depend on the number of employees working for you) and the list is comprehensive but not all-inclusive – it is meant to get you thinking about Human Resources related activities and functions for the upcoming year.  And as a reminder, some of the new HR related activities that are listed due to their prescribed implementation dates may change as we get closer to the deadline dates because sometimes legislative acts may get challenged, postponed or shelved.  As we hear of updates, we will post them in our newsletter.

MONTH HUMAN RESOURCES ACTIVITIES
   
DECEMBER
  • Prepare OSHA form 300A from OSHA 300 log
  • Finalize Performance Management Review discussions and inform employees of annual increases/bonuses and effective dates
  • The NLRB requires employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act with a posted notice by January 31, 2017 (to order the posting notice for free, use the following link http://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/EmployeeRightsPoster11x17_Final.pdf )
  • Remind employees – IRS changes for 2017 to pension plans or 401(k) plans
  • Remind employees to submit a new W-4 form if withholding changes are to be made for 2017
JANUARY

2017

 

 

 

 

  • Reset dates and accumulators associated with HRIS/Payroll systems for the new processing year
  • Request Vacation Schedules from the staff for the year – not set in stone but helps you plan, especially on the dates that everyone wants off.
  • Post a Holiday calendar of when the Practice will observe the holidays
  • Commence Performance Management – setting mutually agreed upon goals for the year/creating career development plans and distributing a Performance Management Review calendar for 2017 with ‘Pay for Performance’ guidelines communicated
  • Review Federal & State Law posters – ensure compliance and updated postings
  • Issue 2016 W2’s and 1099’s for current and former employees
  • If you travel for Hospital business, the IRS 2016 mileage rate is 57.5 cents.  Check for new rate for 2017.
FEBRUARY

2017

 

 

 

 

  • Post complete OSHA form 300A for 3 months
  • Implement Employee Engagement Survey – get feedback on your organizational culture
  • Review current and create new job descriptions in anticipation of Talent Acquisition Process
  • Employees must  change the withholding exemption to “single, with zero allowances” for employees who claimed total exemption from withholding for last year, unless the individuals have completed a new Form W-4
  • Structure a Training Schedule – to determine which classes (technical/developmental skills) should be conducted internally vs. externally
  • Facilitate a quarterly HR meeting – review policies, procedures and ‘celebrate success’
  • Conduct a market survey on Compensation pay ranges
MARCH 2017

 

 

 

  • Review and communicate feedback from Employee Engagement Survey – determine what ‘hot issues’ will be addressed and implemented by when
  • Recruit and Pipeline network of potential new hires aligned to Practice’s workforce planning model/budget
  • All plan sponsors and health insurance issuers must provide Standardized Health Plan Summaries of Benefits and Coverage along with glossary of terms to enrollees/potential enrollees
  • Review SDS’s to determine if any hazardous chemical inventory needs attention or submission to appropriate agencies.
APRIL 2017

 

 

 

 

  • Conduct HR related seminars such as ‘How to Prevent Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace’ (some states such as CT require this training if you have ≥ 50 employees)
  • Investigate with your health insurance broker, carrier and attorney how the Health Care Reform Act affects the Practice for 2017 especially if the health care plan designs are changing or laws that affect FT/PT eligibility  need to be declared
  • Community Living Assistance and Services Support (CLASS) Act, (basic lifetime long term care benefit in the event of illness or disability) has been suspended from implementation
  • Practices with< 250 employees will not have to report the cost of employer-provided health care coverage on the Form W-2 for 2014
  • Review if any new federal/state labor laws that go into effect in the upcoming months and how the laws will affect the Practice
  • Review and update Employee Manual to ensure up-to-date and compliant
MAY 2017

 

 

  • Commence Half Year Performance Management Reviews – according to calendar distributed in January
  • Facilitate a quarterly HR meeting – review policies, procedures, distribute updated Employee Manual and obtain annual acknowledgment receipt of  Employee Manual including Confidentiality Agreement and ‘celebrate success’
JUNE 2017

 

  • Finalize all Half Year Performance Management Review discussions
  • Conduct a component of an HR audit (e.g. employee files or payroll or records retention, etc)
JULY 2017

 

  • Complete and submit 5500 forms for employee benefit plans
  • Complete an HR budget aligned to the Practice’s 2018 strategic/financial business objectives
AUGUST 2017

 

  • Receive carrier bids on 2018 plans from health insurance broker to determine plan designs and costs
  • Facilitate a quarterly HR meeting – review policies, procedures and ‘celebrate success’
SEPTEMBER 2017
  • File EEO-1 form for employers with ≥100 employees
  • Communicate Open Enrollment Benefits calendar for October
OCTOBER 2017

 

 

