Episode 28: How to keep your veterinary staff employed during COVID-19

November 10, 2020
Kelsey Gustafson, Associate Editor
Kelsey Gustafson, Associate Editor

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, is joined by business and financial management, expert Erin Potts, who discusses the veterinary shortage and how to retain staff and keep them engaged during the pandemic.

Before the onslaught of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the veterinary industry was already facing its own “pandemic”: a shortage in veterinary professionals, says Erin Potts, director of business services at the Veterinary Hospitals Association (VHA), adding that COVID-19 has only added fuel to the fire.

“We’ve had a lack of candidates for open positions for DVMs, for certified veterinary technicians, assistants, you name it,” says Potts. The veterinary industry is expanding but there’s a decreasing number of people able to meet that demand, she explains.

In this latest episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Potts talks with Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, about the veterinary professional shortage, the importance of flexibility at your practice, and creative ways to retain employees during these challenging times.

At the start of the pandemic, many clinics panicked and laid off team members, says Potts. Now, clinics are overloaded with patients and need to retain their staff more than ever.

“Clinics that can be flexible have the greatest chance of keeping their valuable employees who – when they are able to return to normal – will be even more loyal and satisfied with their job, “ says Potts.

Employers also need to be understanding when it comes to their employees with children who are virtual learning or those with sick family members, who have no other choice but to work from home. To accommodate these staff members you can set up a customer service representative (CSR) service, allowing them to easily assist with scheduling appointments, cancellations, and addressing client follow-up questions. Potts also says remote team members can help grow your clinic’s social media presence and work on other projects that have been put off over the years.

“There are just so many options if you are open to letting your imagination run free,” says Potts. “Just because it’s not what they [employees] did before or [what they] were hired to do, does not mean they can’t do it now to stay as a part of your team and stay connected to your clinic.”

Listen below to learn more about employee retention strategies.