Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the GeniusVets show for veterinary practice owners and industry pros. I'm your host David Hall, and co-founder of GeniusVets. This week, I'm going to be going over a presentation that I've been presenting for the past several months that has really just gotten tremendous feedback from veterinary practice owners and managers. Something that is built on strategies we've been utilizing for years with veterinary practices from around the country to help them attract doctors and staff. This is probably one of the issues that I would estimate you're probably dealing with in your practice, as most veterinary practices around the country are. Trying to attract doctors and staff still to deal with the growth over the past few years, and finding that it's a little bit difficult. It's a little difficult to find those doctors and staff for most practices. But this is something that consistently GeniusVets clients have had a lot of success with, and that's because we have developed this series of strategies that just really kind of do the trick. That attracts more applicants, that gets more people interested in joining your practice. So that's exactly what I'm going to take you through today.
The point of this is, we're going to be talking about communication strategies. We're going to be talking about how communication strategies can help you cultivate workplace satisfaction, which is the number one thing you need to do. Make your practice a desirable place to work. There's some real concrete tactical steps that you can take to do that. So first, you need to take an internal inventory of, is this a place that somebody would really want to work? Then we need to communicate that to the world, right? We're going to help you understand the steps to attracting and retaining doctors and staff. A lot of this goes in the same stuff as delivering outstanding customer service. Ultimately, it's about increasing profitability.
Cultivating Workplace Satisfaction
In this first big section here, we're going to talk about cultivating workplace satisfaction. There's a 10 step process to cultivating workplace satisfaction. By the way, this isn't just something that I've made up, or GeniusVets that we just pulled out thin air or that is theoretical. This really comes from my co-founding partner, Dr. Michele Drake, who founded the Drake Center for Veterinary Care in Encinitas, California, widely known as a top performing veterinary practice. She has been recognized, and applauded, and lifted up as having created an incredible culture in her practice. They practice medicine at a very high level. They have an incredible team culture. They never have problems attracting doctors and staff. They run the place like a very well run business, a well-oiled machine. Everybody loves each other there. They get along. It's really incredible.
This really comes from the foundation that Dr. Drake laid for her own program. It's been refined as well over years of working with hundreds of veterinary practices around the country. To help them go through these steps, getting their feedback on what worked for them, and all of that. The stuff that we're going to go through these 10 steps is really tried and true. Step number one is all about the owner's vision and plan. A small business owner. They start a business and then do not realize that there's 85 different jobs, and they have to get people into doing them, and then they end up spending so much time working in the business, drifting away from working on the business. Does this sound familiar? Working from the start of the day to the end of the day, putting out fires, just doing the jobs and tasks, and keeping it running, and not really taking the time to step outside the practice and work on the business.
It's so common in the life of entrepreneurs of small to midsize businesses. But the only way to go from a small business, to a mid-size business, to a large business is to create structure and to work on the business. It's so important to stay in that mind frame as a practice owner where you're taking yourself outside of the practice occasionally. Stepping out for half hour to an hour, once a week, even a couple hours once or twice a month to sit down and just take out a pen and paper and, where is the business at? What really is going on? What are the strengths, opportunities, threats, weaknesses? Do a quick SWOT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Look at what are the things that you want to improve and you want to implement? What are the projects you currently have going, and are they making progress? Do you have the right people in place to do the things that you want to do?
Ultimately, always constantly realign with that north star vision of what you really want for the practice, so that you can go back with a fresh set of eyes and delegate to your team in a productive way. Step one is making sure that the owner has a vision and plan that is current, that is always being worked on, and that's living, and breathing, and alive and well. It wasn't just created one time as an idea, and written down somewhere, and put on a shelf, and forgotten about. Something that you're always cultivating.
