Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Losing Staff

    Posted 24 days ago
    I know that we are all experiencing the effects of staff shortages due to staff being out in covid quarantine. Is anyone experiencing staff resignations since the job market is wide open right now. I am dealing with this one of my front desk staff members is resigning and it will be a tough loss for us. One of the reasons she is resigning is because she has underlying health issues and our insurance does not cover her treatments.   I think this is very tough because our insurance carrier is not something that I can change and employees have to do what they have to do to take care of themselves. 

     Has anyone recently experienced losing good staff members for things that are out of your control? How did you handle it? Are there things that you feel you could have done differently?  I look forward to hearing from you all.
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    Marissa Reid
    Clinic Director
    LifeLine Animal Project

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    Access To Care Specialist
    Clinic Management Specialist
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  • 2.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 23 days ago
    We haven't had this problem, but several of our rescue partners in the area have. They are losing medical and support staff because bigger clinics can offer more in pay and benefits, which nonprofits, no matter the size, simply can't compete with. The trickle down is that rescues like mine can't get the regular low-cost medical services that we were pre-pandemic. It's hard, but you're right in saying people have to do what is best for them right now.

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    Mike Ezzo
    Resilient Hearts
    Executive Director
    IG: @ResilientHeartsSanctuary
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  • 3.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 23 days ago
    Michael,

     Thank you so much for your response.   Yes you are so right the non profit world just cannot compete with the bigger clinics. They are able to pay close to double what non profits can offer.  Low cost vet services are needed for rescues and it gets difficult for us to provide those services because we do not have the staff. I hope that things get better and you can get back to receiving those low cost medical services you need for your rescue.

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    Marissa Reid
    Clinic Director
    LifeLine Animal Project

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    Access To Care Specialist
    Clinic Management Specialist
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  • 4.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 22 days ago
    I'd love foundations like Maddie's to fund veterinary scholarships on the condition that 5 years will be spend working for an animal welfare non-profit or municipal shelter.

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    Natalia Lebedeva
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  • 5.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 19 days ago

    Marissa,
    The struggle is real! I left private practice because I was unhappy and wanted to return to shelter work. The moment I walked into my current shelter, I fell in love with veterinary medicine all over again. Unfortunately, it pays less and makes me question how long I can stay. I don't want to leave, I love the people I work with, and I love taking care of my community in this way. I'm a strong leader within my organization and have a list of programs and ideas I want to see through to fruition. I've been able to pick up some single day jobs elsewhere but it's exhausting. I'm fortunate to have an ED that allows me to have candid conversations about this, but it remains a constant source of concern because I've recently had job offers that are $30-50k more than I'm currently bringing home. We've discussed some solutions like periodic bonuses when finances allow, but I'm not sure it's a realistic expectation. Other creative solutions involve adjusting my schedule so I can make extra money by picking up shifts in other clinics.

    Regarding staff that may have health care/insurance concerns, encourage them to look into Direct Primary Care options (https://www.dpcare.org).  It provides high quality medicine without the third party headache of dealing with an insurance company. That may be of some small help.
    These are good conversations to be having right now.



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    Sarah Callahan
    Humane Educational Society
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  • 6.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 7 days ago
    Marissa, 

    This is such an important question, especially right now!  We have certainly seen this in our organization, primarily with members of our medical and administrative teams.

    Our medical team members are leaving for positions that offer more of a work life balance, in that they are not working weekends, holidays, or serving as part of an on-call rotation.  The salary for our technician/assistant positions is competitive, a little less so for our veterinarians given the current market, but with a 365 day a year operation and emergency medical call back we are seeing some challenges in retention.

    Our administrative team members are turning over due to promotional opportunities within the city system.  We are a very busy operation and do a great deal of purchasing, data entry, auditing, etc. which makes the individuals who have spent time here and learned these skills very desirable for other positions across the city that use the same procurement or other finance systems.  I am always proud of the team members that are growing within their chosen area of focus, but the continual retraining does create some hardships. 

    As Michael said, people have to do what is best for the right now, but I think it is important that we as the employers are doing everything we can to remain competitive.   

    I would love to hear what others have done to help address the work/life balance challenges that our industry faces as well as any success agencies have had in reclassification/retention incentive efforts!

    Thanks again for starting the conversation Marissa!

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    Josh Fisher
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control
    704-336-7552
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  • 7.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 7 days ago
    @Josh Fisher,


        Staffing has been a huge challenege for me.  One of the things that I feel I do differently that may seem very small but effective is  I talk to my team. I find out what they love about this job and what they do not like very much. I ask them if they could change one thing what would it be and I also ask what would be something that would make them leave or stay. One of the biggest things that I noticed during those conversations was that a lot of my team wanted a pay increase and said that they would consider leaving because of a huge pay raise but decided to stay because of the cuture that  I have worked so hard to build.  I have been able to give out some small raises but the atmosphere, safety and culture that we have cultivated is what is helping me keep the team that I have.

     I encourage everyone to talk to your staff and engage with them. Find out if there are things that you can do differently to help retain the staff that you already have. I know that there are going to be a lot of times that there is nothing that we can do to stop people from quitting and this is a ​huge challenge for us worldwide, however it is imperative that staff members feel valued.​

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    Marissa Reid
    Clinic Director
    LifeLine Animal Project

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    Access To Care Specialist
    Clinic Management Specialist
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  • 8.  RE: Losing Staff

    Posted 4 days ago
    My biggest challenge is losing part-time animal care staff to full-time positions, sometimes before they even start! We get people in process to be hired by the city, and then before their first day they say they have found a full-time spot that is higher paying. My full-time complement is set by city council one a year, so there is no way for me to make room for them here, and I can't blame them for going to a full-time job with benefits.




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    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services
    www.memphisanimalservices.com

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist
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