Welcoming a new hire to your veterinary team


Q. Our practice just hired a new person who's replacing an employee who was very close to all her coworkers. How do I ensure my employees are warm and welcoming to the new hire?

On the surface, this would seem like a relatively easy transition—we all know the people in our lives keep changing, so why would it be hard to welcome someone new? But human emotions are unpredictable and often these transitions can hide stronger currents of loss and fear of change, says Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and owner of McVey Management Solutions in Austin, Texas.

"Remember that all people take about six weeks to adjust emotionally to any kind of change—even good change," McVey says. You can help your team members through this process by being upfront and candid about the change and helping manage their reaction.

"Explain that it's natural to miss their former colleague and empathize with those feelings, but tell them that you expect them to be hospitable to the new employee," McVey says. Tell your employees that a smooth transition is in the best interest of the animals and the clients.

"Tell them you're counting on them to handle things professionally," McVey says. And if someone slips up and gets snarky with the new employee, hold them accountable by confronting them and insisting they apologize and change their attitude.

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