5 Ways to Promote A Healthier Veterinary Practice Culture – and Why

by Wendy Jureski / February 8, 2018

In my last post, How to Define and Create a Great Work Culture in Your Veterinary Practice, I explored mission statements, core values and other organizational factors that can help you create the culture you want. Now, it’s time to get personal and take a look at how staffing and culture go hand in hand.

There’s nothing better than working for a company with a great culture. It took me 15 years of searching to find the right clinic; one that supported personal and professional growth and cared for staff as much as they cared about revenue. It’s not an easy thing to come by, especially today.

When it comes to routine and preventive care, pet owners have more options than ever.

Larger hospitals, publicly-sponsored clinics, shelters and retailers are all giving veterinary practices a run for their money. Subsequently, it’s not uncommon to find practice managers and owners so focused on their bottom line that they forget about the needs of their employees.

But here’s the thing: if you let your work culture slide, toxicity will seep in. Click To Tweet Your support staff will go home feeling bruised and broken at the end of every day. And they’ll wake up dreading their return to work. They won’t deliver their best, and your clients will feel it. Bottom line: a healthy, happy work environment is as good for your employees as it is for your bottom line.

Five ways to cultivate a healthy, happy and productive practice culture

Hire for professional skill-set and personal fit

Hire not only for professional skill-set but also for personal fit. Click To Tweet Proficiency in anesthesia monitoring and catheter placement are important of course, but so are soft skills like diplomacy and the willingness to be a true team player.

 

Employees need to know the values your company and see them in action consistently

Ensure your employees not only know the values your company believes in, but see them in action consistently – from the top down. If your practice values transparency and communication, everybody – practice owners, doctors, managers, and support staff – need to walk the talk.

 

Reward positive behaviors in your clinic that represent your values

Keep in mind that culture is learned, so make a point of rewarding positive behaviors in your clinic that represent your values. Click To Tweet

 

Maintain zero tolerance around negative influences

Maintain zero tolerance around negative influences, such as gossip. It’s easy to let such behaviors go. Especially when the ‘negative influencer’ is someone who is, on all other accounts, a prize employee. But doing so would be a show of favoritism, one that other staff will catch on to, and favoritism drains employee morale.

 

Keep your employees engaged in the success of your practice

Keep your employees engaged in the success of your practice for two reasons: 1) Good ideas can come from anyone. If you pigeon-hole your staff into their assigned roles and don’t welcome their contribution outside of these roles, you may miss out on valuable contributions. 2) Employees who simply go to work, do as they’re told, go home, and repeat the next day won’t feel valued by their employers and eventually won’t value themselves.

 

Four reasons to promote a thriving culture for your veterinary practice

Lower turnover

Lower turnover:

A study1 found that the likelihood of turnover at an organization with a great company culture is 13.9%, compared to 48.4% at a company with a poor or no company culture.

 

Greater productivity

Greater productivity:

Happy employees are more likely to solve difficult problems faster(2). Click To Tweet

 

Better attendance

Better attendance:

An estimated 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job3.

 

Healthier Employees

Healthier employees:

A study conducted among more than 3,000 employees showed a link between employee perception of management and heart disease. Stress-producing bosses are literally bad for the heart4!

 

In summary, fostering a healthy workplace culture engages employees and makes them feel valued. This leads to them placing greater value on their role within your clinic or hospital. This, in turn promotes a more successful business. It’s a win-win. Interested in ways you can promote a team-spirited culture while directly supporting your bottom-line? Check out this Forward-Booking Staff Meeting in a Box. It includes a game – yes, a game – that will help you engage your entire team in lowering your lapsed patient rates.

 


Wendy Jureski CCFE has worked in veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. She is the business manager at a small veterinary practice in Jacksonville. You can reach Wendy at wjureski@gmail.com.

 

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