If you own or manage a veterinary practice, you are a leader. People look to you for guidance, support, a stable work environment, a regular paycheck… But, you’re responsible for a lot more than that. You are responsible for doing what you can to make your team feel happy, engaged, and involved at work.

It sounds like a daunting task, I know. You might be thinking, How on earth can I possibly make my employees happy? Isn’t that some sort of innate quality? 

Well, it’s true that there are some people who tend to be unhappy and perpetuate negativity. But, that’s the exception, not the norm. (And, you should probably avoid having those kinds of people on your team.) For everyone else, there’s one simple thing you can do that will help them to be happier, more engaged, and more involved at work: recognize them.

“There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.” —Mary Kay Ash

Humans want to be recognized for their achievements and the work they do. Don’t wait until an employee’s review to tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her every time you see her do a great job. Don’t wait until a staff meeting to tell the team that they’re killing it. Tell them every time you see them working hard and achieving great results. Pay attention. Recognize hard work, good decisions, extra effort, exceptional outcomes… Tell (and show!) your team that you are grateful for them.

When employee recognition becomes engrained in your veterinary practice’s culture, everyone wins.

Winner #1: Your team

When employees are recognized and feel valued, they become happier and feel like an important part of their organization. They trust their employer and colleagues, and enjoy improved overall well-being as a result.

Winner #2: Your practice

When employees are happier, they’re more engaged and invested in the practice’s success. They are more productive and do higher quality work, which leads to improved service and medical care, which leads to increased business success and growth (see #3 below). Happy employees don’t want to leave, so your practice will experience decreased employee turnover, which means you’ll spend fewer resources—time, money, patience, etc.—trying to replace team members who have left.

Winner #3: Your patients and clients

When your team is happier, more engaged, more productive, and more invested in your practice’s success, your clients will feel the difference every time they walk in your doors. They’ll receive better service from people who are smiling and happy to be there. They’ll watch your happy team interact with their pets and have confidence that their pets are receiving the best care from the most compassionate veterinary professionals. They’ll know that your team doesn’t just talk the talk about providing exceptional medicine—you all walk the walk, from the client care representatives to the technicians and assistants to the doctors and managers.

Winner #4: You

This one is simple: It feels good to be nice to people and to recognize them when they do well.


It’s the season of giving thanks and spreading happiness and cheer. Express your gratitude to your team often, recognize their hard work, and it’ll be a win-win-win-win.


Struggling to create the veterinary team of your dreams? Wish you had a team that you could be confident in and that you could praise often for their good work? Building a self-reliant, high-functioning team starts with YOU. Learn how to build your dream team in 2022: Join the waiting list for my Relationship Centered Practice Academy now.