As veterinary professionals, we are no strangers to a stressful day at the clinic. But sometimes that stress has nothing to do with the furry friends we’re treating (or their sometimes difficult owners). Enter: Workplace Culture.
Workplace Culture is the personality of an organization from the employees perspective (Siu, 2014) and includes a company’s values, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations. Essentially, workplace culture defines the overall vibe of a clinic, how they treat their employees, and what the company stands for / represents.
When workplace culture is good (or a good fit, as we’ll talk about later), employees tend to be happier, more productive, more loyal to an organization, and can perform their jobs better. But when workplace culture is bad (or just a bad fit for that person), employees end up feeling burnt out, under appreciated, their mental health suffers, and there’s an increased likelihood that they will quit.
In today’s blog post we’re going to dive deeper into workplace culture in vet med and how you can help create a more positive culture in your clinic with help from Hound.
PS — We had Sara from Hound join us on Instagram + TikTok Live to talk all things workplace culture and how Hound is helping veterinary professionals and clinics — click here to check it out!
What’s up with the workplace culture in Vet Med?
When it comes to workplace culture in vet med it may not surprise you to learn that there are systemic issues that negatively impact culture like low wages, long hours due to staffing shortages, and the increased likelihood of burnout that comes with a high-stress and emotionally draining profession. These issues can lead to a decrease in job satisfaction, and it’s hard to have a positive workplace culture when employees dread coming to work each day.
Another issue that contributes to a negative workplace culture, and something we commonly see in vet med, is a lack of support from employers and a lack of autonomy for employees. When employees feel controlled and/or their requests for support from leadership or management are ignored, workplace culture suffers.
An Unexpected Factor
But there’s another factor that negatively affects workplace culture in vet med — and it may surprise you. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally commiserating or using dark humor here + there to cope with the issues in your clinic (who doesn’t love a dark joke or meme every once in a while), too much negative energy (or a lack of solution-focused thinking) can bring down the vibe of the entire workplace.
While it’s important that we call out the issues negatively impacting us in the workplace, it’s also important that we focus on finding solutions. If you find yourself or your co-workers constantly complaining about the same issues, it’s time to bring those issues up with management / find a solution.
Improving workplace culture
When it comes to improving the culture in your workplace, there’s a common misconception that decreasing job dissatisfaction improves job satisfaction but that’s not entirely true. Often people think that if they hit the bare minimum and start paying people more, that will fix all of their issues. While decreasing dissatisfaction is important, it is only the bare minimum. It’s important to also focus on factors that contribute to job satisfaction such as achievement, recognition, and autonomy. When a workplace gets these things right, it leads to higher satisfaction among team members, making it so they THRIVE at work, not just survive.
So what makes a “good” workplace culture?
It’s important to understand that a “good” workplace culture is better defined as a “good fit” because we all have different needs when it comes to the behaviors, values, and personality of a workplace. Generally, a positive workplace culture includes open and honest communication, team building opportunities, recognition and appreciation for employees, a healthy balance between work and life, opportunities for professional development, and inclusivity and diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and cultures — but the specifics will be different for different personalities. A “good” workplace culture is one where employees feel safe, respected, and valued — and should be personalized to fit each individual team / clinic / organization (there’s not one right way to do things).
The importance of feedback loops when it comes to workplace culture
Since there is no one solution or one perfect culture for everyone, it is essential to focus on what works for your team. Owners and practice managers need to start getting personal and gather feedback from their team members. They also need to internalize that feedback and change things based on that feedback. This is what’s known as a feedback loop, and creating one for your team is one simple change that can help improve work culture.
How to find the right workplace culture fit
As we’ve mentioned, workplace culture is personal to the people involved. This means you’ll want to get introspective and consider what you want out of a workplace culture and what you’d consider a red flag. Do you prefer a more collaborative or independent work environment? Do you thrive in a fast-paced work environment or prefer a more relaxed pace? Knowing the answers to questions like these will help you ask better questions and get a better sense of what the company's work culture is like during the interview phase. While it can be difficult to determine whether a workplace has the right culture fit before you work there, asking questions during the interview phase or even networking with current / former employees can help you understand if the culture is an ideal fit for you or not.
How Hound is helping veterinary professionals + workplace culture
The veterinary industry can be tough to navigate, especially when it comes to finding the right job or creating a positive work culture. This is where Hound comes in. Hound is a company that provides solutions specifically designed for veterinary professionals. Their focus on transparency, job seeker preferences, and culture retention sets them apart from other job search and recruiting platforms.
One of Hound's main offerings is Scout, a job search and recruiting platform that provides job seekers with more transparency and information about potential jobs. With Scout, job seekers can view pictures and details about the practice, including what equipment and supplies they use. They can also filter their job search based on their preferences, such as location, work hours, and specific skills. By focusing on job seeker preferences, Hound aims to help people find a job that truly fits them and their unique needs.
But finding the right job is only half the battle. Hound also recognizes the importance of creating a positive work culture and retaining good employees. This is where Rally comes in. Rally is a culture retention platform that facilitates recognition, growth, and community within a practice. It allows people to give and receive recognition for their hard work, provides opportunities for growth and learning, and fosters a sense of community within the workplace. By creating a positive work culture, Hound believes that employees will be more engaged, motivated, and fulfilled in their work.
In addition to Scout and Rally, Hound provides various resources and tools to help veterinary professionals, such as their blog which offers insights and advice from recruiters and industry experts. Hound also recently launched their veterinary pay repository which allows people to anonymously share their salaries, providing insight into the current market pay for different roles and levels of expertise in the veterinary field.
Hound's focus on job transparency, job seeker preferences, and culture retention makes it a valuable asset for veterinary professionals looking to find a job or improve their current work situation. By providing these solutions and tools, Hound is actively working towards improving the veterinary industry and supporting those who work in it.
You can sign up for Hound FOR FREE with our link — click here.
Love the work but not the culture?
So if you love the work but you don’t love the environment, it’s probably time to find a clinic that is a better culture fit for you. And that’s especially true when the environment or culture is affecting your mental health. Wanna know more about creating an awesome culture in vet med? Check out this awesome blog from Hound!
Looking for ways to celebrate your staff?
Show your staff appreciation and celebrate their hard work by gifting them something from our shop.