Establishing a Leadership Team
Next is really establishing a leadership team. With that leadership team, establishing mission and values, and really making sure that you're well aligned on the mission and values of the veterinary practice. When it comes to this topic of having a leadership team, so many veterinary practices, basically all practices when they start, starting as a single doctor practice, looking to put on a second, third, fourth doctor. All of these businesses start as what's called the hub and spoke wheel concept where the owner is the hub, and everybody else in the practice is like a spoke on that wheel. They all just come back. They can't make decisions on their own. They have to come back and check with the owner for everything. That is how so many small businesses overall are run.
That's not really a business. It's really everybody who has a job, and that's it. It's a bunch of jobs. To have a business, the job of a business owner is to replace themselves. To work themselves out of a job, so that they ultimately in the end aren't on the org chart. Because everybody on the org chart is doing their job. The owner is above the business, is looking at the business and making sure that it's running, but isn't actually the person who's responsible for every last detail or executing any of those things.
In order to get from the early stages to these later stages, it's critically important to put a leadership team in place. To put people in place who those responsibilities can be delegated to. Not just a task delegation, "Hey, go do this task," but a decision framework delegation. Establishing a leadership team is so important, and you can go departmental. Usually there's a leadership team when you'd have administration, front desk, back of the house, the boarding or whatever, and then you'd have a leader from surgery, a leader of the doctors, techs. Depending on the size of your practice. The larger and more complex that your staff and departmental structure are, obviously the more leaders that you're going to need.
It is very important that you establish this leadership structure, and that then you work with these leaders to say, "Hey, what is the mission, values, and culture that we want to cultivate here, that we want to establish?" Mission is something that most small business owners write down a mission statement on day one when they start a business and then it's another one of those things they put on a shelf in a book somewhere, and it never sees a light today. It’s really important that that mission is pulled off the shelf and put right in front of everybody's face, is kept in front of everybody's face, and is pointed to constantly as the north star that we're going for so that, in the course of a day, in the course of business in weeks and months, as you drift from one side to the other, you can really easily realign and make sure everybody's going the same direction.
The next thing is, once you get the leadership team aligned around the mission, the values, the culture and you get very specific about how you want to do that, about what you're going for, you have to get buy-in from the team. There's an incredible activity. There are many ways that you could go about doing this. This is one of these things, building a culture and recognizing the importance of a great culture in a business and the impact that that can have.
This is something that over the past about seven or eight years has really come to the forefront as more people have recognized that a good culture is good business. A good culture drops to the bottom line. That employees, the people who work for your business more so now than ever before, has been brought to overall awareness that people have a choice in where they want to work. Whatever type of work someone wants to do, there's usually a lot of different options in terms of employers and businesses who do that type of work. Especially in an environment today where it's a bit of a buyer's market, if you will, the employees are in such need and demand that they can pick and choose where they want to go. The compensation, pay scale structure for that position is largely going to be very similar, within similar ranges. So what's the big difference in choosing one place or another place? Well, do you vibe with it? Does it have the culture and the people that you really want want to feel connected with?
The number one correlation to workplace satisfaction in all employment surveys over the past several years has been, does that employee feel like their own passions, purpose, and values that they aspire towards, do they feel aligned with the business in that regard? Do they feel like you're going the same direction, like their daily job is allowing them to live out that mission and purpose? That's what people care about in today's workforce more than anything else. By taking some time to really focus on this, cultivate this, and bring it together, it's incredibly impactful.
There's been a lot of studies done and a lot of people talking about this over the past several years. It's something that is pretty easy to agree upon. Most people who talk about it don't actually give you the tactical steps one, two, three in how you can do this in your practice. That is something that Dr. Drake developed and established within her own practice, and that we have made available as a staff culture workshop. A workshop that you actually would do in a staff meeting with your team, in order to identify what are these cultural traits and attributes that everyone's going to align around, and everyone is going to agree that you're going to use as your guardrails for how you behave, and for what you do, and what you're striving to do and achieve. What you really care about.
