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In veterinary practice, culture describes a group of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that team members share (Braithwaite et al, 2017).  

Practices that invest in developing a team-based culture can reduce employee turnover, enhance the workplace environment, and improve profitability.  Practices hoping to hire and retain talent should consider that potential employees are looking for purpose and flexibility in the workplace. Employees want to feel respected and valued, which are products of a healthy practice culture. 

It is not enough to start a veterinary business, hire some employees, schedule appointments and go to work. Instead, practices that want to avoid crippling staffing shortages must reduce employee turnover and invest in establishing a healthy, team-based practice culture (Gosselin, 2022).

The Practice Culture Subcommittee has identified the 7 pillars that contribute to a positive workplace culture:

  • Non-Salary Benefits

  • Physical & Mental Safety

  • Connection & Community

  • Mattering at Work

  • Professional & Personal Life

  • Communication

  • Opportunities for Growth

Resources to strengthen these pillars in your practice are available below.
Practice Culture Toolkit

NEW: Building a Thriving Equine Veterinary Practice - A Culture Transformation Toolkit

The Practice Culture Subcommittee hopes the detail in this toolkit will help equine veterinarians better understand workplace culture and seek to implement these tools to improve equine practice. For each pillar, the subcommittee has developed a variety of resources that can help you make positive changes for the long-term benefit of your practice, your staff, your clients, and your patients. 

 

 

COMMUNICATION PILLAR

Tool: Communication Boundaries for the Equine Practice Handbook.  For both practice owners and associates, this resource discusses how to set effective boundaries in practice through conversation. Situational examples include both client and practice team communication.

 

CONNECTION & COMMUNITY PILLAR
 



MATTERING AT WORK PILLAR

Tool: Employee Reward & Recognition Assessment. Use this survey with your employees to gather personal preferences about recognition in the workplace.

Tool: Giving & Receiving Feedback - A Survey for Employees. Feedback plays a crucial role in developing talent, teamwork and morale. Use this survey to learn about the preferred communication style of each practice team member.

 

NON-SALARY BENEFITS PILLAR

Tool: Non-Salary Benefits Survey. Use this survey with both current employees and potential hires to determine which benefits are most important or attractive.

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH PILLAR

Tool: The Stay Interview: Guidance for Leaders. Stay interviews are conducted with current employees to help a business better understand why an employee may or may not feel satisfied in their position. 

Tool: The Stay Interview: Discussion Questions. Share this questionnaire with employees to help them prepare for the Stay Interview.

 

PHYSICAL & MENTAL SAFETY PILLAR
Tool: The Key to Successful Teams for the Equine Practice Owner Handbook. Fostering a sense of safety and belonging can transform your practice team.