Help keep your team’s spirits up in times of stress.
With COVID-19 still spreading and many veterinary businesses slammed, short-staffed or adapting to new protocols, high stress is inevitable. Experts share a few ways to help keep up team morale:
1. Set boundaries. Protect your team, says Andy Roark, DVM. Make going home on time the expected norm, and don’t make employees feel guilty if they don’t want to stay late. “We’ve got to protect our people’s ability to recharge, to go home on a regular schedule and know that they’ll actually be off,” he says. Also take steps to ensure that your team members are not getting shamed by clients, he adds. And don’t make them feel obligated to take home pets that don’t have a home.
2. Celebrate successes. To counteract feeling beat up by complaints from clients (who are also under stress), pool your very positive survey results, online reviews and comments and share them with the team, advises digital marketing consultant Eric Garcia. Post them in a lounge or other communal area. “That way, people can see that the overwhelming majority of pet owners actually do appreciate what we are doing and are thankful,” he says. “And when we do get one or two a week who are upset, we’re not just focused on that.”
3. Do daily check-ins. While it’s hard to work on practice culture in the middle of the current chaos, there is one simple and quick tool you can easily implement, says veterinary practice management consultant Wendy Hauser, DVM. She calls it a “morning team huddle.” At the start of each shift, gather the team for a quick check-in of how each person is doing. “This is not a tactical huddle. It’s not about work flow. It’s about finding out what you are bringing to work today,” she says. “We need to welcome emotions into the workplace, so we can cut each other some slack and support each other.”