Organizational symptoms of compassion fatigue

Is your workplace suffering from compassion fatigue? In addition to affecting individuals, compassion fatigue also can cause problems in a veterinary practice. Recognizing these symptoms can help you start down a path toward improving your work environment and the happiness and well-being of your employees.

Organizational compassion fatigue has been defined as “a toxic work environment that hinders efficiency and limits a practice's growth potential.”

Organizational symptoms of compassion fatigue include the following:

  • High rate of employee absenteeism and/or excessive workers’ compensation claims
  • Changes in co-workers’ relationships
  • Inability of teams to work well together
  • Staff members challenging or breaking company rules
  • Outbreaks of aggressive behavior among staff
  • Inability of staff to complete assignments and tasks, or to respect and meet deadlines
  • Lack of flexibility among staff members and/or strong reluctance to change
  • Negativity toward management
  • Inability of staff to believe that improvement is possible
  • Lack of a vision for the future

If you recognize these signs in your workplace, consider setting up a wellness program for your staff. You don’t need a complicated and expensive program to reap benefits and improve staff well-being. Even simple steps – like stocking healthy snacks and encouraging employees to take frequent breaks – can reap big benefits.