As we discussed in a previous article, our vet leaders play a huge role in supporting our veterinarians. Creating a positive experience for new veterinarians is an important part of the orientation process and, this time of the year, they devote a considerable amount of time to helping practices with their new hire orientation plans. As part of that, they share ideas, provide best practices, and collaborate to help practice teams provide the best onboarding experience possible.
We talked with two of our vet leaders, Drs. Sara Mey and Kienan Gold, about how they have been able to improve the onboarding process for new veterinarians and recent graduates alike and their answers were full of great insight. When asked about what the goal of perfecting the onboarding process was, Dr. Mey said that her team wanted to “give the Chiefs of Staff some structure and guidance, provide them with information about how to handle day one, let them know about what issues to look out for, and give them advice about how to best connect with new hires.”
First impressions are important - and so is setting a positive tone from the start. For new grads, in particular, the first two or three months at their first job can be like drinking from a firehose. They have to create a schedule that works for them, respond to a number of client questions and concerns, and get to know the ins and outs of their individual practice - all while navigating a brand new environment. Because all of our vet leaders were once in that position, they understand what it’s like and have come up with some tips for our Chiefs of Staff across the country.
When discussing how to make a new grad most comfortable during the onboarding process and beyond, Dr. Gold had some wonderful ideas. He suggested giving them concrete appointment slots to help them build up their relationships with clients, starting them off with common surgeries, such as spays and neuters, and throwing them a welcome party to take off the pressure and give existing team members the chance to get to know their new coworker. He emphasized that the way a team responds to a new hire “is going to come from the top down,” so it’s essential for Chiefs of Staff to lead with positivity and interest.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mey discussed how crucial it is for practice leaders to prepare in advance for the arrival of a new veterinarian or recent grad. One such way Chiefs of Staff can prepare, she said, is by making sure their teams understand that getting established as a veterinarian can be difficult at first and encouraging them to be empathetic and offer help when they can. However, the preparation aspect also includes logistics - like where the new employee should park, having a name tag ready for them, discussing their hours, making them comfortable with practice software and DEA protocols, introducing them to Dayforce, and giving them time to hop on calls to learn more about their employee benefits.
In conjunction with the rest of the veterinary leadership team, Drs. Mey and Gold have added so much value to both our Vet Life program and our onboarding process. With their continued guidance and dedication to constant improvement, we’re able to commit to making sure life is better here for everyone - whether they’re an existing employee or a new hire.