Is your veterinarian practice struggling with staff retention? If not, you may want to be prepared if it comes up.
Data from the 2022 State of Veterinary Staffing report shows that 45% of vet staff have considered switching career paths, (to read more findings on the state of veterinary staffing, read our full ebook here). You know better than anyone that the veterinary profession can be thankless, so you need to put in the effort to show your veterinary staff appreciation for their hard work and commitment to pet care. These ideas are a great place to get started and boost staff morale.
Recognize Staff Accomplishments & Show Gratitude
When was the last time you shared how much you appreciate your veterinary professionals? Taking the time to recognize your staff’s achievements, both publicly and privately, can go a long way toward improving retention. You can write notes to the staff or pull them aside to thank them for the way they handled a particularly tough case.
Showing appreciation toward your staff may also include celebrating them throughout the year with special holidays dedicated to vet appreciation. For example, National Veterinarian Appreciation Week is the third week of October each year, while the World Veterinary Association celebrates World Veterinary Day is the last Saturday in April.
You can celebrate Vet Tech Week by:
- Having regular recognition
- Catering lunch for your veterinary technicians
- Holding raffles and giveaways
- Bringing in donuts and coffee one morning
- Inviting pet parents to share stories of when a licensed veterinary technician went above and beyond for their pet
Of course, your thankfulness shouldn’t only be obvious during Vet Technician Appreciation Week. Surprising your vet techs with free food or giveaways throughout the year can solidify your appreciation for them, even when you don’t have the motivation of a national holiday.
Create a Positive Work Environment
Your veterinary team likely won’t feel very appreciated walking into a chaotic, stressful, negative work environment each day. While you can’t always control the chaos in a busy veterinary clinic, you can take measures to foster a positive environment whenever possible.
- Risk-taking support
You may want to send out a survey inviting your veterinary technicians and administrative staff to rate your veterinary clinic for each of these factors. Then, make changes to bring more positivity to your veterinary practice. Happier staff means more positive interactions with clients.
Listen to Staff Concerns
The 2022 State of Veterinary Staffing report found that the 2019-2029 job outlook for vet techs rose to 16% during the pandemic. These professionals are in high demand, which means that if the vet techs at your practice are dissatisfied for any reason, they can find a job at another practice fairly quickly.
Instead of brushing off concerns from your vet techs in the interest of time, create space for your team members to share struggles, worries, and concerns with you. The easiest way to do so is through a quarterly anonymous survey in which your staff can share any and all concerns without fear of repercussions.
Prioritizing the elements of a positive work environment listed above may encourage your veterinary technicians to approach you directly with problems or worries. Not only will this level of trust improve retention, but it will also help your practice deliver better patient care.
Invest in Ways to Make Their Jobs Easier
You may believe that being overworked and constantly stressed is a necessary part of being a vet. In reality, your veterinary hospital can take measures to streamline tasks without lowering your patient load or profitability. Investing in the solutions and technology to reduce your staff members’ workload can improve their satisfaction and retention.
Many veterinary practices across the U.S. use Weave Vet Software to manage appointments, improve communication with pet owners, streamline billing, and eliminate many other rote tasks. A case study found that a Florida vet practice saved at least two hours a day on phone calls and reduced missed calls by 20+ per day after implementing Weave, (read the full case study here).
With Weave, your administrative staff and veterinary technicians can spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time interacting with the animals and pet owners in front of them, improving your practice’s reputation. But they can also feel less stressed and burdened coming into work each day, which may improve retention.
Provide Opportunities for Professional Development
While your veterinary technicians and administrative staff may be great at what they do, at least some of them may want to advance to higher-up positions in the future. Offering opportunities for professional development can improve your staff members’ loyalty to your vet clinic and their engagement with the world of veterinary medicine.
For example, you can provide demonstrations for your vet techs about how to express an animal’s anal gland or the proper way to use bandage scissors, then give them more control over these tasks during animal appointments. Meanwhile, you can share animal health facts with administrative staff to spark their interest in veterinary care.
Your veterinary nurses and technicians will only do so much out of the kindness of their hearts because, at the end of the day, a job is still a job. Offering monetary incentives motivates your staff to meet certain goals within your animal hospital. You can also use incentives as rewards that show appreciation just for doing their jobs well on a day-to-day basis.
Incentives can range from gift cards and cash bonuses to fun experiences and special offers, such as extra paid days off or the opportunity to pick the restaurant for a catered lunch. Be sure to vary which staff member receives these rewards — your team may become annoyed when the same person wins the incentive month after month.
Taking these veterinary staff appreciation ideas to heart and showing appreciation for your staff every day of the year — not just during Vet Tech Appreciation Week — can pay off in your employee retention rates and profitability. With Weave, you can reduce the workload for your vet staff and improve patient communications — a win/win. Request your free Weave demo today to learn more.