It's a great activity. I really want to encourage you to watch and go through that video. We are going to send it to everyone who's registered for the webinar, we are going to go ahead and send a link to that. If you're listening to this on the podcast, what you want to do is go to geniusvets.com/culture. We have made this workshop free. It was originally sponsored for us to build it. It was sponsored by Merck Animal Health. Merck sent myself and Dr. Drake around the country to speak to groups of veterinarians many times, and they saw such value in this information, and got such great feedback from practice owners and managers saying, "This was the best exercise ever. This really improved our staff. This has been great." The good people at Merck Animal Health sponsored us to create a video and turn that workshop into something really accessible. So it's available to you, just go to geniusvets.com/culture and check that out.
This is an activity that you want to do. Again, first the owner's going to check it out and then go over it with the leadership team. "Hey, this is what we're looking to do." Then get together with the whole staff and a staff meeting. There's a whiteboard exercise. You want to get everybody to participate, and in the end, you end up with a new set of terminology that is going to bring everyone together. It's a really beautiful thing. So check that out, do the team activity.
Next, once you really understand who you are, what the culture is, what you're striving towards. You want to, with your leadership team, look at your policies and procedures in the hospital. Is everything actually aligned with that? Are you actually behaving in ways and have you created structure for how people are supposed to go about doing their jobs, that reflect the values and the cultural terminology that you're aspiring towards? Is that really reflected in every aspect of the business?
You're going to find places that it's not. You're going to find places where you're like, "Actually, maybe we should rethink this a little bit. Actually, maybe we can structure this differently a little bit." So it's important to do that so that everyone feels, "Oh hey, this isn't just something we're saying. This is something we are taking steps to live out." And that again, gets that buy-in. It's really important there. Look through those policies and procedures.
Next, it's important as you establish this leadership team, and as you really look throughout the org chart and your practice, you'll want to allow your staff to take more ownership and accountability over their positions. One of the biggest things that people today in workplace satisfaction surveys use as complaints, and this is the number one reason why vet techs, which we need so many more vet techs in veterinary medicine. Yet we have vet techs that are leaving the profession, almost as fast as they're coming into it.
That's because so many of the places where they go to work, they're not allowed to be and do everything that they thought they were going to be able to do by becoming a vet tech. I mean, they generally go into that profession feeling like they're going to be the counterpart to what nurses are in a human doctor's practice. We don't see the doctors when you go in for a health check. I don't know about you, but the last few doctors I've seen go in, I don't see the doctor all that much. But the nurses, they're in there and they're doing the majority of the stuff. A lot of times, in a veterinary practice, they don't get to do that. They don't get delegated to as much.
Not only is that detrimental to their own workplace satisfaction. It also really hurts the efficiency in the practice. When it comes to bottom line profitability, what you want to make sure is that every job in the practice, every function, every task is being performed by the lowest paid employee who is capable of doing that task. Two things happen. Number one, it's a smarter use of funds, right? Allocate and get things done less expensively. Number two, it elevates those people and gives them the opportunity to step up and feel more satisfaction, feel more importance and purpose in what they're doing. And it inspires them to take that next step, to step up, and to be and do better. You just get a wonderful set of things when you delegate and allow people to do that stuff. Allow them to take responsibility for their area, and you're going to see a lot of improvement.
Next, seeking and welcoming team feedback. This is an important thing to do, and most businesses do this in some way. I have talked to too many veterinary practices that don't do this at all. So if you're not doing this actively in your practice, I really would encourage you to. Even if it's a suggestion box, honestly, it’s that simple.
Active employee surveys. Sitting down and doing one-on-ones with employees where you really open it up, and allow them to speak freely, and feel like it's a safe space so that you can get real feedback about what's going on. If you're going to do it that way, it's what's going on in the practice and perhaps what's going on in their own life to make sure that their job is working for them overall with what they're trying to accomplish in their life.
Seeking and welcoming that team feedback, it can be incredibly impactful. Even when, you'll see a small complaint or suggestion is made. And when they see it implemented and feel that their feedback matters, again, such buy-in. You get such buy-in from that. So it's a great thing. Next, reinforcing the culture and adherence to policies. This is where you kind of look at these new cultural policies, these new aspirational things that you're telling everyone. This is who we want to be, this is how we want to behave. And then it's really important that when you see people who are not behaving that way or who are not following through, that you're able to step up and reinforce, "Hey, that's not the way we do things. We've all agreed here's the policies. Here's what we all agreed we're trying to be. We need you to behave that way." It's incredibly important.
