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.
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.
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.