5 best practices of resource management in veterinary practices
Good resource management in veterinary practices is crucial for the organization’s profitability, quality of care, and staff retention. When we talk about resources in vet practices, the most significant challenge today is human capital.
Covid-19 exposed the veterinary workforce crisis and pushed practice managers to look for better and more creative ways to recruit and retain vets and technicians.
Let’s look at some of the best human resource management practices you can implement in your veterinary clinic to enjoy increased efficiency.
1. Offer flexible and temporary arrangements
Similar to the deficit of general healthcare staff, veterinary professionals are also becoming more and more difficult to find. This labor shortage of vet professionals became an even more significant issue during Covid-19. So, how can you fight this shortage?
One way to attract more top talents and improve your recruitment efforts is to consider offering flexible work schedules, temporary arrangements, or part-time work. Due to the nature of the vet profession, remote working or telecommuting might not be an option. However, you can provide flexibility in terms of working hours, split shifts, or even temp jobs.
Ever since the pandemic started, people have realized the importance of a good work-life balance. As a result, many have learned that they need the flexibility to avoid burnout, especially in veterinary professions.
2. Leverage technology for staff scheduling
Veterinary practice managers or owners need to find a balance between having staff coverage at all times and giving their employees time to rest and fill their batteries. This balance is crucial for vet practices that allow flexible schedules for their staff.
Proper shift planning became even more critical during Covid-19 since it required staff rotation to decrease the possibility of spreading the virus. This rotation was an absolute must since the employees’ health is the number one concern of every vet practice owner or manager. On top of that, it’s directly related to practice shift coverage.
As a veterinary practice manager, you can use technology to develop a shift scheduling plan. With the help of different tools and apps, you can streamline and automate rotating staff without ever fearing for coverage. Your veterinary technician canceled on you last-minute? With a good shift scheduling tool, you can quickly find a replacement.
3. Ongoing training and education
The best way to increase staff effectiveness, of course, without overworking them, is to provide ongoing training and education. Investing in your staff and upgrading their knowledge will pay off triple in the long run.
For instance, the job role of certified veterinary nurses is often severely underutilized and ineffective. So, by upskilling and educating them, you can increase their efficiency and make them feel needed in your practice.
As a practice manager, it’s your job to analyze the potential of your staff versus their actual day-to-day tasks. If you see that a staff member has tons of unused strengths and skills, think of upskilling or reskilling them to fit the position you need. You’d be surprised seeing how many of your employees step up to the challenge.
4. Offer higher compensation
Vet techs are notoriously underpaid compared to their daily tasks, emotional drainage, and hours they put into the job. In fact, a big reason for the shortage of vet technicians is their low hourly wage, which isn’t proportional to the mentally taxing nature of the job.
To differentiate yourself from other practices and establish a work culture of trust and mutual respect, focus on a few quality staff members and compensate them adequately.
Underpaying many untrained employees will bring fewer benefits to your practice than overpaying a few quality staff members that work efficiently.
5. Boost your staff retention efforts
In an industry like veterinary medicine, it’s easier and more efficient to retain existing employees rather than try and recruit new ones.
But, retaining vets and technicians during Covid19 can be more challenging than usual. There’s been an increasing influx of furry patient appointments since their human companions started working from home and paid more attention to their health problems.
Additionally, adopting pets became a way for people to stay sane in quarantines, so now we have more pet owners than ever before, further increasing the importance of retaining qualified staff.
Practices and clinics with a high staff turnover rate waste a notoriously large part of their budget on recruitment efforts. Instead, we recommend boosting your retention efforts and keeping up a high employee engagement rate.
To Sum Up
When managing human resources, vet practice owners need to consider this shortage of professionals and the emotional toll that a job in veterinary medicine leaves on a person and build a supportive company culture.
Additionally, practice managers have to examine their current workload and take into account the patient flow. Dealing with the influx of new clients during this shortage can be challenging without a proper strategy.
Hopefully, these five best human resource management practices in vet clinics will help you bridge the difficulties and challenges brought by the pandemic. Anticipating changes and implementing the above tips to create a well-defined strategy is the only way to keep your vet practice profitable and your staff happy.
Derek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on Healthcare, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.
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