Combatting the Predictors of Work-related Stress

July 25, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

How can veterinary practice owners reduce work-related stress for their employees?

As a veterinary practice owner, you should understand the predictors of work-related stress for your employees. Acknowledging these predictors by establishing specific plans, guidelines, or programs can benefit all aspects of your practice—especially the well-being of your veterinary team.

Here are 5 predictors of work-related stress and advice to combat each to keep your staff stress-free.

Employees need a safe work environment.

Not only does each veterinary team member need to feel physically safe at work, but they should also feel healthy and psychologically secure. With the high number of veterinarians suffering from mental health issues, it is extremely important to provide your veterinary team with job security and mental health programs. Similarly, long work hours mean less time to focus on physical health. Why not offer reduced prices for gym memberships or host well-being events at your practice?

Employees need freedom and the ability to make their own choices at work.

Does your veterinary team have some control over their work schedule? If not, try to loosen up your grip on their hours each week. Does your veterinary team feel comfortable putting in their 2 cents at a team meeting? If not, express to them that you want open and honest communication and feedback on how the practice is running.

Employees need to understand what is expected of them at work.

Just like you need your veterinary team to give you feedback on the practice, your veterinary team needs you to give them feedback on their performance. Does your veterinary team understand what they are expected to do at work each day? Do they have too many tasks to accomplish or too few? Try to schedule time either monthly or bi-monthly to sit down with each team member and review their performance and responsibilities.

Employees need to be utilized for what they bring to the practice.

You hired each person on your veterinary team for their specific set of skills, but are they actually using those skills in their current positions? If not, it may be time to reassign or restructure your team. It might also be beneficial to establish employee development and training programs to help those on the team who are not being challenged enough or those who feel they could do more for your practice.

Employees need a positive work environment.

One negative team member can bring the whole team down far too easily. Always be on the lookout for workplace bullying and other toxic relationships—establishing guidelines regarding these can help. Employees also need to feel valued, which reiterates the need for open and honest feedback. This also means you need to make sure each employee feels they are contributing to the overall mission of the veterinary practice.