  • Conduct Open Enrollment for Health Care and other insurance plans to include processing information to the respective carriers
  • Finalize HR budget with Practice owner
  • Discuss with Practice owner percentage of salary adjustments and bonus opportunities to set aside
NOVEMBER 2017

 

  • Commence Annual Performance Management Reviews – according to calendar distributed in January
  • Facilitate a quarterly HR meeting – review policies, procedures and ‘celebrate success’
  • Discuss and agree upon HR goals for the Practice in 2018
DECEMBER 2017

 

 

  • Prepare OSHA form 300A from OSHA 300 log
  • Finalize Performance Management Review discussions and inform employees of annual increases/bonuses and effective dates
  • Remind employees – IRS changes for 2018 to pension plans or 401(k) plans
  • Remind employees to submit a new W-4 form if withholding changes are to be made for 2018
  • Remind employees about Flexible Spending Accounts’ limits ($2,500)

Drug Testing: The How and When

Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem in workplaces across the United States, including in some veterinary practices, with significant financial implications. According to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate the following:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse cost American businesses $81 billion in lost productivity in just one year
  • Substance abusers are absent ten times as often as non-abusers
  • Substance abusers are three times as likely to be late to work than non-abusers
  • Substance abusers use medical benefits 300% more often than non-abusers
  • Substance abusers file 30% to 50% of all workers compensation claims

One method to control the damage inflicted upon a business’s bottom line is drug testing, but this is a controversial topic among veterinary practice owners.  Controversy arises, in part, because of the sometimes confusing federal and state laws that dictate what a business can or cannot do in regards to testing, and in part because there is a risk of discrimination when policies are not effectively created and/or implemented.

 

Although no federal law specifically prohibits drug testing, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does restrict the scope and timing of the testing.  Some states prohibit or restrict certain types of testing, so be sure to be familiar with your state’s laws before creating your policies.

(http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/stateandlocalresources/stateandlocalstatutesandregulations/documents/state%20drug%20testing%20laws.pdf).

 

Note that, although the majority of private employees are not required to drug test, most of them do have the right to test.

 

Other information that you need to know includes:

  • You cannot discriminate against an employee because he or she previously had a drug or alcohol problem
  • Employees who are active alcoholics may be protected from discrimination if it is found that you have disciplined his or her performance or conduct more harshly than a non-alcoholic with similar levels of performance or conduct
  • Although employees using illegal drugs are not protected by law, the use of the drugs must be “current,” means that usage “occurred recently enough to justify the employer’s reasonable belief that the involvement with drugs is an ongoing problem”

Pre-employment and during-employment testing

 

Overall, there are two broad categories of drug testing: as a pre-employment requirement, which helps to ensure that the best candidates are hired, and during-employment testing. The latter type of testing includes testing upon reasonable suspicion; post-accident testing; post-treatment testing; periodic testing; and random testing. Here are more specifics of each type of during-employment testing:

 

Testing upon reasonable suspicion: This is one of the most common reasons for during-employment testing. These tests are typically conducted when the employee shows obvious signs of not being fit for duty and/or has a documented pattern of unsafe behavior.

 

Post-accident testing: Accidents are a common trigger for drug testing, with employees involved in an accident – or even engaging in an unsafe practice with the potential to cause an accident – being tested to determine if drugs and/or alcohol were factors.

 

Post-treatment testing: Sometimes, it is clear that an employee has drug and/or alcohol challenges, and she or he subsequently enrolls in rehab. As a condition of continuing employment, a practice may require regular screenings.

 

Periodic testing: These are tests that are announced, and then implemented at predetermined intervals of time. Some practices, as one example, require testing as part of an annual medical exam.

 

Random testing: These are unannounced screenings for safety and security reasons. Although one of the most common types of testing, some states do not allow this type, plus it is the type most likely to open up a practice to claims of discrimination.

In most states that do allow random testing, the employer would have to show a legitimate need for this type of testing. In most veterinary practices, the reason would be to prevent usage or theft of controlled substances in the hospital. However, is random testing the best way to prevent usage or theft?  Let’s take a closer look.

 

A red flag in veterinary practices is when an employee makes errors during a procedure. Did he or she ingest controlled substances stolen from the practice? This may motivate the veterinarian to want to drug test this employee – but this situation most likely already falls within the scope of testing upon reasonable suspicion.

 

Moreover, this employee may be stealing the controlled substances and then selling them to other people, and random testing would not be useful in that circumstance. If this is the concern, a better option would be to set up a checks and balances system that limits the number of people who have access to these substances and ensure that they always check them out in pairs.

