Turnover in the veterinary industry can be incredibly costly. Not only do you have the time-consuming task of having to find, recruit, onboard and train new team members, but the constant revolving door can do a number of the satisfaction of your clients as well, which can impact profits. Thankfully there are certain common issues that can indicate the likelihood of losing your good vet techs. Here’s what they are, and how you can avoid them in your own practice.
Problem: They are overworked and undervalued.
Whether it’s because you’re short staffed or you simply trust one vet tech over the others (and therefore tend to divvy out an unbalanced workload), nobody enjoys feeling as if they’re being way overworked. Worse yet, if you’re piling on the work and failing to recognize the extra effort your team is making, you might as well usher them out the door into the waiting arms of your competitors.
Solution: Pay attention.
Be mindful of how you divvy up the workload in your clinic. If you’re short staffed, make sure everyone is aware of the situation and that you’re working to correct it. If you’ve got one employee who is carrying more weight than everyone else, step in and remedy the situation. And always tell your staff when they’re doing a great job. A pat on the back can go a long way toward appeasing your team until you can get everything a little more balanced and equitable.
Problem: They are underutilized.
On the opposite side of the coin, vet techs often quit because they feel as though their skills are being underutilized. This often occurs when the head veterinarian either isn’t comfortable delegating or is simply used to handling the majority of the clinical tasks for the practice. When you’ve got a good employee who is eager to apply their skills and make an impact, but you’re not effectively tapping into that resource, you could easily find yourself having to fill additional openings due to turnover.
More specifically, delegate higher-level tasks. Your veterinary technicians are highly educated, well-skilled and capable of taking on challenging work. By delegating these tasks to your qualified team members, not only will you provide them with the meaningful work they desire, but you’ll have more time to tend to the other important business-building duties of your practice. And, of course, make sure you are compensating your vet techs well. Otherwise it won’t matter that you’re willing to utilize their skills, because they’ll be taking those skills elsewhere.
Problem: They are not being given or asked for feedback.
Providing your vet techs with ongoing feedback about how they’re performing and what impact they are making on the practice as a whole is essential to keeping your team happy and engaged. Every employee should be told regularly what he or she is doing well and which areas could use improvement (followed up with appropriate coaching or training, of course). Likewise, your employees should feel as though they are a contributing member of the practice and that their opinions matter.
Solution: Make 360° feedback a central part of your practice culture.
Back-and-forth feedback is vital to ensuring that your practice is running smoothly and every team member – including management – is performing at their best. Don’t wait until the end of the year to tell your employees how they’re doing. Give positive and constructive feedback freely and regularly. And remember to encourage your employees to share their thoughts, ideas and suggestions with you. This will enable everyone to take part in driving the practice toward its goals and vision.
Your practice is only going to be as successful as the people you have driving the train. The three main issues above demonstrate some of the biggest reasons good employees quit and what you can do to avoid that in your own clinic. If you want your talented vet techs to stay on for the long haul, it’s simple. Don’t give them reasons to want to leave. As a result, you’ll end up with lower turnover which will lead to greater client satisfaction and increase profits overall.