Veterinary Practice and Quiet Quitting

By First Financial Bank
Quiet quitting could be negatively affecting your veterinary practice. Learn what quiet quitting is and how you can manage your employees more effectively.

If you haven’t heard of quiet quitting, it is time to pay attention to this phenomenon that has been gaining a lot of attention lately. Managing a veterinary practice is more challenging than ever, with common problems of poor staff retention, competition, and missed appointments. Clients who don’t follow your advice and stay abreast of new treatments and care can be difficult.

You are a veterinarian because you care about and want to work with animals. However, much of your practice involves dealing with people: your customers and your staff. Quiet quitting can be managed if you understand what it is and how it affects the quality and success of your veterinary practice.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is when employees do the minimum to keep their jobs and are uninvolved and disengaged from their responsibilities. Remember when work culture was characterized by long hours and going above and beyond in service to the company? During the pandemic, many employees re-evaluated their work/life balance and revolted against the notion that work is everything. Hence, the idea of quiet quitting emerged.

If quiet quitting is happening in your veterinary practice, it could have far-reaching effects on the stability and health of your business. The last thing you need is the added stress of dissatisfied front-line staff you depend upon to keep your customers happy.

How to Recognize Quiet Quitting in Your Veterinary Practice

Recognizing quiet quitting in your veterinary practice is the first step to addressing the underlying problem and solving the issues that lead to quiet quitting. Here are some things to look for:

  • Lack of interest in the team – Like so many businesses, a veterinary practice is a team endeavor. New processes, treatments, and approaches need everyone’s involvement and buy-in. If you have an employee who doesn’t show interest, they could be quiet quitting.
  • Operating in survival mode – Employees who work in survival mode don’t have the time or energy to connect with practice values. Survival mode could be related to an increased workload, lack of support, or personal issues.
  • Absenteeism – Excessive absences from work could be due to burnout or factors outside the workplace, either of which is cause for concern and intervention.
  • A negative attitude – Negative attitudes can affect every aspect of your veterinary practice. What does a negative attitude look like? It could be visible frustration with your customers or a short fuse when working with animals. Patience is critical to working effectively and compassionately with people and animals.

Reasons for Quiet Quitting in Your Veterinary Practice

Quiet quitting in veterinary practice affects everyone, including your veterinarians. According to, a lack of work-life balance is the top reason why veterinarians leave a practice—overworking and exhaustion are among the biggest contributors to both quiet quitting and actual quitting. As a veterinary practice manager, the buck stops with you, so the responsibility for employees quiet quitting is on you, as unpleasant as this is to consider. Let’s take a closer look at why this might be happening:

  • You push them too hard – Having expectations is necessary and appropriate, but burnout and disengagement can result when you push employees by demanding overtime or expecting them to pick up the slack when you are short-staffed.
  • Recognition is not commensurate with effort – When you ask employees to work overtime or assume additional duties, recognition of those efforts can make a huge difference. But unless the recognition is accompanied by a foundation of robust employee pay and benefits, it probably won’t make much of a difference.
  • No ladder for improvement or advancement – An undervalued and unappreciated aspect of any job is learning. Even if there is no room for advancement, people love to improve their skills. There are few worse aspects of a job than feeling like it is a dead end.
What to Do about Quiet Quitting

As busy as you are, managing quiet quitting by changing policies and structures will ultimately strengthen your business. Of all the jobs one can pursue, veterinary medicine is a calling to relieve the suffering of animals. If your employees are quiet quitting, it is unlikely that they no longer like working with animals—rather, it is probably due to the veterinary practice management. Employee engagement strategies can include:

  • Building a Relationship with Your Employees – Checking in with your employees helps you learn who they are, what is going on in their lives, and what is important to them.
  • Evaluating Your Policies – Ask yourself questions like, “Is my compensation package adequate? “Am I doing my best to retain my good employees? Are the hours I expect my employees to work excessive?”
  • Empowering Your Team – When people feel they have talent and expertise to offer, they are happier. Ask your employees what training is important to them and make it happen.
  • Assessing Your Recognition Efforts – Telling someone they have done a good job is not sufficient. Collaborate with your employees to create a meaningful recognition program that will genuinely make them feel appreciated.
  • Hiring More Help – Working with a skeleton crew may seem like a necessity, but if you are concerned about the cost of additional employees, know that it may be far more costly to put pressure on existing employees. Consider hiring staff to help during hectic times of the year.

Veterinary Practice Management and Quiet Quitting

Your success as a veterinary practice manager or owner depends on many factors, and the job can sometimes be overwhelming. Recognizing quiet quitting and working on ways to prevent it will strengthen your business. Your employees should be an asset to your practice, not a liability. If you take the time to make sure they’re not overworked, burnt out, or underappreciated, you’ll go a long way toward preventing quiet quitting and the negative impact it can have on your veterinary practice.

Looking for other ideas for making your teamwork more effective? Check out this article. Want to chat about your plans to grow your business? Let’s talk.

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