If you have some staff that it's not really sinking through, it's incredibly important that you get a bit tough, and even let go of toxic employees. I know that, especially when you're in a place where you're saying, "Hey, we need to attract more doctors and staff, I can't get rid of this RVT who we count on for so much stuff." Even though that person seems to be creating inter-problems, and interpersonal relationships, and adding drama, and not adhering to policies, and going their own direction, and seems to be out of sync with everybody else. I know that it can be a scary thing and sound hard to let that person go. But time and time and time and time again, what we hear from practice owners who make that difficult decision and let that toxic person go is that there's massive addition through subtraction.
We've had people tell us stories about how they let somebody go who they knew for a long time was causing problems and difficulties, but they just felt so reliant on them that they couldn't. And finally they did. They let that person go. The next day employees were singing, "Ding dong, the witch is dead." The whole place was uplifted and people saw, "Wait a second, you guys mean it when you say that this is the way we're going to behave and this is what we're committed to. And now you let that person go because they weren't? I got to get in line. I need to shape up and make sure we take this seriously." They're going to feel invalidated. If they're bought in and they're behaving that way, they want to feel that validation. So really bring the team together and again, make it a nicer place. You don't want to introduce new employees to a toxic situation. Clean it out and get rid of any bad employees that you may have.
Next is recognizing and celebrating individual and team accomplishments. This is so important. It's so important to have goals and have achievable goals. Even the regular things, and to actually celebrate. To actually celebrate those wins, actually celebrate people, actually recognize them. Now, the other part of this is that there's a lot of different personalities out there. For some people, public recognition is torture. So you're not actually rewarding them. You're actually kind of punishing them by pointing them out in public. That's not most people, but it is for some people. Especially for some introverts, and the veterinary industry is full of introverts, isn't it?
I think this is one of those things that you discover in those one-on-one meetings with employees, those check-ins. You really get to know them, what motivates them, what feels like a reward to them, what they look forward to. What's a big thing that they're trying to accomplish in their life, and what are little things that they do for themselves that are on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, that just make them feel good? What's a good pat on the back for them?
If you recognize what that is, then hand those out. Find ways that they are deserved. Far too many practice owners and managers in especially the older schools just don't see the value in that. But in today's society, in today's culture, it's incredibly important and impactful. Recognize people, give them that celebration, reward. Not just individual, but some team things too. Some team things too. Create little tests, little races, little projects and goals. Hit those as a team and celebrate together. Really important. All this stuff brings a myriad of benefits. One of the best benefits as a practice owner is that it really drops a lot more profitability to the bottom line. What you'll find is a happier team who's working more efficiently, better client satisfaction, and overall, just more satisfaction in life. So that's incredibly important. Let's create this amazing workplace satisfaction and make your practice a very desirable place to work.
When you do that, I want to call out here of these workplace satisfaction surveys, I've pointed out 10 of them. Five of them are communication strategies. It's marketing. That's what marketing is. It's communication. It's communication. So it's just understanding who you are authentically, and communicating that to others to get them aligned. So internal communication is so incredibly important. If you're asking, "Okay, okay, does this stuff really work? Should you bother doing that practice culture workshop as a first step?" Well look, Melanie Rodriguez said, "The GeniusVets practice culture workshop helped me with creating a culture and values for my practice. My team has changed so much for the better since implementing the ideas I learned there. I'd recommend it to all veterinary practices."
We see testimonials like that come through all the time. On a weekly basis, somebody from around the country says, "Wow, that was really fantastic." So it's a great exercise. It's not the end all, be all of everything. That's work that you guys have to do. But it is a great getting started first few steps that are going to point you in the right direction and going to give you some tools that are going to make everything else a lot easier.
