For all the ways in which veterinarians and veterinary teams are unique, our workplaces are in many ways just like any other. While we may not have Human Resources departments, or even a person in charge of human resources, we have employee teams with human needs.
Common wisdom tells us that keeping team members happy will keep them in place longer in our businesses. That can yield enormous rewards in terms of lower turnover, reduced sick time and increased productivity. A survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association in conjunction with its 2016 State of the Industry report found that workplace culture and relationships may have significant impact on key business metrics at veterinary clinics. Workplace culture can directly affect business success and contribute to better patient care.
Fortunately, there are measures you can take to improve your staff’s satisfaction, whether you work in a veterinary clinic or hospital, a production facility or research lab, an office or university, or another kind of work environment. The following resource toolkits are available free of charge to all AVMA members to help you improve the culture in your workplace, increase staff satisfaction and wellbeing, and ultimately build a stronger and more successful team.
- New hire training: Connect with new hires as soon as they join your team. This toolkit walks you through the steps of building a training and onboarding program for new staff, and includes checklist templates to ensure you perform key tasks before a new employee arrives, on their first day, and at the six-month or one-year mark. (Also available as a customizable Word document)
- Employee performance feedback: Providing effective feedback to employees is essential. Get tools to implement a simple but complete feedback system that incorporates best practices – including sample forms for employee reviews and self-evaluations, communication tips, and "do’s and don’ts" for formal feedback sessions. (Also available as a customizable Word document)
- Effective team meetings: Team meetings are essential to share information and enable collaboration, and they can be powerful tools to build and maintain a healthy workplace. But they require planning and careful attention. This step-by-step toolkit covers meeting planning, execution and follow-up, and includes a meeting preparation checklist and sample agenda template. (Also available as a customizable Word document)
- Team-building activities: Effective, cohesive teams don't necessarily happen on their own; great leaders can help them develop. Here are ideas to help you add team-building activities to your workplace, both in day-to-day interactions and in team retreats and meetings. Engage your team to grow together, overcome challenges, build camaraderie, and have fun.
This practice management resource was developed through a partnership with the AVMA Future Leaders Program, funded by Zoetis Animal Health.