Prioritize your veterinary team’s health for practice success
By John Lacy, Chief Human Resources Officer at AmeriVet Veterinary Partners
Ways to Foster Mental Health Support at Your Veterinary Practice
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we, as leaders in the veterinary industry, must understand the significance of creating sustainable business practices that promote both physical and mental health and wellness for our staff. This topic is of the utmost importance for the safety and successful treatment of our patients and pet parents and, ultimately, the health of our business.
Mental health concerns are common among veterinarians and practice staff, as caring for animals can often be mentally and emotionally demanding. Without a supportive work environment, issues such as burnout, stress, depression, and anxiety can arise. Therefore, it is crucial to create a supportive workplace that fosters a sense of belonging—starting from leadership at the top—and invests in the psychological safety of its team.
Evaluate Psychological Safety and Lead with Self-Care
To mitigate stress in your veterinary practice, engage your team through a culture of shared tasks and responsibility for problem-solving. My advice to leaders and managers of veterinary practices is to be careful not to unconsciously become the source or cause of stress. Leaders must ask themselves, "How do I create and promote psychological safety?” Well, it comes down to your leadership style. Instead of telling people what to do, lead by positive inquiry—questioning and empowering your team to share ideas and feedback in the workplace. Start by inviting team members to engage in collective problem-solving tactics. Present the issue and ask the team for their thoughts on how to solve it.
As your practice moves through busy seasons, here are a few tips for creating a positive, productive, and psychologically safe environment:
- Host regular checkins with your team. Meet with your team members one-on-one regularly to check in on how they are doing, what they are working on, and how you can better support them as their leader.
- Create a culture of open dialogue. Open conversations build team engagement. Welcome discussion about topics that take place outside the work environment.
- Encourage your team to do something they love. Balancing work and personal life is complicated. Learn about your team members’ passions and encourage them to engage in those activities. When you spend time doing something you love, dealing with stress is more manageable.
- Lead by example. Demonstrate the practice of self-care so your staff will feel comfortable doing so as well. Be open about your mental well-being. Help dispel any negative stigmas and encourage counseling or speaking with a professional.
At AmeriVet, Promoting Workplace Well-being is Non-Negotiable
When choosing to partner with AmeriVet, this is an essential topic of discussion. What I learned was that at AmeriVet, employee well-being is a top priority. We fully understand the importance of supporting our team members' physical and mental health. We promote workplace well-being by creating an environment that emphasizes emotional support and understanding while encouraging employees to prioritize their mental health needs. At AmeriVet, we help develop a culture of learning and trust across our veterinary teams, ensuring everyone remains healthy and happy at work. That fits our practice culture perfectly.