Veterinary practice onboarding essentials


In light of the dearth of quality veterinarian and technician job candidates today, its the wise practice that makes a new hire feel like part of the team from the get-go.

Illustration above by Dashk/ Illustrations below by Nicholette Haigler.

In today's very tight veterinary job market, high turnover can crush productivity and increase stress in an already stressful environment. It can also put your practice on the fast track to reduced revenue. The best way to shut the revolving door in your practice is to welcome and train new employees thoughtfully and methodically. After all, there is a clear correlation between practices with low staff turnover and those that invest in their staff from the outset.

New employee orientation is so much more than showing someone where to park and filling out paperwork. It's more than checklists and passwords, new rules and new friends. New employee orientation is a process that should last several weeks and involve your whole team.

Let's face it. Most practices are interviewing precious few viable candidates for their open positions, so when you do manage to snag a good one, you want her to stay for the long haul. Read on to learn how.

And even if you missed the onboarding and training boat for your most recent hires, it's not too late. Start training new team members (and staff who aren't all that new anymore) today with these six can't-miss articles.

Oh, and happy hiring!

Well, hello!

The best greeting you can extend to new employees is a thorough training and orientation program. The more time you spend on these crucial introductory steps, the more likely your new hire is to stick around-and flourish. Here are five ways to provide an environment that sets your new team members up to succeed.


That's hot

Your newest employee has jumped through all the hoops of the hiring process, and she seems like the perfect fit for your practice. Fast forward six weeks, and she suddenly stops showing up for work. Now you're looking for your next great team member and asking yourself, “What went wrong?” Sound familiar? If you're sick of getting burned by departing team members, take the time to evaluate how you're welcoming new hires. (Hint: It's a multistage process.)

Don't let ‘em down

“Our new hires are only as good as we make them,” says Ernie Ward, DVM. His advice to veterinary practice owners and managers? Don't let down new team members. Make your staff the best it can be through thoughtful preparation and leadership. Dr. Ward provides a detailed guide on how to lead and motivate new team members to achieve their potential.


Going one on one

A veterinary practice can only thrive with well-trained team members. Staff training needs to be both effective and ongoing-and should begin from the time the new employee accepts the job. Here are loads of tips about individual training for new hires, including sample initial goals for your next new team member.


Chug along to get along

Practice manager Alex Espinosa says developing confident, knowledgeable team members who will stick with you for years is priceless, but it takes some time and effort. Using a train (get it?) metaphor, he outlines two training processes that were a disaster for him and one that eliminated turnover in his practice altogether.


Beat the heat

It should come as no surprise that companies that continually rank as the most “customer-oriented” are also the ones that have very in-depth staff orientation and training programs. To train your team right and stay ahead of turnover in your practice, check out these nuggets of know-how-from leadership support and individual learning styles to onboarding tips and training schedules.


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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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