5 Simple Ways to Appreciate your Team

They say that employees who feel truly valued by their work are more productive, loyal and happy. This may be especially true for veterinary clinics, where workplace stress can be a significant issue. 

Being the kind of leader who shows appreciation to their team can make a big difference to the wellbeing and retention of your staff – but when you’re already running a clinic, how do you find the space to show that you care? You keep it simple, of course! And oftentimes, that’s all you really need. 

Whether your vet clinic is big or small, we’ve put together some ideas for simple ways to appreciate your team members, so you can start reaping the benefits and seeing the difference in your team. 


Say it

Don’t keep it to yourself when your team members do a good job – tell them!

It can’t really be that simple, can it? Of course, this isn’t the ‘be-all and end-all’ of showing appreciation, but the truth is that telling someone in plain terms that you appreciate their hard work can be extremely meaningful, especially during stressful times.

Now, a lot of us tend to brush off empty compliments, so be specific about exactly what they’ve been doing well and show that you’ve noticed their achievements. If you can’t say it in person, even a thoughtful email or WhatsApp message can reassure someone that their work is being recognised. 


Offer benefits

The most obvious suggestion here is to ensure that your vets, nurses and other team members are being compensated fairly, but there are other easy ways to boost morale that don’t require paying out. 

Take a look at your current schedule and perhaps consider if a slight rearrangement may benefit workers. Are there some who wish they could swap shifts with their colleagues? Are there opportunities to work from home or go on the road? Could you have longer days but shorter weeks, or vice-versa? Assessing where you can be flexible and asking your team for their input could go a long way. 

Remember to tell them that you’re trying to be flexible in recognition of their great work.


Mobility and upskilling

Even if it’s our dream job, no one wants to feel like they’re stuck in one spot forever. Consider providing opportunities for advancement or giving time off for additional learning wherever possible. For example, do you have a vet assistant who wants to develop their role into something bigger, an admin looking to grow, or a technician who’s ready to specialise in one particular field? 

By providing a clear path forward for your staff, you can not only increase your number of internal hires (which is likely to boost clinic loyalty), but you’ll also have highly-qualified people who can then train up your new hires. Better yet, helping your team ‘level up’ could open new avenues of business – especially when it comes to specialty care. 

The flip side to this is managing poor performance effectively. The poor performance of an individual can negatively impact upon the performance and motivation of the entire team. It can be tricky to manage poor performance, but it’s important to do so for their sake and for the rest of your team.


Celebrate achievements and anniversaries

This can be as simple as wishing your team members a happy birthday and buying a cake to share, or going out for a team lunch when someone reaches a milestone. 

Of course, when your clinic is extremely busy then just taking a few minutes to say something nice or giving a gift card can still mean a lot, and it shows that you haven’t forgotten the little things.

Whatever you do, the celebration doesn’t have to be big; it just needs to show that there’s thought and heart behind it. 


Splash out a little

Then again, if you want to do something big, you absolutely can. Organising the odd team event can not only be incredibly therapeutic after an intense period, but it also allows for team bonding outside of the work environment. 

Furthermore, there are often free or low-cost events available in many areas, such as open mic nights at local bars, theatre shows or even escape rooms!

If you can’t make it out of the clinic, try something simple like coffee or sweets after a particularly grueling day; even if it’s not a special occasion. This shows that you’re aware of how hard everyone is working. 


What are some of your best tips for showing appreciation to the team? We’d love to hear them.

Should Vets Join the Metaverse?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the hype about the ‘metaverse’ and how it’s supposedly going to be the biggest thing since smartphones, or maybe even the internet itself.

Breathless news articles exclaim that companies are flocking to the metaverse en-masse, eager to stake out a claim to (supposedly) valuable and scarce virtual real-estate. The metaverse gold rush is analogous to how companies flocked to the web in the late 1990s, we’re told, where companies that were late missed out on valuable ‘.com’ addresses.

The billions being invested into the metaverse by tech titans such as Meta, Alphabet/Google and Microsoft is proof that the metaverse will be huge, according to most media reports, so you’d better get on to the metaverse or you’re going to miss out!


What does this mean for vet clinics?

Should you have FOMO about establishing a presence on the metaverse in case you miss out?

In short, no you shouldn’t.

The metaverse is a dud. It’s a non-starter. You’re not missing out on being there now and you’re very unlikely to miss out if you’re not on the metaverse in future.


What is the metaverse?

If you’re unsure of what the metaverse is, you’re not alone. Many studies show that less than 20% of 18 – 60 year-olds claim to understand what the metaverse is, despite Mark Zuckerberg trying (increasingly desperately) to convince us how important it’s going to be to us all.

The metaverse is a virtual world similar in nature to the world wide web, but one that’s navigated in virtual reality (VR). At minimum to interact with the metaverse you’d need to don a VR headset and that’s where things quickly start to fall apart.


Why it isn’t worth the investment

The metaverse is a dud because most of us don’t have a VR headset and, more importantly, very few of us are ever going to want to buy one.

Computers, then smartphones, were wildly successful because they are usable within the world that we occupy. Computers have become increasingly mobile, going from the desktop, to the laptop, to the tablet then the smartphone. As they’ve done so they’ve become increasingly indispensable to most of us. If you really want to scare someone at Halloween tell them they’ve left home without their mobile and watch their reaction.

VR, by contrast, doesn’t fit within our world. To use VR (and, by extension, to enter the metaverse) requires us to leave our world and to enter a completely different and virtual one. It requires us to be completely cut off and disconnected from the goings on around us. One of the primary functions of VR headsets is to shut out the sights and sounds of the real world so we can become totally immersed in the virtual one displayed on its tiny little screens.

While this can be great for immersive functions, such as playing games or watching movies, it’s downright awful for just about everything else.

Wearing a VR headset in public is near impossible. Not if you value life and limb, at least. Although I could wear one at my desk or at home, doing so renders me completely disconnected from those around me. The benefits of wearing the VR headset and entering the metaverse simply don’t outweigh the disadvantages of being disconnected from the real world around me.

At Panacea, we’re strong advocates for telemedicine and we believe that the number of vets providing remote services will continue to grow rapidly over the coming years. We don’t believe that VR will play much of a role in this, however, and the metaverse will hardly feature.

We’d call the metaverse a fad, but it doesn’t even qualify as that. For it to be a fad there has to be a period of intense interest from at least a subset of the community. Unfortunately for Mark Zuckerberg the metaverse has already started fading into obscurity without many of us even giving it a go.