5 Ideas for Employee Recognition at Your Veterinary Practice

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024 by Cindy Barnes, DVM, CVSMT
3 Min Read
5 Ideas for Employee Recognition at Your Veterinary Practice

A veterinary practice needs more than skilled veterinarians and state-of-the-art facilities to be successful—it also needs a positive and supportive work environment. Recognizing and appreciating your team’s hard work not only boosts morale but contributes to a healthier workplace culture and reduces costly turnover. Here are five creative employee recognition ideas you can use at your veterinary practice that far exceed the usual thank-you note.

#1: Perk up “Employee of the Month” awards

Launch an “Employee of the Month” program that recognizes and rewards one outstanding team member each month. You can give traditional perks such as a certificate or gift card, but also consider pet-related rewards, such as a free grooming session for the winner’s own pet or a gift basket of pet supplies. This not only celebrates your team’s achievements but also strengthens their connection to the core mission of your practice—caring for pets.

#2: Nominate a “Pet of the Month” 

A different spin on “Employee of the Month,” a “Pet of the Month” award fosters friendly staff competition. Ask team members to nominate pets they have treated who showed extraordinary resilience, made an unexpected recovery, or had special characteristics. You can also use the featured pet to recognize and reward advanced medical knowledge, technical skills, or new therapies that team members implemented during patient care.

If acceptable, display a photo and a brief story about the chosen pet in a prominent practice area and on social media. Then, celebrate the winner with a small ceremony or recognition event. This not only recognizes your staff’s efforts but also is positive and heartwarming.

#3: Invest in professional development opportunities 

Investing in your team’s growth is a powerful way to show appreciation. Offer opportunities for continuing education (CE) workshops or certifications and recognize employees who actively enhance their skills. Create a “Wall of Achievements” in your practice to showcase certifications and new skills your team has acquired. This acknowledges their dedication and reinforces a commitment to ongoing learning in your practice.

To make CE accessible for everyone, compensate employees for their time attending conferences and foot the bill for travel and lodging. Large CE conferences are often outside of a veterinary professional’s budget without their employer’s financial assistance, so it’s important to ensure your team can afford to attend. Consider closing the practice to allow the entire team to attend a large conference like VMX or WVC and turn the trip into an appreciation gift by including fun, non-work-related activities.

#4: Write personal notes (and add a gift!)

Not everyone enjoys being in the public spotlight! Some employees prefer a quieter form of appreciation, such as a heartfelt, personalized thank-you note expressing your gratitude for specific contributions or achievements. Notes can be handwritten or digital, but making them personal and genuine is key. Highlight specific instances where an employee went above and beyond or demonstrated exceptional teamwork. Simple notes of appreciation can go a long way in making your employees feel valued and motivated, especially when paired with a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant.

#5: Encourage positive shoutouts

Create a platform, whether a bulletin board in the staff room or a section on your practice’s website or social media, where pet owners can share their positive experiences and express gratitude for individual staff members. Encourage clients to thank employees who have made a difference when caring for their pets. This provides valuable feedback to your team and strengthens the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

You can take these positive shoutouts further and open them up to your entire team! Encourage staff to build each other up and recognize professional achievements or acts of kindness. At the end of each month or during staff meetings, celebrate the entire team by sharing their positive anecdotes.

Implementing creative and thoughtful employee recognition ideas not only boosts morale but also contributes to a robust and supportive team culture. Show your team how much you appreciate all their hard work by making their job easier with powerful yet easy-to-use practice management software. Schedule a free demo of Shepherd Veterinary Software today!

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