You might not be aware that I’m the owner of a digital marketing agency in addition to my role at VCC.Academy. Over the years, I’ve learned that a positive work culture is essential for any organization. I’m a very strategically minded person. As a D (my DiSC personality style), I’ll drive for goals based on my long-term strategy.
Early in my leadership of the agency, I’d drive for change and push my employees without regard to what effect that had on the culture of the agency. However, I’ve come to understand clearly that Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.
I may not be a DVM (I let Dr. Bingham be the smart one there), but this idea that culture is critical includes veterinary hospitals. In my many years of owning and leading companies, I’ve learned that stress is never conducive to creativity. Stress never allows people to be their best. Fostering a pleasant and supportive environment for employees contributes to improved client care and satisfaction. Promoting great culture allows for improved teamwork, open communication, and a shared sense of purpose among staff. With every single team I have led, I always found this to be true.
Let’s explore some practical strategies that I’ve learned that create a positive work culture. Chances are they’ll work within your veterinary hospital as well.
Leading by Example
As a leader, your actions and behaviors set the tone for the entire hospital. It is essential for you to demonstrate professionalism, respect, and empathy in your interactions with both staff members and clients. Encourage a collaborative and supportive work environment by being approachable, open to feedback, and recognizing and celebrating the achievements of your team.
Establishing Clear Communication Channels
Establishing clear communication channels is vital for creating a positive work culture. Encourage open and honest communication among team members. Regular staff meetings and one-on-one sessions provide opportunities for discussion, feedback, and problem-solving. Foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
Fostering Teamwork and Collaboration
Encourage teamwork and collaboration among your staff members. Promote a sense of unity by emphasizing shared goals and encouraging cooperation rather than competition. Foster an inclusive environment where everyone's input is valued and where collaboration is recognized and rewarded. Encourage cross-training and knowledge sharing to enhance skill development and strengthen the team's capabilities.
Supporting Professional Development
Invest in the professional growth and development of your staff. Offer continuing education opportunities, conferences, and workshops to enhance their knowledge and skills. Encourage staff members to pursue certifications and provide support and resources to help them achieve their goals. This not only improves the quality of care but also demonstrates your commitment to their personal and professional growth.
Encouraging Work-Life Harmony
I’ve come to believe that work-life balance is a farce. But, when work and life are in harmony, great things can happen. Encourage them to take breaks, use vacation time, and maintain a healthy work-life integration. Foster a culture that values well-being, mental health, and self-care. Flexible scheduling (as much as a hospital can allow), wellness programs, and access to support resources can go a long way in ensuring your staff feels valued and supported.
Recognizing and Appreciating Your Team
Regularly recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of your team members. Acknowledge their achievements, milestones, and efforts. This can be as simple as a verbal acknowledgment, a handwritten note, or a small token of appreciation. Celebrate successes as a team and foster a culture of gratitude and positivity.
Creating a Positive Physical Environment
Create a physical environment that promotes positivity and comfort. Ensure that the hospital is clean, well-organized, and properly equipped. Consider staff preferences when designing workspaces, break areas, and client interaction zones. Incorporate elements that enhance relaxation, such as soothing colors, natural lighting, and comfortable seating.
Creating a positive work culture in your veterinary hospital requires intentional effort and ongoing commitment. It’s not something you can assume will happen. Lead by example to foster open communication, promote teamwork, support professional development, encourage work-life harmony, recognize achievements, and create a positive physical environment. Do your part to cultivate a workplace where your staff feels valued, motivated, and engaged. A positive work culture not only enhances job satisfaction but also contributes to better patient care and overall hospital success.
Corey Smith, MBA
I have come to veterinary medicine from a truly non-medical and non-veterinary path. With early roots in 4-H and, as a youth, owning 4 horses, 2 ponies, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 sheep, a whole slew of rabbits, and even a giraffe (that’s a story for another day), I am decidedly not a veterinarian. I'm a businessman, marketer, and talented coach. Whether I'm coaching in business, marketing, or helping leaders understand how their personality affects their interpersonal and client relationships, my goal is to help leaders be the best they can be.