Much has been written about building a great company culture during the past several years, including within the Veterinary profession. That’s because company culture has become more important, especially in light of an ongoing talent shortage and the tremendous leverage that top candidates have in the job market.
When you read these articles, you’ll see many of the same things discussed—diversity, inclusion, schedule flexibility, remote work (in some cases), career development opportunities, etc. While it’s true that all of these things are important and all of them do contribute to a healthy and attractive company culture, they don’t mean much unless other things exist at the organization.
There are certain things that an organization must have if it wants to build and maintain not just a good company culture, but a great one. This is the type of culture about which employees will want to tell their friends and family. It’s the type of culture that will help your organization create a stellar employer brand and reputation within the profession.
With all of this in mind, below are the four big keys to building a great company culture, including within the Veterinary profession:
Employees want to feel as though they are respected in the workplace. This includes being respected by both their co-workers and also the members of management. Even if they’re not the one being disrespected, they still do not want to see it happen to someone else at the organization. It’s unfortunate enough when pet owners and customers disrespect Veterinary staff, but it’s even worse when the disrespect originates from within.
In the past, our firm, The VET Recruiter, has conducted a survey of Veterinary professionals. As part of that survey, we ask them what is most important to them in a job opportunity and employer. “Being treated with respect” is always among the top answers, if not the top answer. There are multiple ways that an organization can show respect to its employees.
An organization should solicit the opinion of their employees and listen to their input. Another way is to make time for their employees and spend time with them, both formally and informally. And the most important way might be to make sure that everyone within the organization is treated equally and fairly. Employees do not like to see other people receiving preferential treatment.
And speaking of preferential treatment, employees definitely do not like seeing their co-workers receiving such treatment in this area. Most employees do not mind being held accountable in the workplace, especially top employees. However, they DO mind if colleagues or co-workers are getting away with things and not being held accountable for them. Or even worse, if members of management are not being held accountable, either.
A great company culture is one in which everyone is held accountable, both for what they do and what they don’t do, and they’re held accountable fairly and equitably. You cannot hold one employee accountable, but not another, regardless of their role or how much value—perceived or otherwise—they contribute to the organization. Accountability is something that must be modeled and reinforced from the “top down,” starting with the members of management.
This key is also something that must be modeled from the “top down.” What this means is that people want their employers to be open and honest with them. At some organizations, officials expect this of their employees, but they do not reciprocate, which means those organizations are not an “employer of choice.” The members of management should be modeling this behavior for everyone, because that’s what leaders do. They model the type of behavior they want to see from their team, and they set an example.
To build a great company culture, you cannot withhold important information from employees. Employees, including top employees, know that they can’t be involved in every single decision that the organization makes or even know about every decision as it’s being made. However, they expect to be “kept in the loop” regarding all major decisions and developments regarding the organization and that affect them and their employment.
The first three keys on this list all lead to this one, which represents the biggest key to building a great company culture. It is a non-negotiable key. It means you can offer all the PTO and schedule flexibility in the world, but if there is no trust within the organization, then you do not have a great company culture. It’s actually a simple equation: employees must trust the members of management and the members of management must trust the employees. Without this mutual trust, the culture cannot thrive.
When respect permeates all levels of the organization, the employees will trust the members of management. When everyone within the organization is held accountable and they’re held to the same level of accountability, the employees will trust the members of management. When the members of management model transparency from the “top down,” the employees will trust them. You can see why trust is the most important key on this list and the one to which all other keys lead.
These are the four keys to building a great company culture and an exceptional employer brand and becoming an “employer of choice” within the Veterinary profession. And with the shortage of talent that currently exists in the job market and will likely continue to exist throughout all of 2023, a great company culture is integral to being able to attract, hire, and retain top talent.
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.