top of page

5 Simple and Effective Ways to Boost Practice Morale

Updated: May 31

Keeping employee morale high can be a challenge in any industry, but given the emotional nature of animal health care, maximizing employee satisfaction in the veterinary field can be quite the uphill battle. Burnout and compassion fatigue are very real and often devastating issues to deal with, on top of the normal rote of daily routine.

If you’ve noticed a dip in attitude from your staff lately, or you’d just like to get a jump on cultural improvement for the coming year, here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Celebrate openly and often

Never underestimate the power of a pat on the back. Your crew works tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep clients happy and patients well. Be generous with your gratitude and recognition. There are plenty of ways to do this, from shout-outs in the daily huddle to gift cards, cash bonuses, extra time off and more.

If you’re unsure of how to best reward your team, take some time to get to know each employee on an individual level. Find out what motivates and matters most to them. Then, personalize your gestures of appreciation accordingly.

Spring for some surprises

Ever receive a card, bouquet of flowers or gift from someone “just because”? It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world. As a practice owner or practice manager, you can harness that feel-good factor within your clinic by randomly surprising your team from time to time.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything expensive or extravagant, either. Picking up donuts or bagels on the way in on a Friday, or ordering pizza for lunch one rainy Wednesday could easily be enough to brighten your staffs’ day and show them you genuinely appreciate and care about them.

Set up a formal program

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to boost engagement. And statistics have consistently proven that employees who are more engaged tend to have a higher morale overall. You can set up a contest that’s work related, such as the employee who wins the most new client referrals, or you could make it about wellness, like a weight loss or walking competition.

The prize(s) at the end could range from bragging rights to monetary rewards to charitable donations, or whatever works best for your team. Again, take some time to get input on what each employee is into and then work around that.

MMFA (Make Meetings Fun Again)

Do you have important stuff to cover in your staff meetings? Of course you do. Does that mean every moment of every get-together has to be stiff, boring and clinical? Of course NOT!

Balance out your meetings by incorporating fun, informative activities. Not only will this get your team more engaged (and remember, engaged employees = higher morale), but it’ll also make the workplace environment more enjoyable for everyone, as that happiness will naturally trickle down to your clients.

A few fun ideas for spicing up staff meetings:

  1. Guess the Breed – List common genetic conditions or features and have staff try to figure out which breed you’re showcasing.

  2. Role Play – Provide scenarios for each team member that involves someone else’s job. For instance, ask one of your vet techs to role play how they’d handle a call with an irate client. This is a great learning activity that also garners respect and appreciation because it gives employees a chance to walk in one another’s shoes.

  3. Personality Match – Ask each team member to pick an animal or breed that they feel most closely represents their own personality and explain why (or better yet – have team members choose for each other). 

  4. CE Presentation – Encourage staff members to select continuing education topics that they’re passionate about, then have them each research and present what they’ve learned to the rest of the team.

Focus on the little things

Sometimes we get so caught up in chasing after those bigger goals that we lose sight of the smaller accomplishments that are happening along the way on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this can the kiss of death in terms of morale.

Your employees are all working hard to achieve their own objectives. Be mindful of those small victories and celebrate them every chance you get. Never miss an opportunity to demonstrate how important each individual team member is and how they fit in with the big picture.

Making your employees happy for a moment might be easy enough, but keeping them satisfied for the long haul is a whole different ball game. The five tips above should provide a decent foundation upon which you can build a positive and lasting practice culture that your employees will love to be a part of.

Our Advice on Simple and Effective Ways to Boost Practice Morale in 2024

What specific metrics can be used to measure employee morale in veterinary practices?

To measure employee morale in veterinary practices, several specific metrics can be employed. Employee satisfaction surveys provide direct insights into staff sentiment and engagement levels. Monitor turnover rates, as high turnover often indicates low morale. Track absenteeism and tardiness, which can reflect disengagement or dissatisfaction. Analyze productivity levels and quality of work, as motivated employees tend to perform better. Additionally, conduct regular one-on-one meetings and exit interviews to gather qualitative data on morale. Implementing these metrics helps identify areas for improvement, ensuring a positive and productive work environment.

How can practices ensure that recognition and rewards programs are fair, equitable, and transparent?

To ensure recognition and rewards programs are fair, equitable, and transparent, practices should establish clear criteria for awards that are communicated to all employees. Implement a structured nomination and selection process involving peer reviews and management input to prevent bias. Regularly review and adjust the criteria and processes based on feedback to maintain relevance and fairness. Transparency can be enhanced by publicly acknowledging achievements and explaining the basis for each award. Additionally, gathering employee feedback on the program helps ensure it meets the diverse needs and preferences of the entire team.

What role can professional development and career advancement opportunities play in boosting employee morale?

Professional development and career advancement opportunities play a crucial role in boosting employee morale by fostering a sense of growth and progression. Providing access to continuing education, certifications, and skill-building workshops helps employees feel valued and invested in. Clear career pathways and opportunities for promotion motivate staff to excel in their roles. Regularly discussing career goals and providing support for achieving them demonstrates a commitment to employee success. These initiatives not only enhance job satisfaction and loyalty but also lead to a more skilled and dedicated workforce, benefiting the practice overall.

What best practices can be learned from other industries or sectors that have successfully built and maintained high levels of employee morale?

Best practices from other industries that have successfully built and maintained high levels of employee morale include fostering open communication, implementing regular recognition and rewards programs, and promoting work-life balance. Tech companies, for example, excel in providing flexible work schedules and remote work options, which can be adapted to veterinary practices by offering flexible hours and mental health days. Retail giants often use employee recognition programs to boost morale, which can be mirrored by regularly celebrating achievements in the clinic. Additionally, continuous professional development and clear career progression paths are essential, as seen in leading healthcare organizations.

How can practices engage and empower employees to take ownership of morale-boosting initiatives?

Practices can engage and empower employees to take ownership of morale-boosting initiatives by involving them in the planning and decision-making processes. Establish employee-led committees to brainstorm and implement activities and recognition programs. Encourage staff to share their ideas and feedback regularly through surveys and meetings. Provide resources and support for these initiatives, such as a budget for team-building events or professional development. Recognize and celebrate employee-driven efforts to boost morale, reinforcing their importance. This inclusive approach fosters a sense of ownership and commitment, leading to sustained engagement and improved workplace morale.

Want more practice management tips and tricks? Bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh, relevant content.

What's it like to be a
DVM Elite Member?

Hear from Practice Owners
in our community
Dr. Diana is blown away
Dr. Randy & Beth are transformed
Dr. Leslie can't quite believe it

Dr. Cathie
DVM - Wisconsin

December new clients up 28% over last year!


Dr. Peter achieved time freedom while increasing productivity by implementing the DVM Elite system.


Dr. Laura created a happy and healthy company team and culture through the DVM Elite Dream Team.

randy and beth.png

Beth and Randy were able to maximize their room workflow and productivity for greater profitability.


Dr. Leslie was able to increase her profitability through DVM Elite's Key Strategies.

We do it ALL!


bottom of page