Being an HR Manager in the Vet Industry

Bek Staff With Dog

If you’ve ever worked with a Human Resources Representative, or have thought about what a HR Manager does, you probably have this idea in your head that they are big and scary and only need to talk to you when there is an issue with your performance, or you’re being fired.

And that’s truly what I thought HR Managers did as well, and it was what I was trained to do throughout university or my work, and is what I still continue to be taught while I study my Masters – that HR only intervenes when there is an issue.

While this may be enough in other industries – in the veterinary profession, this could not be further from the truth. 

Yes, HR Managers do hire and fire so to speak. And they will be involved in your performance, whether this be performance reviews, expectations, issues, or goals. They will, at times, have serious conversations with you if you breach protocols or are underperforming, but they will also (hopefully) have some really positive conversations with you when you reach a milestone, kick a goal or go above and beyond.

In such a challenging industry, where companies are plagued with burnout and high suicide rates, clients that guilt vets and their support staff if they cannot afford treatment, euthanising animals that could be saved, stressful emergencies and a whole host of occupational hazards amongst other things, a big and scary HR Manager who hires and fires, is not going to help. So, HR Managers in the veterinary industry, or people in similar roles, need to do more to support their staff.

While the veterinarians and their support staff are there to support the animals on their journey, a HR Manager is there to support the people.Click To Tweet

Without that support, it can be really difficult for these professionals to perform their role to a high standard, often getting bogged down in the “non-vet” aspects of the role. A HR Manager is there to bridge the relationship between owners and the staff, opening the communication lines to discuss ideas, problems, solutions or changes. Owners can be really scary, particularly if they don’t typically work alongside the staff, so having an accessible pathway to change or addressing issues is vital.

At university, I am currently being taught that HR Managers work for their employer – which they do, because without supporting your boss, you won’t have a job. But I am also being taught to only work for the employer, and to an extent, disregard staff. I believe that HR Managers work for both staff and employers equally, because without your staff, you won’t have staff able to keep the company operational.

Therefore, as a HR Manager in a vet clinic, my typical day-to-day involves checking in on my staff and listening to their concerns – whether they want to talk about work, or personal issues or problems within the company. It is equally important that when staff raise concerns, as a manager that you actively listen and take the feedback on board, with the aim to make changes that better the company as a whole.

HR Managers, or managers in general, are vital to the culture and support networks in vet clinics, and in the end, ensuring that staff have the resources, training and support to successfully complete their tasks. If you are a HR, practice, operations or business manager working in the veterinary industry, I encourage you to do more, be better and be a part of this change within the industry.

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The Vet Practice is a privately-owned, one-of-a-kind animal hospital offering a wide array of advanced veterinary services, fascinating medical cases, and access to superior technologies and unique resources.