How to Define and Create a Great Work Culture in Your Veterinary Practice
Workplace culture is the essence of your business. It’s what makes your business unique, and is the culmination of your businesses values, traditions, and beliefs. It is something that can be defined and built upon – or left to run wild. It can keep and attract talent or chase it away. It can even help your business grow.
Within every workplace culture there are two sub-cultures: organizational culture and employee culture. Organizational culture reflects how you want your practice to run. That’s what I’m going to focus on today. Employee culture reflects the value you place on your employees, and the impact this has on your clients. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post.
Image from https://fortcarolineanimalclinic.com/
Organizational culture plays a big role in creating an overall theme for your veterinary practice
|Culture is defined by language, policy and procedure, stories and legends, and your day-to-day work practices. Click To Tweet In my clinic, we define our culture with one word: family. We treat our staff like family (sometimes too much so) and our clients like family, too.|
We also try to incorporate the notion of family into our advertising and marketing strategies. For example, “Welcome to the Fort Caroline Animal Clinic Family” is one of the headers in our welcome letter, while “Thanks for being a part of the FCAC Family” is a common sign-off we use. Furthermore, our logo is a tree, which is often a symbol for extended family.
Four steps to defining a culture for your vet practice
Define your mission and purpose
Defining your mission and purpose is an important first step in figuring out the cultural atmosphere that you wish to cultivate. Think of the last time that you worked (or visited) someplace where there was excitement in the air, where anything was possible, and everything was done to provide a positive customer experience – a place where everyone was headed in the same direction. This place was most likely a successful and profitable business with a defined mission. Your clinic can be the same way.
Define your company culture in five words
If you had to describe your workplace culture in five words or less, what words would you choose? Are you driven, dedicated or innovative. How about friendly or fun? Transparent, involved, empathetic? Throw a bunch of traits out there for consideration and see which ones stick. Then ask your staff what they think of your shortlist. You may even want to take a vote to select the most accurate descriptors of your clinic’s culture from your entire team’s point of view.
Define your core values and infuse them into your day-to-day practice
Once you’ve defined your mission and found the traits that best reflect your culture, look for ways to showcase these in your everyday practices. If you stand for friendly, make sure everyone wears a smile. If you stand for transparency, make sure your entire staff is comfortable with price communication.
Empower your employees to act upon your values and culture
Empower your employees to act upon the values that you have created. Click To Tweet Invite them to offer suggestions on how they’d like to bring your mission to life, and put some of their ideas to the test. In the spirit of a happy workplace, be sure to reward those whose ideas help you create the culture you aspire to.
Coming soon: A more intimate look at workplace culture
|In this post, we explored defining your workplace culture within the clinic itself. In my next post, we’ll explore people: hiring, training and developing employees to fit the culture you’ve created. Until then, check out this post about managing multi-generational employees. Happiness is fundamental to every workplace culture and Brandon Hess explores ways to achieve that. Among them, Vet Success’ team-boosting Forward-Booking Staff Meeting in a Box|