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3 Reasons Great Vet Techs Quit (and How You Can Keep Yours)

Updated: Feb 10

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.

Solution: Delegate.

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.

Our Advice on Reasons Great Vet Techs Quit in 2024

What common problems lead to high turnover rates among vet techs in veterinary practices?

Common problems leading to high turnover rates among vet techs in veterinary practices include being overworked and undervalued, underutilizing their skills, and needing more feedback on their performance. When vet techs feel overwhelmed with an unbalanced workload without proper recognition, or when their skills are not fully utilized, and their input is not sought or valued, it significantly impacts their job satisfaction, leading them to seek employment elsewhere where they feel more appreciated and effectively utilized.

What are effective ways to recognize and manage an unbalanced workload among vet techs?

Effective ways to recognize and manage an unbalanced workload among vet techs include regularly reviewing task assignments to ensure equitable distribution, implementing a system for vet techs to provide feedback on their workload, and fostering open communication for expressing concerns. Additionally, publicly and privately recognizing and appreciating their hard work helps boost morale. Training staff to perform a variety of tasks can also help redistribute workload more evenly, ensuring no one team member becomes overwhelmed.

Why is underutilizing vet techs' skills a reason they leave a practice?

Underutilizing vet techs' skills is a significant reason for them leaving practice because it leads to job dissatisfaction and stagnation. Vet techs, highly trained and skilled professionals, seek opportunities to apply their abilities and contribute meaningfully and fully to patient care. When their skills are not adequately utilized, it diminishes their sense of value and professional growth, prompting them to seek employment elsewhere where they can fully engage and grow in their roles.

How can veterinary practices prevent vet tech turnover and improve client satisfaction?

To prevent vet tech turnover and improve client satisfaction, veterinary practices should ensure fair work distribution, recognize and value staff contributions, and fully utilize vet techs' skills. Providing ongoing education, career development opportunities, and competitive compensation fosters a supportive work environment. Implementing regular feedback mechanisms also helps address concerns promptly. By creating a positive workplace culture that values and invests in its staff, practices retain their vet techs and enhance the overall client experience.

Why is it crucial for veterinary practices to avoid giving vet techs reasons to leave?

Veterinary practices must avoid giving vet techs reasons to leave because high turnover disrupts continuity of care, affects team morale, and increases operational costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new staff. Retaining skilled vet techs ensures consistent, high-quality patient care, maintains a stable and experienced workforce, and enhances client satisfaction. Ultimately, it contributes to the overall success and reputation of the practice, fostering a positive work environment and sustaining profitability.

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