 

Benefits of a drug-free workplace

 

There are numerous financial benefits to drug testing and a drug-free workplace. For example, because a drug-free workplace has fewer accidents – with a decrease, overall, in workers compensation claims by up to 50% — your practice can benefit from employee comp insurance discounts and perhaps even health insurance discounts. Other benefits include a lowered risk for drug theft or abuse in the clinic and better attendance and timeliness, which improves the likelihood of a profitable practice. Moreover, potential employees with drug/alcohol dependencies will likely search for employment elsewhere when they hear of well-structured and consistently-implemented drug testing policies.

 

Why you might decide not to test

 

Although each of these types of drug testing has sound reasoning behind implementation and although the benefits of testing are significant, there are also legitimate reasons why a practice may choose NOT to test. These include:

 

  • Discrimination risk: it can be challenging to create a policy that allows for random selection; one solution is to outsource this testing to an outside agency with experience in how to manage risk.
  • Administrative hassle: extra work is creating because a practice will need to keep track of when tests are conducted, what is tested for, who performed the test, along with the results, all in confidential files.
  • Potential privacy invasion, (for example, most employees find urine tests invasive) which may:
    • create unnecessary resentment
    • negatively affect productivity, leading to lost revenue
  • Cost of drug testing
  • Risk of false results, as tests cannot always pinpoint how recently a substance was taken. Moreover, most drug tests are performed in a way that doesn’t distinguish between medical marijuana use and recreational use, and not all prescription drug abuse is detected.

If you decide to implement drug testing

 

  • Check individual state laws before creating policies
  • Consider using guidelines set by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Establish clear and fair substance abuse policies
  • Communicate the policy to ALL employees/potential employees
  • Decide what to outsource. Research and locate vendors who can handle whatever drug-testing procedures you decide to outsource to reduce the levels of responsibility undertaken by the practice.

 

  • Clearly define consequences and communicate them to all employees/potential employees
  • Educate managers and supervisors so that they can spot potential signs of abuse and respond appropriately
  • Be consistent in implementing and carrying out drug testing as well as following through on consequences
  • Maintain complete confidentiality
  • Keep accurate records
  • Review the policies with employees annually at an office meeting

 

Talent Acquisition Finding and Retaining the Right Person for Your Practice©

It has been said many times that employees are our most valuable assets.  Without a well-trained, highly motivated staff, it will be difficult for any Practice to achieve its strategic vision and performance goals.  Since every Practice will need to hire additional staff at some point, the decision to hire a new employee should not be taken lightly or without careful Talent Acquisition planning.  The key to any Talent Acquisition effort is to devise and implement a strategy that will yield the greatest opportunity to attract talent and retain them.

 

Defining the Job

Every recruitment effort should incorporate strategies to address sourcing, screening, interviewing and selection.  Before deciding where, when and how to advertise for a job opening, it is critical to confirm the need for the job still exists.  Every Practice needs to accomplish certain basic functions, including reception, patient examination, inventory management, client billing, etc.  When a Practice is just starting out, many of these responsibilities are combined into one or more positions.  Team members often are responsible for doing anything and everything needed to help run the Practice and job descriptions should reflect this broad array of duties.  As a Practice grows and evolves, management needs to analyze and improve the Practice’s organizational structure. Job descriptions will help reveal whether all Practice responsibilities are adequately covered and where responsibilities should be reallocated to achieve a better balance.

 

As a result, a job description should be reviewed annually to ensure it includes and clarifies information regarding the general and strategic nature of the work to be performed, specific responsibilities and duties and the employee characteristics or competencies needed by the person who will be required to fulfill the job requirements.  Knowing these needed attributes will help ensure a Practice has the best possible chance of finding the right individual.  In addition, an accurate job description will ensure interested candidates are provided a clear and concise picture of what the job entails and enables the potential employee to assess the relative importance of everything he/she is accountable for, providing a sense of where the job fits in to the Practice as a whole and how the position supports the Practice’s overall goals.  If a job description does not exist for the position you are looking to fill, this is the ideal time to create it.

 

Determining Where to Look

Once your job description is completed, you are ready to craft a job posting that dazzles an ideal candidate by highlighting your Practice’s strengths and the position’s attractiveness.  Describe your Practice’s culture, reputation, growth, benefits package, advancement opportunities and even location.  Think of your job descriptions and job postings as advertising copy that you have created as an opportunity to highlight what is great about your Practice and to pull in your next high achiever.

 

Once you have clearly identified what position you are looking to fill, the next step is determining the best places to look.  There are various resources that can help you “cast a wider net” about your job opening.  The decision of where and how to recruit should be based on an assessment of how difficult you think it will be to find a sufficient number of qualified candidates and how much time, effort and money you are willing to commit to the recruiting process.  While some sources are free or relatively inexpensive, others are very costly and may require signing an agreement with outside consultants to pay a percentage of the first year annual salary of the individual you ultimately hire.  Be creative in your sourcing because you never know where your next ideal candidate will be present.