Once you've gone through and done that, we talked about the theme for today is really attracting and retaining doctors and staff. That's what I'm going to dive into, but if you're trying to just attract them without having gone through and done that work first to make sure that your place is the desirable place that you want it to be, and that new staff are going to want to join, then be prepared to just offer a lot more money. You're going to have to be competing with these big corporate offers, signing bonuses of 50, 100, $200,000 that's out there. Why are they paying so much? Because it's hazard pay, right? It's battle pay.
They're not going to an environment that is the best environment, that's an uplifting, wonderful situation. They're going into a place that they're going to have friction, they're going to be frustrated. It's going to be difficult." But hey, you're here because you got all that money." So if you don't want to do this stuff of creating incredible workplace satisfaction, okay, well, you can balance the scales by just offering a lot more money. But again, you don't have to do that if you really make yourself a crown jewel, a desirable place to work. By doing that, you're going to attract the right kind of people. People who are going to feed into making it a desirable place to work. Ultimately, you're going to like your life a lot better. So let's look at the next 10 steps for attracting and retaining doctors and staff once you have a really desirable place to work.
Step one, create an attractive work environment. That's everything that I talked about in the previous series. Plus, I do want to point out, take a look around your physical location. One thing as humans that we do is we adapt very quickly and we stop seeing things. We let things get into our periphery and kind of blur out. So you might have everything from dirt and muck accumulation in places. Maybe it doesn't smell great, and maybe it looks a little dirty. Maybe there's cracks in the paint in the walls. Maybe some stuff's getting a bit old. Maybe things are a little askew. Anything like that I have seen when I've gone to veterinary practices around the country, it's a full spectrum. Some places look like absolute super clean, modern, retail, gorgeous locations. Some places are a bit scary to step into because they really look like they just haven't been upkept.
What I would recommend that you do is try and take a fresh set of eyes and look around at everything yourself and clean up what you can. Even better, bring in someone from the outside who's not used to going into your practice all the time. Bring in somebody who has maybe a little bit of an interior design eye, and just ask them to point out all the stuff they see. Don't necessarily walk around with them. Give them a pad and paper and say, "Hey, walk around and just point out all the things that you think could probably be cleaned up or fixed up to make this place look better." If you do that, you're probably going to get a laundry list of little things. Do those things. Make it an attractive place, right? All right, moving on.
Next, you want to establish your brand. Your brand will be based on your mission, your values, your culture, your expertise, your personality, knowing what those things are. Your brand is the expression of those to the outside world. How do you put it into words? How do you put it into images? What are the headlines that you put out there? What's the information you're really putting out to people, and what's the voice and personality behind that? What's the value you're delivering from an informational perspective, and what is the personality and voice that that is coming through?
That's your brand. That's how you establish your brand. You're going to see your brand through your website, through your social posts, through the way that your receptionist answers the phone, the way that your place looks when someone drives up and when they step in. Their entire experience with you, everything that they're taking in is reflective of your brand. So you want to make sure that you look at everything and you have a very thoughtful approach to your messaging, to the experience, and that it's congruent, right? You're creating experiences that feel like you guys in your practice. So establish that brand and some brand guidelines.
Establish a Good Recruitment Program
Next, establish a good recruitment program. Obviously, you have an ongoing veterinary practice. You've recruited a lot of people. You have a recruitment program. We've recently put out an HR toolkit, and again, we'll put a link in. If you claim your profile on geniusvets.com, we'll give you access to all of these things. I'll talk about that a little bit at the end. It's all free, by the way. I’m not selling you anything here today. Just want to give you great resources. So we have an HR toolkit, and you'll probably go through that and say, "Hey, we're doing that. We're doing that. Oh hey, that's a really cool idea. Oh, hey, we're not doing that." And find some really cool things that you can add and bolster your ongoing program. But ultimately, what you want is something that's going to make it really simple for you to go through. You're not reinventing the wheel every time you have to hire somebody. You have a way to process through applications, and interviews, and look at everybody with a level playing field, and filter through for the things that you're really looking for in all of that. So check out the HR toolkit. That'll really help you out.
