5 Tips for Successful Veterinary Staff Onboarding

Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022 by Cindy Barnes, DVM, CVSMT
3 Min Read
5 Tips for Successful Veterinary Staff Onboarding

Does your veterinary practice have a comprehensive onboarding process? No? You’re not alone. You may want to dive into the nitty-gritty tasks for your new hire that lessens the burden for the team, but you’re likely to set your new hire and your team up for failure this way.

We’ll show you how you can create an onboarding process that will ensure your recruits hit the ground running and are ready to become an asset to the team in no time. Minimize turnover and onboard successful, well-integrated new staff members by taking time to create an onboarding process.

With many veterinary practices looking to add new members to their overburdened teams, now is the perfect time to update (or create) your onboarding process and attract top talent. Here are five tips to up your onboarding game.

#1: Clearly outline your new hire’s job duties and expectations

Does your practice have an employee manual for all new hires? If not, creating one is an excellent place to start. Your employee manual should outline your practice’s policies and procedures on scheduling, leave, working conditions, expectations, employee benefits, code of conduct, and philosophy regarding patients, clients, and coworkers.

One of the main reasons employees leave during their first six months of employment is because they are not given clear guidelines concerning their responsibilities. A detailed employee manual can help guide your new hire on their job duties and expectations, and how they can advance through your practice, and earn promotions and raises.

Ensure your new hire has the employee manual before they begin working, to allow them time to read through the guide, ask any questions, and receive answers about your practice’s protocols and policies.

#2: Give your new hire access to training resources before their start date

While being able to hire only highly experienced and skilled employees would be ideal, new veterinarians and veterinary technicians straight out of school also come with a wealth of knowledge. However, they will gain experience only through hands-on use of a practice’s veterinary software, app, or lab equipment. Give your new hire a leg up on the ins and outs of your equipment and software by granting them access to your training programs. For example, your practice app or software likely includes a training program that walks all team members through appropriate usage.

Additional training resources that can help your new hire hit the ground running include certifications for Low Stress Handling, Fear Free, and AAHA-accreditation. Veterinary hospitals are granted these certifications when team members complete the necessary courses, so your new hire should peruse the learning portal before their start date to get acclimated.

#3: Stick to orientation-only tasks on your new hire’s first day

You will have plenty of time to throw your new hire into the thick of a double-booked schedule once they’ve gotten their bearings, so reserve their first day for orientation-only tasks. They should fill out paperwork, receive a key and alarm code, get fitted for scrubs, be introduced to their mentor and each team member, and familiarize themselves with the practice on their first day. Starting a new hire on an incredibly busy day, so they can help and learn as much as possible through first-hand experience, may seem like a good idea, but can be too overwhelming, and create a negative first impression of your practice.

#4: Assign a mentor to your new hire

Assigning a mentor to your new hire can make a world of difference in their onboarding experience. The ideal mentor should be someone readily available, who can answer all questions in a kind manner, and then step back and allow the new hire to show their skills. A mentor should also work well with the team and be able to offer constructive criticism. Ensuring your new hire can always go to a team member in their department, or in a similar position, will allow them to learn and grow without fear of asking “foolish” questions.

#5: Provide ongoing feedback to your new hire

While an employee typically is evaluated after 90 days, providing a new hire with feedback from day one will give them the guidance they need to succeed. Continual feedback will nip problems or inaccuracies in the bud and demonstrate correct protocols at the same time. The practice manager should schedule weekly check-ins with the new hire, to listen to their concerns, answer questions, and see how they’re handling their duties and meshing with their coworkers.

Part of any good onboarding process is familiarizing your new hires with your veterinary software, which sometimes can be clunky and difficult to navigate. However, Shepherd Veterinary Software is created by a vet, for vets, and provides an intuitive, easy-to-use program that your new hires can easily grasp in a day. Give our software a test drive by scheduling a demo, and see why the best veterinary software should be part of your onboarding process for improved employee retention.

Shepherd Veterinary Software streamlines veterinary practice management

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