Train and Retain: Navigating Record-Breaking Staff Shortages and Excessive Turnover

What can be done to help alleviate some of this stress?

If you haven’t dealt with the rotating door of support staff coming and going in your veterinary hospital you are one of the lucky few. All over the country hospitals are short staffed and constantly hiring and training new team members. Experts in the industry are predicting this trend is here to stay and it is adding even more stress to an already demanding environment.
Effective Training

Implementing a thorough training and onboarding protocol is difficult, but it could be the key in preventing excessive turnover. “Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies with weak onboarding programs lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.” Writes Madeline Laurano in a research brief for the Brandon Hall Group2.


Developing a protocol takes investment on the front end. You may decide to invest your time by creating your own training courses. Ensuring your training program has specific goals, timelines, and measurable performance check-ins is imperative for success. Or you may decide to invest financially in one of the many wonderful training modules already created, such as the at Dove online veterinary training programs


Regardless of the training module you create or subscribe to don’t forget to utilize your industry partners. Most industry partners provide complimentary training resources and CE events relating to their products and services. Reach out to your representatives and ask what they offer in terms of training and onboarding. VetSnap sponsored a 3 hour RACE approved CE course on controlled drugs, with plans for more educational content and course events in the near future. VetSnap’s how-to videos are a wonderful resource to provide to a new hire that doesn’t have previous experience with the program, they are also good refreshers for any staff members that may be taking on a new role or more responsibility in the hospital.

Retain Staff

We know this is easier said than done. But in the long run you will save more time and money by retaining the staff you have over hiring and training new staff, even if it means compensating them more3. The cost of replacing an employee is at least 20% of that employee’s annual salary3. But that doesn’t consider certain variables such as a loss in profitability due to lower productivity and the strain your remaining staff feel during a staff shortage. Aside from a strong onboarding process, supporting individual career goals and providing fair compensation and benefits are vital in retaining employees. Ensure you are compensating fairly in your area by looking into pay statistics for your state or county Consider a monthly production based or profit-sharing bonus system for your support staff. This can help engage your staff and reward them for those especially busy and stressful months. And lastly, foster your employees’ passions. Help them create a development plan that is personalized to those passions, ensuring they feel valuable and integral to the business.




  1. Are we in a veterinary workforce crisis? Matthew Salois, PhD, JAVMA News, August 2021

  2. The True Cost of a Bad Hire, Madeline Laurano, The Brandon Hall Group, August 2015

  3. Compensation Sense: Recruiting or Retaining Workers – Which is Better? Cassandra Faurote, Total Rewards Solutions, January 2020