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Recruitment 2021: inclusion, brand, and experience

17 Mar 2021 | Richard Casey


#GoodWorkplaces recruit skilled team members in a transparent and objective manner. President of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), Richard Casey, explains why it’s time to change your approach to recruitment.

Recruitment 2021: inclusion, brand, and experience Image

We’ve all been there. The moment when a colleague hands in their notice and you’re filled with dread.  You’re got to go through the whole recruitment thing again…

The struggle to recruit vets and vet nurses in the UK is well-known but we aren’t alone. Many businesses and not-for-profits are experiencing the same problem. Times have changed and so have employee expectations. It’s time to change our approach to recruitment!

Generational divide?

2020 was not just the year of COVID-19. It was also the year when, for the first time, half the global workforce became millennial or younger[1]. This is more significant than you may think. Generational differences impact family and social life. They also impact life in the workplace but in a surprising way. A paper by HBR found that it’s not the actual differences between workplace generations that matter, but rather our beliefs that these differences exist. If you’ve an older workforce and are interviewing a younger candidate, don’t just assume they won’t fit in. Instead, explore the goals you share because this can help to banish ‘us and them’ perceptions and create a feeling of team. During the interview, highlight your practice’s vision, recent achievements and plans. Taking an interest in them personally, as well as professionally, can help you identify shared interests and goals.

Employer Brand

We all understand corporate ‘brands’ but have you heard of ‘employer brand?’ Hint: it’s not simply your practice’s logo and name!

Millennials want more than a list of working hours and benefits. They want to join organisations that contribute to society and influence change for good. So, you need to tell them!  Defining your employer brand is about communicating – continually - what you stand for.  Your practice’s heritage, people, achievements and vision. Understanding this will enable potential recruits to build a picture of what working with you might be like.

I’ve heard some say ‘employer brand isn’t relevant to our sector’ but anyone who follows the veterinary media will have seen stories, articles and letters from practices highlighting their team’s initiatives. Whether they are supporting charities, launching sustainability plans or achieving accreditations such as Investors in People, some practices appear repeatedly.  It’s because they get it. They understand that recruitment doesn’t end once a vacancy is filled. The practices which are proactive in communicating and sharing their ‘employer value proposition’, whether through social or print media, alumni events or other ways, understand that recruitment is an on-going process and they know that by doing it, they will be out in front in the race for good recruits.

Diversity & inclusion

2021 is a challenging year for practices so a motivated and productive team is a must to ensure success across all patient, profit and people bottom lines. It is proven that diverse workforces are more productive and ultimately more profitable[2]. Different characteristics, personalities, views, and experiences all contribute to a diverse workforce. However, diversity and inclusion conversations are uncomfortable for many – and that’s ok. It’s not an excuse for ignoring them though. I could write a whole blog about inclusive recruitment but my ‘in a nutshell’ advice is:

  • Familiarise yourself with RCVS’s recently launched diversity and inclusion strategy.
  • You’ll also find a range of inclusive recruitment resources on uk.
  • The VMG also has a range of resources available to help support recruitment and all other aspects of HR for its members.
  • There is one quick change you can make now: Never shortlist or interview alone. Whether we admit it or not, we all have unconscious biases and avoiding solo recruitment practices is one of the best ways to reduce this.

Finally, I can’t not mention the fact that so many of us are having to work, and recruit, from home and communicate by video calls.  You can hear my top tips for online interviews at Vet Times.  


Take a look at our #GoodWorkplaces resources and policy position


[1] This trend is also reflected in the veterinary sector



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