Podcast Recap: Retaining Staff Through Clinic Growth Opportunities
Veterinary Practice Culture Oct 26, 2022

Podcast Recap: Retaining Staff Through Clinic Growth Opportunities

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You’ve found the team members that keep your clinic running smoothly. Now your goal is to KEEP those individuals. But how do you do that? What opportunities for growth can you offer to ensure their interest? That’s the topic of our latest Simple, Interrupted podcast. We sat down to speak with Neda Panuska, recruiter and CVT with Blue Heron Consulting, and Paige Allen, RVT with Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. They offered their views on how to show your team appreciation and offer them the best growth opportunities.

Breaking out of the rigid job description

The veterinary field often overlooks the power of a fluid job description. People understand the tasks they do each day, but there’s a lack of what the practice expects and where the position will ultimately lead. Are there options for a raise in salary with additional skills and licensing? And what other titles are available?

Paige recommends starting from scratch and writing job descriptions for ALL your team members. Then offer levels for the positions to show the opportunities they can aspire to (i.e., CSR 1, 2, and 3; vet tech 1, 2, and 3, etc.).

As Neda says, team members want to “[know] where you’re starting, what’s expected of you, and what the future looks like as you continue to grow and expand.” She also recommends including continuing education goals, ensuring everyone understands what your practice expects from annual learning.

Creating an education-forward environment

Attendance at a conference increases job excitement, encouraging team members to return and share what they’ve learned. But do you have a program in place to support and promote CE?

  • Do you provide an annual stipend?
  • Are efforts made to send your team to conferences?
  • How do you disseminate new information to the team?
  • Is there encouragement for the development of new classes?

Courtesy of COVID, more online opportunities for CE have come about, some free of charge. And how a clinic reacts to a team member’s energy regarding continuing education can determine whether they decide to stay with a practice or move on.

“I’m a huge advocate for technicians teaching technicians,” Paige says. “I think there are some topics where it’s great to have [veterinarians] in there, but I think technicians teaching technicians is absolutely the way to go.”

And Neda likes to remind us every opportunity is a chance to improve the practice and patient care. That means delving into Fear FreeCat Friendly, or the Frank Communication programs.

Rewarding with more than production

Once you have a stable program that supports your staff’s professional and educational needs, it’s time to reward their accomplishments. As we’ve noted before, a healthy clinic retains staff happy to handle recruitment FOR you.

But production rewards such as salary increases don’t appeal to everyone. As Neda says, you need to sit down and talk with everyone to find out where they’re coming from and what appeals most to them as an individual.

Paige agrees, suggesting you look for ways to reward each person in a way that’s meaningful to that person. That could look like a gift card or an extra day off.

Reward systems are essential to keeping your staff feeling worthwhile. And it could be a CE incentive or the opportunity to build a class of their own. When staff feel acknowledged and have the chance to excel, they stay AND announce their happiness to their peers.

Listen to the full podcast episode, “Retaining Vet Staff and Providing Growth Opportunities” today!