If it’s been a few years since you reviewed your practice’s employee benefits, they’re likely overdue for an upgrade. Today’s workforce is redefining the concept of employee benefits, and with the ongoing skilled labor shortage, employers are working to meet their heightened expectations.
Go beyond health insurance, paid time off (PTO), and uniform allowance in 2024 with these must-have veterinary employee benefits.
It’s a win-win: The ROI for your practice
While veterinary practice leaders want the best for their teams, most face practical budgetary limits. There’s no denying that employee benefits come with a high price tag, especially for large teams. Weighing their dividends can help you see the value of their return, including:
- Increased employee satisfaction — Team members who feel supported and recognized are more likely to feel happy in their work.
- Enhanced loyalty and retention — Supported team members create a healthy and caring practice culture where employees can grow and learn.
- Decreased hiring costs — Expanded and non-traditional benefits give your practice a competitive advantage in quickly and successfully recruiting top talent.
- Improved efficiency — Happy teams who have a healthy work-life balance are more engaged in their work and therefore more productive.
- Skill development and growth — Supporting your team’s interests and educational pursuits can help you cultivate future leaders or offer new services (e.g., rehabilitation, dentistry, behavior).
The benefits veterinary teams really want
Modern benefits expand on traditional offerings to enhance employees’ lives inside and outside the practice. The following categories illustrate popular and sometimes unexpected ways to support, equip, and empower your employees.
Mental health and holistic wellness benefits
Veterinary professionals recognize the need for proactive and preventive care for pets, and your team deserves the same. In addition to standard health insurance benefits, expanded mental health resources and wellness programs can be a great way to nurture and encourage employee wellbeing.
Additional voluntary benefits that promote overall wellness and offset health-related expenses include:
- Life insurance
- Leave of absence
- Child care stipends
- Gym or fitness memberships
- Nutritional counseling
- Telehealth access
Flexible scheduling (e.g., remote work, compressed workweeks, rotating shifts, self-scheduling, unlimited PTO, or staggered work hours) may require practice managers to reenvision how they staff their hospitals. Still, the invested time will be returned as a healthy, rested, and engaged team. Ongoing industry challenges such as burnout, compassion fatigue, and other mental health issues have illuminated the need for work-life balance in veterinary medicine. Flexible scheduling ensures your veterinary team can give you their best while also doing the same for themselves and their families.
Focus on education
Continuing education benefits aren’t new for many practices but may be underused. Maximize this benefit by supporting your team’s special interests, encouraging them to update their current abilities, or helping them acquire skills they’ll need to advance in the practice. A common industry example of the latter is a senior veterinary technician transitioning into a team lead or managerial role.
In addition to boosting your team’s confidence and skill set, strategic educational investment can help staff find their niche within the practice, add to your services, and experience greater job satisfaction. Ongoing skill development also makes it easier to expand your practice by promoting seamlessly from within rather than engaging in a lengthy and costly talent search.
More than previous generations, Millenials and Gen Z employees seek professional roles that allow them to make positive contributions to the world around them. Fortunately, there are many ways to foster a strong sense of purpose in the workplace through benefits—some of which cost nothing at all. They include:
- Employee recognition programs — Recognition for work-related wins, big or small, helps team members feel appreciated and necessary. Morale-boosting programs can range from a simple DIY in-house system to a membership-based online platform that tracks achievements and ships tangible incentives and rewards.
- Social initiatives — Practice-sponsored campaigns or projects such as charity drives, free pet health clinics, and volunteer projects are an active way to give back and engage with the community. Invite team members to select quarterly or monthly initiatives that correspond with their passions or charitable interests.
- Autonomy and decision-making — Equipping your team with the necessary skills and training and then trusting them to perform their duties can deepen the satisfaction they experience in their work. Involving staff in important decisions can build empowerment, communicate their value, and create a sense of ownership over daily operations.
- Individualized feedback — Regular one-on-one communications, such as informal check-ins, provide an opportunity to express appreciation for your employees’ efforts, discuss their goals and review progress, provide constructive feedback, and identify potential issues before they lead to attrition.
Adapting to modern employee expectations
Like most other aspects of veterinary medicine, employee benefits are evolving with the times. In 2024, this means going beyond standard employee benefits. Show you value each team member by combining monetary and non-monetary benefits, initiatives, and rewards so they feel inspired to provide next-level care for every patient and client.
Shepherd Veterinary Software was founded on the belief that all veterinary professionals deserve joy. Shepherd’s clean and simple design, powerful functionality and features, and must-have integrations increase efficiency and streamline your workflow. Your team will enjoy greater job satisfaction and get home on time—what a benefit!Contact our team to schedule your free demo.