Where would we be without our beloved Veterinary Technicians as we do our best to keep our heads above water during these insanely busy times? Probably drowning, that’s where!
Though it’s wise to praise and appreciate our Vet Techs all year round, this year’s National Veterinary Technician Week from October 17-23 is an especially important time to dig deep, take some time, and truly make an effort to show our Vet Techs how much we value the work they do, day in and day out. Bringing in lunch is a nice gesture but it’s just the tip of the iceberg if you want to truly recognize and retain key staff – which is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business. When your staff members feel like a valued part of a team, your practice will see less burnout, less turnover, and more revenue. Plus, it will be a better place to come to work every day – and who wouldn’t want that?
Click the button for your free download containing a thank you card, social media graphic, and Facebook banner for you to use to help you recognize those amazing technicians!
So, you want to plan something meaningful but what exactly does that look like and where should you begin? Try these steps:
- Consider your budget. We’d all love to have an Oprah moment and shout “You get a car! You get a car!” to each of our staff. However, realistically assessing what the practice can afford is a necessary step. Be honest with your budget but remember: this is an important investment in your staff and, like all good investments, should pay valuable dividends over and over again.
- Determine who and how many people you are going to be celebrating? Write their names down and take a minute to think about each employee and what their commitment means to you.
- Decide whether it’s best to plan something for the whole group, or if you can focus on each member individually. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to either option, so if your budget allows, consider both!
- Sponsoring a group dinner, a night at the movies, or a backyard BBQ at your house can be a wonderful time to enjoy each other’s company away from the office and strengthen those human bonds. However, it does focus more appreciation on the group as whole and leaves a little to be desired in the individual attention department.
- If you can make time to individualize your efforts, you may reap dividends from staff that feel recognized. You probably know your vet techs really well, but do you know how they like to be appreciated? Most of us default toward one of the five different love languages: quality time, gifts of appreciation, words of affirmation, physical touch, or acts of service. For someone who truly values quality time, consider one-on-one time with that person either at the office or outside of it. Perhaps they’d really appreciate some career mentoring or some on-the-clock CE. Or is their life really hectic and their preferred quality time would be an extra couple hours one day to spend with their kids? For those who appreciate gifts, who doesn’t love a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or spa? Could they use a new set of scrubs? Or tickets to their favorite sporting event? To the vet tech who spends their weekends doing charity work, consider supporting their charity, or even paying them their wage for a Saturday spent volunteering. If you’re not sure which love language your staff default to, have a conversation to find out!
- Consider buying something for the office that will make your vet techs feel pampered. Does the break room have space for a vibrating massage chair? How about a really nice coffee maker? Or a bean bag chair they can collapse upon during a break? How about creating a place for personal space? Even the smallest of private spaces can be helpful to people who need to recharge their batteries. We’ve heard of one clinic that turned an unused closet space into a private space that was used as a prayer room, a scream room, and private space for a nursing mother. For introverts and others who need privacy to recharge, this kind of gesture goes a long way.
- Consider using this year’s National Veterinary Technician Week as a way to set the table for praising your staff all year long. Do you or one of your staff check your clinic’s online reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or Nextdoor? Next time a client takes the time to leave a positive review and mentions a staff member by name, don’t just let it sit there on the internet! Print that up, highlight their name, and pin it to the bulletin board!
- Use your voice and tell them how much you appreciate them!
Finding fun, unique, and personal ways to show your veterinary technicians how much you appreciate them can take a little time, but it will be worth every minute. Start planning now for how you will show your beloved sidekicks how much you care about them, how much you are invested in them, and how you wouldn’t want to do this all without them!