Running a veterinary practice with a positive work culture not only makes it a great place to be, but it’ll also attract superstar staff.

We would all like to work in a business with an awesome culture, right? After all, it’s the positive culture that really makes your business stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking to turn around the work culture in your veterinary practice, keep on reading for a few tips on doing just that!

Firstly, it’s essential to recognise that there are two cultures at play within your veterinary practice. There’s the business culture (AKA organisational culture) and there’s staff culture (AKA employee culture). The business culture echoes how you want your veterinary practice to run, and it can also impact what type of staff culture emerges, so this should be your initial focus. Here are a few steps you can take to help grow a positive culture.

Define the culture you want to create

Of course, before you start implementing changes to the way your veterinary practice operates, it’s important to understand what culture is.

There are many definitions of culture, but here are a few considerations.

“Culture illustrates the accepted norms and values and the traditional behaviour of a group.”

“Culture is the way we do things around here”.

“The evolving set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes determine the culture.”

To work out what type of culture you want to foster in your veterinary practice it’s vital to think about your mission and ethos. Perhaps you can recall a company or business where there was a great atmosphere. You may have had a positive customer experience or maybe you just picked up on the positive vibe.

Create a list of words that define the culture you want. For example, fun, happy, innovative, professional…

Compile and communicate your goals and values

Once you have compiled a clear set of goals and values it’s not time to sit back and relax! What good are these things if they’re not communicated to your staff and beyond the walls of your veterinary practice?

You might design a manifesto, which you can place in a prominent position for all to see. This can act as a reminder of the goals and values you stand for.

Alternatively, as part of your weekly or monthly meetings, you might touch on your goals to see how things are progressing. This simply helps keep your aims and values top of mind.

Ultimately, to achieve the culture you want, you and your staff need a clear and shared vision.

Practice what you preach

In the same way that personal change comes from within, changes to the way your veterinary practice operates must come from the top. That means you need to lead the way and set an example.

If you want a friendly culture, then it’s time to turn that frown upside down—and not just today, but every day! If you are striving for a culture based on respect, you need to show your staff respect. Make sure all interactions and communication is based on your core goals and values.

Engage your employees

What good is a well-defined set of goals and values if no one acts upon them? In order to cultivate a positive culture in your veterinary practice you need everyone to be on board.

To do this you need to regularly communicate with staff, to remind them what your goals and values are. To really encourage them to buy in, ask them to suggest ways to bring these values to life. Reward ideas and support people to share their thoughts. This in itself will help create a truly positive and enjoyable work culture where everyone feels their voice is heard and they are appreciated.

Lastly, once you have cultivated a great workplace culture, you want to do your best to maintain what you have achieved. This means all future employees need to be the right fit. Have a list of targeted questions that will help you to understand whether a potential employee will align with the values and culture of your awesome veterinary practice!

How would you define your workplace culture?

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Image source: Nanango Veterinary Surgery

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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