8 Ways to Retain Your Veterinary Receptionist and Save Time

6 min read
8 Ways to Retain Your Veterinary Receptionists - Blog

Without doubts, one of the most challenging jobs in a busy practice is the role of a veterinary receptionist. Your reception team bears up mixed emotions from clients, deals with payments, acts as the first point of contact and face of your practice, works over hours to make sure clients are given the required support, schedules call-backs, and refills prescriptions. These are just a few of the duties juggled by them on a daily basis.

So how should you retain these essential employees? Employee retention is vital to all veterinary practices as it costs time and money to lose and then replace employees. The remaining employees feel the toll, as they must work longer hours and take on additional duties until filling the role. High employee turnover is also a significant contributor to poor employee morale. With all of this in mind, retaining your trained veterinary receptionist should be a top priority. Here are eight ways your practice can retain your veterinary reception team.

Free Download: Veterinary Employee Happiness Survey Template

1. Pay your veterinary receptionist well (with benefits)

The most cited reasons for a veterinary receptionist to leave a position are poor pay and lack of benefits, such as health care, holidays, and travel allowance. Across the board, the veterinary field is notoriously underpaid, and team members often struggle to make ends meet. Ensuring your employees are well-compensated promotes long-term commitment to your practice.

Additionally, offering full benefits, such as health care, vision, dental, and a retirement plan, is necessary to be competitive. Other perks, such as reduced-cost pet care, access to mental health care, gym memberships, etc., are incentives to bond your employees to your practice. Bonuses earned for the length of time employed are also an excellent way to recognize loyalty and longevity. Remember, a well-compensated employee is a happy employee.

2. Listen to their views

It may sound silly at first, but giving importance to your veterinary receptionist’s opinions is important to attain their satisfaction and happiness. In many hospital environments, receptionists feel they cannot speak up and offer constructive criticism or suggestions. This leads to frustration and resentment. To foster a happy work culture, establish an open-door policy that encourages free expression of concerns, and take each one seriously.

Your receptionists work in the heart of your hospital and see when things are working well and where there is room for improvement. Allowing them to voice their thoughts and feelings and making them feel heard when they do so strengthens the workplace culture and reduces the chances of them quitting.

3. Give them the praises they deserve

Beyond pay, veterinary receptionists want to feel appreciated. They want to know that what they are doing matters and that someone notices their hard work. This is known as extrinsic motivation. The type of appreciation that works best may vary from team to team, but a simple “thank you for your hard work today” or “great job!” can go a long way towards your goal of retaining your veterinary receptionist.

Some forms of appreciation you can try easily are small hand-written notes, pizza parties, cash bonuses, or even giving them a shoutout for their hard work at a practice meeting. Traditionally, there is an entire week in October every year to celebrate veterinary technicians, and this often leaves your receptionists feeling left out and unappreciated. Make sure to make time for them too!

4. Actively Ask for Feedback

You likely conduct employee reviews for your team including your veterinary receptionist at least yearly, but have you ever let them review you? Clinic leadership should have an active system for eliciting feedback from the team, whether in the form of a suggestion box, an online survey, or as an additional part of the employee’s annual review. You can use online tools such as TinyPulse or OfficeVibe to engage with the team and solicit actionable feedback.

5. Avoid micromanaging your veterinary receptionist

No one likes to be micromanaged, and your veterinary receptionist is no different. Not only does micromanaging employees hamper their productivity in the workplace as well as yours, but it also makes good employees look for employment elsewhere. Micromanagement brings down employee morale and makes for an unhappy working environment.

Employees need to have clear goals and expectations set and then be allowed to do their jobs. Team leadership should focus on overall results as well as setting a good example. When you trust your veterinary reception team and provide them with opportunities for growth, they will flourish.

6. Identify their additional talents

As a leader, you should set goals for your veterinary receptionist and track their progress. Moreover, your organization should recognize, invest in, and promote exceptional performances. By identifying their capabilities and assigning bigger responsibilities to suit their skills, you will give them the impression that they are gaining valuable experiences from your practice. Job stagnancy can make employees unhappy and lead them to look for other employment. Hence, it is important to continually evaluate your team and identify those that deserve new roles and assignments.

7. Offer internal career growth

No one wants to do the exact same thing every day for the rest of their lives. When an veterinary receptionist isn’t allowed to grow, they feel stuck. This can quickly lead to burnout and the loss of a valued team member. One crucial thing a practice can do to aid in the retention of veterinary receptionists is to offer a varied workload. This may look different in various hospitals, but the important thing to remember is that your employees need variety. Rotating tasks, offering continuing education, and adding on different responsibilities are all great ways to keep the job fresh and new for your reception team.

8. Offer flexibility

Flexibility may soon become the most sought-after job perk and the best way to retain employees in today’s world. Veterinary receptionists, like all employees, are seeking jobs that offer flexible work schedules. While not many veterinary hospitals can provide work-from-home positions, the more flexibility a hospital can offer its employees, the better. This flexibility may come in the form of split shifts, part-time work, hybrid positions with some work done remotely, or simply the ability to switch shifts with co-workers as needed. Being as responsive to an receptionist’s needs as possible and taking a “family-friendly” approach to scheduling will go a long way towards your goal of retaining your veterinary receptionist.

Final thoughts

If you are concerned that one of your valued veterinary receptionists may be unhappy and looking to find another position, there are a few things to look for. Studies have shown that unhappy employees typically exhibit the following behaviors:

🟣 Productivity is decreased

🟣 Not acting as a “team player”

🟣 Doing the absolute minimum required

🟣 Unwilling to commit to long-term projects

🟣 Negative change in attitude

🟣 Expressing dissatisfaction with their job

🟣 Leaving early

🟣 Avoiding clients

Assess your veterinary employee happiness level with this free survey template

To explore tailored solutions and discover how our expertise can enhance staff satisfaction and streamline operations at your veterinary practice, book a demo with us today. Let’s work together to ensure a harmonious and thriving workplace for your team.