Staffing Up in 2023
By Mike Pownall DVM, MBA
Canadian Manager, Oculus Insights
2022 has been called the year of The Shrinking Veterinary Practice. I don’t know one practice owner who hasn’t complained about losing a veterinarian or key support staff this year.
When we meet at veterinary conferences or meetings, we lament that we cannot attract new staff while wishing more of our veterinary colleges would quickly increase enrollment.
Rarely, do we step back and accept that while we have a problem attracting people to the veterinary profession, our bigger challenge is that we have a retention problem.
If we didn’t lose people, we wouldn’t need to replace them. Consider it a somewhat preventable disease.
So how do we prevent people leaving our practices?
The answer is simple, the challenge is getting there.
We need to create a business culture that encourages high employee engagement and develops emotional commitment. Employees with these traits go the extra mile and take ownership. They are no longer a number and feel the success of the practice is their own.
How do we do this? Develop internal customer service. Our employees become our first customer. We bend over backwards to take care of our pet owner clients, and our employees should be given the same consideration.
Just like we have loyal clients that return year by year and tell their friends and family about our amazing veterinary practice that takes such great care of them and their pets, we should try to cultivate the same goodwill with our staff.
Loyal clients visit often and brag about the amazing service they receive from your practice. We should try to cultivate the same goodwill with our staff. Employees come first. Without them we don’t have a business. Without them we can’t take care of our clients and their pets.
If your staff are happy and engaged, they will go the extra mile. This sense of ownership develops loyalty, and it will take a lot for them to think of leaving.