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

Updated: Jul 7

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 Why Great Vet Techs Quit in 2024

How do generational differences impact job satisfaction and retention rates among veterinary technicians?

Generational differences significantly impact job satisfaction and retention among veterinary technicians. Younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, often seek meaningful work, frequent feedback, and opportunities for professional growth, contrasting with older generations who may prioritize job stability and traditional benefits. Practices can enhance retention by tailoring management approaches: offering continuous learning opportunities for younger staff and recognizing loyalty and experience in older employees. Understanding and addressing these varied expectations is crucial for creating a supportive workplace that appeals across generations, thus reducing turnover and improving job satisfaction.

What impact does burnout have on vet tech turnover rates, and how can practices implement strategies to prevent it?

Burnout significantly increases turnover rates among veterinary technicians by diminishing job satisfaction and mental health. To prevent burnout, practices can implement flexible scheduling, provide regular breaks, and ensure manageable workloads. Encouraging a work-life balance and fostering a supportive team environment are essential. Practices should also offer professional development opportunities that allow vet techs to feel engaged and valued. Regular wellness programs and mental health resources can further mitigate burnout, helping retain skilled technicians and maintaining a positive workplace atmosphere.

What are the long-term career prospects for vet techs, and how can practices create clear advancement pathways?

Long-term career prospects for vet techs can be significantly enhanced by clear advancement pathways within a practice. Practices can develop structured career ladders that outline specific criteria for progression, such as additional certifications, leadership training, or specialized roles in areas like surgery, dentistry, or emergency care. Providing continuous education and training opportunities not only aids personal development but also increases job satisfaction and retention. Practices should also regularly review and adjust these pathways to align with industry standards and emerging roles, ensuring vet techs have a clear and attainable career trajectory.

How does the increasing use of technology in veterinary practices affect job satisfaction and retention of vet techs?

The increasing use of technology in veterinary practices generally boosts job satisfaction and retention among vet techs by streamlining tasks and reducing manual workload, which allows them to focus more on patient care and less on administrative duties. Technology enhances diagnostic and treatment capabilities, making the work more engaging and efficient. However, to fully reap these benefits, practices must ensure that techs are properly trained on new systems. Continuous education on technological advancements helps vet techs feel competent and valued, further increasing job satisfaction and retention.

What role does work-life balance play in vet tech retention, and how can practices address this effectively?

Work-life balance plays a crucial role in vet tech retention by reducing burnout and enhancing overall job satisfaction. Practices can effectively address work-life balance by offering flexible scheduling options, such as four-day workweeks or rotating shifts, and by enforcing policies that discourage overtime unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, providing time off for professional development and personal rejuvenation can help maintain enthusiasm and commitment to the job. Encouraging a supportive team environment where vet techs feel their personal time is respected also contributes to higher retention rates.

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