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A good working environment isn’t just about the workplace and the equipment, it’s about the people we work with and how well we support each other. This is particularly important in veterinary practice, where stakes and emotions are often high. Follow these tips to achieve a better working environment for everyone.

Focus on compliments, not complaints

Focusing on positive rather than negative feedback is vital to remind staff that their work has value. Praise is not insignificant. If a client says something positive, write it down and feed it back to the team. Vets who lose sight of the purpose of their work are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and burnout.

Set a direction

Relatedly, people feel better when they have a firm sense of direction Set clear goals and objectives, have regular 1:1s and empower your people to work independently.

Get people involved

Include colleagues in decision-making as much as possible to make sure they feel respected. Consider having a suggestion box everyone can contribute to–and then actually consider the suggestions.

Give support

In the vet industry, it’s easy to feel lost and unsupported by management or senior staff. Make sure you’re approachable and available to your people, not only at the start but throughout their careers. Experienced vets transitioning to a higher level of responsibility may need support and mentoring just as much as new graduates.

Keep mental health in mind

Studies show that people feel happier at work when they feel valued and respected, and are supported by colleagues and managers. Nurturing mental health is particularly important in the vet industry, where stress, burnout and high employee turnover are common.

Work to create a culture of openness where people feel safe to speak up if they’re unhappy or stressed. Make sure you have  a clear mental health policy and an employee assistance programme (EAP) in place, and offer managers training in mental health awareness.

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