 

Conducting the Interview

The interview provides the hiring manager a perfect opportunity to identify the applicant(s) best qualified and best suited for the Practice.  If conducted properly, it offers a valuable opportunity to assess how an applicant will perform the essential functions of the job and whether s/he will fit into the culture of the Practice.   However, if handled incorrectly or unprofessionally, you risk alienating a candidate to whom you may want to issue a job offer.  To ensure the interview process runs smoothly and without misstep, it is advisable to assign responsibility to one person to act as “gatekeeper” of the recruitment process.

 

In preparing for the interview, an applicant checklist should be developed to ensure all necessary information and documents have been obtained and distributed to persons involved in the interview and selection process (e.g. job description, application, resume, etc…).  Prior to the interview, train the employees involved in the process regarding what questions are and are not permissible (all questions should be job related), interviewing techniques (ask broad, open-ended questions that require an applicant to process what is being asked and develop an appropriate response), behavioral interviewing (questions eliciting responses regarding goals, motivation, and responses to specific situations are valuable in determining if your Practice’s culture and organization structure offer opportunities that match those of the applicant) and ensure all team members know what skills, knowledge and competencies they will be looking for in the applicants.  Asking the wrong questions, or asking the right questions in the wrong manner, can result in serious legal problems for a Practice.  Only ask questions that will provide information about the person’s ability to do the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.

 

Effective interviewers listen more than they talk.  Remember, your goal in the interview is to learn as much as you can about the applicant.  Be sure to control the pace and flow of the conversation.  Once the interview is completed, be sure to thank the applicant for coming to the interview, explain that you are still in the interviewing phase, and inform the applicant that you hope to be making a decision within the next few days/weeks.

 

Making the Offer

Now that you have completed the interview process and determined whom you want to select, it is time to decide how to extend the job offer.  Here, too, there are guidelines you should follow to ensure the entire recruitment process does not fail because you did not act swiftly or decisively enough in the eyes of your chosen candidate.  To avoid losing the “right person”, make the offer as soon as possible after the final job interview.

 

Admittedly, you don’t want to rush the interview process and risk hiring the wrong person.  However, the individual you ultimately select may also be actively interviewing with other practices and might receive another offer while you deliberate.  By making the offer as soon as possible, you increase your chances of hiring the person you want.  Considering you may only have one opportunity to offer the job to that individual, be sure to reemphasize all the benefits of working for your Practice.  This is the ideal time to review salary and benefits, paid time off, paid (or unpaid) CE, personal pet care benefits, and any other terms and conditions of employment.

 

If your Practice includes pre-employment drug screening and background screening as a routine part of the employment process, this testing will need to be done AFTER a contingent job offer of employment has been made.  Depending on the level of the job being offered, you may wish to have a formal employment agreement developed by an employment attorney who is knowledgeable about the veterinary industry.

 

The final step in the interview process entails notifying rejected applicants that they were not selected.  This notification is normally accomplished by email or written letter.  While there is no requirement for this notification, taking this action sends the message that your Practice respects all applicants and is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect.  Furthermore, you may wish to reconsider a previously rejected applicant at some future date.

 

On-Boarding the New Hire

On-Boarding is the process by which a Practice acclimatizes its new employees. It is one of the keys for improving productivity, building loyalty and engagement, fostering a stronger team, and helping employees become successful early in their careers with the new Practice.  Employee on-boarding includes the processes that allow new employees to learn about the structure, vision, mission, and values of the Practice as well as to complete new-employee paperwork relative to benefits and legal documents such as non-competes, at-will statements and employee handbooks. For some Practices, the employee on-boarding process consists of one or two days of activities; for others, this process may involve a series of activities spanning one or many months.

 

Veterinary Practices have learned that employee on-boarding is not merely a process for getting new employees to sign off on their new-hire paperwork, but a process that is essential to transitioning a new employee into your Practice. Studies have proven that employee engagement is partially determined by the new employee’s treatment and orientation during the first 30–90 days of employment. A solid employee on-boarding strategy will help build on that loyalty and help with retention and engagement issues throughout an employee’s tenure.  The new employee will be anointed into the Practice’s team culture by understanding the Practice’s mission, vision, values and knowing how his/her job responsibilities and performance support the Practice’s overall goals.  It is important to engage with recent new hires and ask open-ended questions to determine their level of satisfaction with the Practice to ensure success, improve productivity and ultimately, enhance retention.

 

In conclusion, Talent Acquisition is a process that requires planning and detailed execution, but when done correctly, the outcome will yield the greatest opportunity to attract and retain the high achiever, ‘A’ player talent for any job position within your Practice.