What You Need to Know About Retention Requests

Here’s some tips when it’s time to ask for a raise or different benefits in your veterinary career.

“Retention Requests” is usually a slick way of saying “raises and bonuses.” But that’s not entirely true. You need to determine what it takes to make you want to stay in a certain job. If you want/need to make more money, then you’re willing to ask for a raise or consider getting a new job that pays more. In order to “retain” you, the practice needs to decide if they want to honor your raise request. But there can also be other factors, such as benefits, hours, shift, position, etc. During your career in veterinary medicine, your needs and desires may change. Here are some of the requests you might want to make:


Perhaps you hired in part-time, and that was sufficient for a certain time period, but now you really need a full-time position. Does your current practice have an opening? Or do they need to know you will begin looking for a full-time position elsewhere? Always give them the opportunity to consider your request before you jump ship, unless you know you’re leaving for other reasons as well.


Back when you were in school or your kids were young, the overnight or late-day shift might have worked well. Now that your kids are older or you’ve finished school, you may want a shift that is more daytime than nighttime. Approach your practice management, and ask what may be available. An important point to make is that even if they don’t have what you need/want now, perhaps you’re willing to wait a bit if they put you first in line to be considered when an opening happens. This is sometimes called a “job bid,” and it’s simply getting first in line for openings that might be more of what you need.


Often veterinary professionals enter through the “front” door, meaning they take an opening in the front office in the hopes that they will be able to work “in the back” at some future point in their employment. This should be known from the beginning, really, but sometimes it is not shared with management. The first step is to SHARE!  They won’t know what you want unless you tell them, and again, you can submit a “job bid” to be considered when an opening in the back comes available. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the position. It simply means that they will be sure to ask you to participate in the hiring process when they open that position to the general public or the rest of the staff.


When we’re young and carefree, there are a lot of benefits we don’t feel are important, such as insurance and retirement options. At that age, we are more interested in our employee pet discount and paid vacations. As we age and our lives start morphing, it’s time to look at the benefits offered and determine if we want a change. Keep in mind that there are benefits that are paid for us by the practice, but there may also be benefits made available that we can chose to select and pay for ourselves. These options are important, too.


As mentioned before, we need to consider the entire package, both benefits offered and available, and the bottom-line hourly or annual wage or salary. This represents our “total compensation” and is really an indicator of how much of an investment the company is making on our behalf. This includes the employee pet discount, the uniform allowance, C.E. allowance, paid time off, etc. If based on this total compensation, you feel you deserve more in wages, then it’s time to prove that you are worth more! Long gone are the days when we got a raise just for surviving another year with our boss! Instead, we should schedule a conversation with our boss where we reflect on all the grand things we did in the last year or so: people we trained, ideas we suggested that were implemented, measures we took that saved the practice money, promotions we accomplished and earned the practice more money, continuing education we attended to increase our knowledge and skills, etc. If you can’t find this proof, then perhaps you should have a conversation with your boss where you ask, “what can I do to earn a raise?”

Next time, we’ll take a look at how a job can challenge you, regardless of where you work, and what you can do to ensure that you stay the best fit for a job and a career.

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