Once you have your recruitment program established and in place and ready to go, next, you want to post and promote your open positions. This I want to sit on for a second because this is one of the big areas that most veterinary practices are getting it wrong. This really starts with your website. When I ask rooms of veterinarians and practice owners, managers, "Hey, where are you guys posting your open positions?" People throw up their hands. Indeed. Everybody's posting on Indeed, right? Cool. The AVMA and sending it out to all the other veterinary job boards. Social, and even Craigslist. People, they throw out a whole bunch of stuff. Indeed, I think over the past few years has been by far the biggest along with the AVMA for vets.
Here's the thing. Most don't talk about their website. Their website is the very first place. The website is the cornerstone, right? We're going to talk about that much more in a few minutes, but your website should have a career section. Your website should have a career section. On that career section, there should be a video on the first page of the career page. Should have a video, should be the practice owner doing a quick hospital tour. Should be about a four or five minute hospital tour. It should start with the practice owner out in front of the hospital, giving a quick 30 seconds on what is the mission, the values, and the culture of this practice. What do you aspire towards, and how do you align your team around that? What gives you purpose on a daily basis? Then you walk in and you do a quick walk through the hospital.
It should be a live run through. It shouldn't be after hours when nobody's there. People shouldn't be there, stiffly smiling at the camera and acting weird. It should be while things are going on. Let everybody in the hospital know, "Hey, we're just going to walk through. You can smile at the camera. But other than that, keep doing your work." You just want to give people a real feel of authentically what it's like in your practice. That little quick video goes on the careers page. That quick walkthrough should also probably be on your homepage as well.
From the career page, in text, you're going to write out what is the mission, the values, the culture, the purpose of your practice. A little bit about the community that you serve, and why that community matters to you, and why you're passionate. You want that passion to be on display. Next, you're going to have a bullet point list of every position in that veterinary practice, every position in your organization. Each one of those bullet points when it says associate veterinarian, vet tech, practice manager, kennel staff, receptionist, and you go on down the list. Every one of those is going to be a link that links to a full page job description for that position. This is all on your website.
Now those job descriptions. You should have a full page job description for every single position in your practice. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Should always be up, should never come down. You don't want to just put that up when you're hiring. The only difference between those pages is while you're hiring, there's a big bold line at the top that says, "We are currently hiring for this position." When you're not hiring, it says, "We are not currently hiring for this position." Other than that, the content on the page stays the same.
The written content on that page is going to be aspirational, inspirational, aspirational, engaging. It's not going to be a bullet point list of, "Here's all the requirements that you better have if you're going to consider applying here." You're going to get into that stuff once they apply. You're trying to get applicants right now. It'd be a little bit different, you'd go into a filtering mode, and write this stuff, and create this stuff a little bit different if this was a buyer's market, or seller, whatever. If it was an employer's market. It's an employee's market right now. You're having trouble getting applicants. If you were swamped with applicants, then you want to introduce some stuff that's going to filter through. But you're trying to inspire and get all the applicants that you can, right? You're trying to win people over. So inspirational and aspirational.
There also needs to be a video for each job description, on each job description page. It's going to be the practice owner, maybe the manager, talking about how wonderful the place is. What's the mission, values, culture of the place? What is so important about this position? How do you treat and value people in your practice in this position? Why are they going to love working there? Why are they going to love that community and the staff that you have at your practice? Then if you can, pull in somebody to the video who's currently in that position, pull in your vet tech, pull in an associate vet, for them to give their own quick testimonial about how much they love their job, and how much they think you're going to love it too, and how they can't wait to meet you. Again, when I say you, I mean they're speaking to the potential applicant.
That is a differentiator. That is going to inspire people and make them feel like, "This is really cool," and you're going to jump to the top of their list when they are evaluating. So that's where you want to point people to. When you go and you take that job post and you post it on Indeed, and you post at AVMA, and you post it in all these other places, don't use the applicant tracking system at Indeed. Don't say, "Hey, do you like this job post? Click here and apply."
