Staff relations chief concern of veterinary professionals

Amid a slew of professional struggles ranging from inventory management to exit strategy and gross income, veterinary professionals say that establishing a healthy work environment for staff tops the list of issues that keep them up at night.

This is according to a recent survey by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), which asked workers in the practice management field the question"What keeps you awake at night?"

Staff training, staff scheduling, and staff relations topped the list of issues veterinary professionals said they worried about most.

"The results provide insights into the industry topics that will require attention over the coming months and years," the VHMA said in releasing the survey results.

Respondents also indicated profit margin, burnout, and client retention as additional key concerns.

Worries varied between types of respondents. Among practice and office managers, issues such as staff training, profit margin, cash flow and staff relations topped the list, while 30 percent of associate veterinarians indicated client retention as their chief concern.

Staff relations also dominated the concerns of hospital administrators, while 47 percent of practice owners indicated profit margin as their top concern.

"While those in management positions may fret about how to provide the resources to offer training, employees are interested in ensuring that opportunities to enhance their skills are available," the VHMA said about the survey.

The VHMA asked about a variety of issues ranging from profit margin, cash flow, budget management and gross income to maintaining policies and procedures, inventory management and controls, employee theft/shrinkage, and marketing efforts.

By first identifying key issues facing veterinary professionals, Executive Director Christine Shupe, CAE says the VHMA plans to find ways of addressing top practice management concerns facing the industry.

"When we introduced the survey, the association’s goal was to provide a good baseline analysis of where the profession currently is and what changes are needed," Shupe said. "The results indicate that for any practice to function effectively, the needs and issues of a diverse group of stakeholders those holding various positions within the practice must be addressed."

The survey was completed by 1,190 veterinarians, practice managers, office managers, technicians, hospital administrators, owners, receptionists and students. Associate veterinarians, hospital administrators, practice managers, office managers, and practice owners made up 66 percent of the respondents.