How do you define “workplace culture?” You might say it’s the atmosphere you cultivate at your practice, or a specific theme that encompasses your practice as a whole. Maybe you have a list of core values by which your team abides, or a comprehensive mission statement that influences every aspect of your practice.
Regardless, we know that as a veterinarian or vet practice owner, you care deeply about your patients, clients, and staff. You know how important it is to nurture a positive workplace culture that makes your practice feel like a second home for everyone who sets foot there.
Tips for Building a Positive Workplace Culture
Creating and sustaining a positive workplace culture is easier said than done. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips to help guide you and your team in the right direction.
You Need to Care
You might be thinking, “Well, no kidding. Of course I care. Our whole profession is built on caring.”
But this can be taken for granted. The key is to genuinely care. All the motivational posters, slogans, mottos, and pizza parties in the world can’t compare to an atmosphere where the practice owners, leadership team, and team members are all 100% invested in caring for each other.
When your team members take care of one another, this increases their confidence, work ethic, and overall well-being. Knowing they have the support of their teammates makes it easier for staff to derive fulfillment from their work and put extra effort into their responsibilities.
But caring is just the start.
Solidify Your Mission
You provide veterinary care to your community for a reason. This goes beyond making a profit and satisfying customer demands. Figure out the main, underlying mission that unites and inspires your team and define it. Find a way to whittle it down to a handful of words that are easy to remember.
Knowing your mission (and this includes your whole team) will help you and your staff build a workplace culture that is cohesive and sustainable.
Identify Your Core Values/Principles and Implement Them Daily
List out your practice’s core values and/or guiding principles and discuss them with your team. Make sure they’re in your employee handbook. Help your team weave these values/principles into their daily tasks and interactions with fellow teammates and clients. This “culture-driven” approach can encourage your team members to work towards the same goals and tackle issues (routine or unexpected) with greater ease and confidence.
Be aware that simply putting a mission statement or a series of words that you would like to define your workplace culture on a wall isn’t enough. In fact, this could have negative impact on your team if the actual culture in your practice isn’t living up to the ideal. Having clear established standards and a training program in place for your team will make it easier for them to understand, embrace, and reinforce your practice’s values.
The main component in building and upholding a positive workplace culture is trust. Successful relationships, be they professional or personal, are all built on a sturdy foundation of trust.
When we talk about trust, we don’t just mean the trust that is nurtured between your staff and their patients and clients, or between team members. We are also referring to trust in your organization, and trust in the organization’s processes.
Here are some key ways to nurture and grow that trust:
- Start with your employee handbook. Review your policies and procedures, and make certain that all team members understand and commit to supporting the organization under those rules.
- Educate your team and monitor management to ensure they enforce your practice’s policies and procedures consistently.
- Be openminded, and be a great listener if your team members have concerns, questions, and feedback.
- Pay attention to opportunities where your organization might be misunderstood, and address those issues.
- Work hand-in-hand with your team to reinforce your policies and values. Consistently practice them each day to help everyone develop trust in the process, the organization, and one another.
- Put yourself in a pet owner’s shoes and consider their experience. If your team members are in conflict, everyone will pick up on this. Body language, tone of voice, verbiage, and actions can either make pet owners feel comfortable, or the complete opposite.
Important Online Culture-Building Opportunities for Your Practice
A custom, search engine-optimized website, blog, and social media channels are all great places for demonstrating and furthering your vet practice’s workplace culture. You should craft all the content on these platforms in a way that truly reflects the overall feeling within your practice. Pet owners tend to go by this feeling when they’re choosing a veterinarian.
Some suggestions for promoting your workplace culture online include:
- Share photos of your team in action on social media and on your website
- Create “day in the life” videos that accurately represent your team and practice
- Shine a spotlight on individual team members so pet owners can get to know them
- Use words from your mission statement/core values in your copy to reinforce what your practice stands for and performs on a daily basis
- Share inspiring stories about team members or patients (with the owner’s permission)
- Promote your team’s volunteer efforts and encourage pet owners to get involved
Simply saying that your practice cares and strives to provide exceptional medicine isn’t enough. You need to show it, and there are many great ways to do that online.
Further Your Online Presence with InTouch
We know how important your workplace culture is to your veterinary practice. It’s what makes you unique, and well-loved among your clients and patients. It’s also what makes your practice such an awesome place to work.
InTouch can help you crystallize your brand and promote your organization online using the latest and best practices in website development, design, copywriting, and SEO. We can work with you to create magnetic social media and Google Ads campaigns to reach more pet owners, while also propagating the amazing workplace culture you and your team nurture every day.
Call us at (800) 493-9003 to see what InTouch can do to help your practice grow and your workplace culture flourish.