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Staff engagement – more jargon or something else?

Staff engagement – it’s a term that is being increasingly bandied around in HR circles. But what does it really mean? Is it simply another buzz phrase, such as the interminable ‘blue sky thinking’, the irritating ‘reach out’ and the baffling ‘helicopter view’, or does it actually have ‘value-add’?

Two-way commitment

Engagement is a concept based on a two-way commitment between employee and employer. The days of the employer having the upper hand and the employee being grateful for the job are over. These days, employees expect more from their job than simply punching the timecard and showing up for a day of tedium and unappreciated drudgery. They want to feel as though what they’re doing actually makes a difference. An employee should not be dreading coming into the Practice; they should be looking forward to all they’re going to achieve that day, thinking about how they can make processes more efficient and practices more effective. For that to happen, employees need a Practice that allows them to develop their skills and demonstrate their knowledge, openly appreciates their efforts and supports their overall development. In return, they’ll work diligently, conscientiously and often go above and beyond the general call of duty. In order to instil this level of commitment, Practices must strive to ensure their staff is ‘engaged’.

The result of this industry is increased productivity; after all, a happy staff is a productive staff. If all employees are working well, then the Practice works cohesively, with everyone pulling in the same direction to make it more successful. Productivity increases, invariably customer satisfaction also increases, and therefore turnover increases. And herein is the ‘value-add’.

Get your staff ‘engaged’

So, what are the key requisites to getting staff ‘engaged’ with your Practice?

  • Tell them what the Practice is trying to achieve and how – the core values and the ethos that must be upheld. If employees tap into your values, they have something to believe in.
  • Tell each staff member how they fit into the plan for the business – giving them direction gives them a purpose and allows them to see their place in the ‘big picture’.
  • Talk to your staff – ask for their ideas. Not everyone thinks the same way and someone may come up with a solution you’ve not thought of. In addition, asking for their thoughts shows you value their opinions.
  • Give them feedback – let them know when they’ve done something well. Advise them if they get something wrong. It lets them know you value them enough to help them do better. Say thank you should an employee stay late, handle a tricky situation, come up with a solution, or find a better way of managing a process. Show them you appreciate their contribution.
  • Find out what they would like to achieve at your Practice and work to help them do it – chances are their goals will benefit the Practice. For example, support for studying financials, or with time off, perhaps, for a physiotherapy course, canine or equine massage therapy. Perhaps they want to volunteer for overseas work requiring a sabbatical. With support, these employees will devote their own energies to learning and developing their skills, and in return, bring those back to the Practice.

A feeling of teamwork and well-being

When staff members are engaged with their roles, it generates a feeling of teamwork and general well-being. An added bonus is a reduction in staff turnover – and recruiting whilst trying to run a Practice is usually an unwanted lengthy and sometimes expensive distraction! So, let your employees know they’re making a difference and that it’s appreciated and watch the ‘value-add’ take care of itself.

  • Pet Medic Recruitment is a leading recruiter for the veterinary industry and supplies staff nationwide, including part time, full time, Locum, and permanent roles. For more information on any of our services or if you’re looking for a new opportunity, please get in touch with us at