Types of Veterinary PracticesJune 2, 2023
Building Workplace Culture in Your Vet Practice
When you think about your workplace culture, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Friendly, cooperative, honest? If these are some of the adjectives you would use to describe your vet practice, you’re on the right track.
Fostering a positive workplace culture is challenging. If your veterinary practice culture is still a work in progress, we have some tips for developing an atmosphere that promotes teamwork and employee wellness.
Develop Your Core Values
Developing core values for a small organization involves a thoughtful and inclusive process that aligns with the organization’s mission, vision, and culture. Forget those boilerplate statements that say nothing about the real reasons for starting a vet practice. Instead, as a vet practice owner or manager, it’s important to bring your entire team into the discussion.
Here are some steps to help you develop your veterinary practice core values:
- Define your purpose. Clarify the mission and vision of your organization. How does your vet practice aim to make a difference?
- Involve all team members. Engage your employees and key stakeholders to ensure inclusivity and a diversity of ideas.
- Assess your existing culture and values. Identify the positive aspects that you want to reinforce and the areas for improvement.
- Brainstorm core values. Encourage participants to share their ideas freely without judgment. Aim for a comprehensive list of values that are meaningful to your practice.
- Prioritize and refine. Review the list of potential core values and narrow it down to the most important ones (usually 3-5).
- Define each core value. For each selected core value, define what it means in the context of your organization through clear and concise statements.
- Communicate clearly. Explain why specific values were chosen, how they align with the practice’s mission, and how they will impact the work environment.
- Revisit and refine. Core values should be periodically revisited to ensure their relevance and effectiveness. As your organization grows and evolves, you may need to refine or add new values.
Remember, developing your vet practice’s core values is an ongoing process, and it requires commitment from all team members. By embedding the core values into your practice’s culture, you can create a shared sense of purpose and help guide actions and decisions.
Build Trust and Transparency
Transparency with your staff is imperative — you’re showing team members that you trust them and value their commitment to the practice. You are all working at the same place and you all want the same thing – to succeed.
Here are some key components for promoting transparency:
- Lead by example
- Establish clear and open lines of communication
- Encourage feedback and input
- Embrace constructive feedback
- Foster collaboration and teamwork
- Recognize and appreciate contributions
- Encourage learning and development at every level of your practice
- Encourage open discussions, active listening, and constructive problem-solving.
Remember, building a culture of transparency and trust takes time and consistent effort. By fostering an environment where open communication and trust are valued, you can create a positive workplace culture that drives success and employee satisfaction.
Empower Your Staff
From regular check-ins to resolving conflicts, being there for your teammates shows them that you’re invested and that you care. Of course, as a vet practice owner or manager, your most important task is to keep the business running, but at the same time, your business is made up of your employees. And keeping your employees happy and satisfied is essential.
A good work environment will rub off on your clients as well – you know from personal experience that it’s much more enjoyable to bring your business somewhere where people are friendly and welcoming.
No matter your role – whether you are a practice owner or a vet assistant – lead by your example. Managers/owners need to start the process of reimagining the culture, but it takes the whole team to make the change. It boils down to everybody’s willingness to embrace the new culture and live by it.
Finally, in addition to the tips we’ve provided, we encourage you to check out The American Animal Hospital Association’s guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing. This is an excellent resource to help you get started on building a positive and healthy workplace culture.
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Read more about veterinary practice ownership:
- 5 Tips to Remember When Buying Vet Practice
- Starting Your Practice: Different Types of Veterinary Jobs to Know
- 10 Marketing Ideas for Your Veterinary Practice
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