Because what you're creating then is potential doctors and staff that are looking for positions. If they're just looking at your black and white words on the page or your job post description, versus another black and white job post description from somebody else on the same platform, where's the differentiation? Chances are you've written somewhat similar things. Talk about the position. How are you differentiating from anybody else?
Differentiation is the key here because for every applicant that you are trying to attract right now, there's about 36,000 other veterinary practices. Because that's every practice in the country. There's a little over 36,000 veterinary practice locations in the US, and all of them are hiring. So if you want that applicant, you need to differentiate yourself. You're not going to do it just comparing black white words on the page. It means don't send them immediately from your job post to the applicant tracking system right there. You need to say to apply, click this button and go to this job page that you have on your website, that's now going to also have a video. It's going to have your framing and your navigation of your website, your look and feel. It's going to invite them to navigate the website and learn a little bit more about you.
They're going to go to your website if they actually really care about you at all. If they're going to put you at the top of their list, they're not going to do so. They're not going to apply and really care about it, unless they've really gone and checked out. Other sections you want to have on your website, you want to have staff bios. Every staff member should have a full page bio on your website. People want to see that. Potential staff members want to see, "Hey, who maybe am I going to be working with here? Do they seem cool? Do they seem weird? Who am I maybe going to be working with?" So you want to see that. Those are some of the more, most trafficked pages on most veterinary websites. Clients love seeing that sort of stuff too. So put up full staff bios.
The other nice thing that it has, it also creates some more buy-in from the staff because a lot of the people who are on your staff never had someone write an article about them or celebrate them publicly in a big way. So when you put up a full page profile about them kind of bragging on how awesome they are and that they're part of your team, that makes them feel like you really care about them. That makes them feel special, and lifted up, and elevated, and it's a really cool thing. It leads to more buy-in, so it's a great thing to have.
With all this stuff, why am I talking about the website so much? Listen, step out of your own perspective right now and look at it from the perspective of your potential applicants. Doctors and staff go online to look for job opportunities. Zero people ever again are just going to decide what city they want to live in and then just go start door knocking and being like, "Hey, are you guys hiring?" That doesn't happen, right? They're going to go online. So of course they're going to find your job posts and whatnot. However they learn about the position, they may just go to Google and start looking up veterinary practices in your area. They do that a lot when they decide, "Hey, I want to work in this area. Let me look at the different vet practices." They're going to do this stuff online.
The difference in actually getting applicants is passing the tests that they're going to put you through before they ever reach out and apply, before they ever call you. What are they going to do? Number one, they're going to look at your website. Every doctor I've ever talked to, what they care about most is they want to practice good medicine. If you're sitting there and you're listening to this, and you're a doctor, you're nodding your head when I just said that, you want to practice good medicine. That's what you're passionate about. That's why you got into veterinary care. Well, that's what your future doctors are going to want to do as well. They want to practice good medicine.
When someone looks at your website, most veterinary practice websites, they have a homepage. They're typically not very deep. They're not very good information resources. They're not that impressive. You are practicing veterinary careers servicing different species. Cats, dogs, let's assume, but perhaps exotics and mixed in large animals and stuff as well. So your clients have certain species. They have all sorts of questions, and you offer many different services.
If you have a services page that has eight, 10, 12 point bullet points on it, talking about really high level things. Wellness care, surgery, maybe get really specific and say vaccinations. Some veterinary practices will have a page on some of those things, and it's like two, three, maybe four paragraphs that are all high level, general. Basically amount to, "If you have a pet, we do vaccinations here. Schedule an appointment." It's not very informative. How does that speak to a doctor that you practice good medicine?
I don't think it does. I want to challenge you. Go to thedrakecenter.com. Go check it out. Go to thedrakecenter.com. I could give you so many others, but I'll just give you Dr. Drake's website. Go to thedrakecenter.com. Go over services, and you'll see it says cat services, dog services. Hover over this and look at all of these different services that they offer. Click on one of those. Go look at the dog dental page on thedrakecenter.com. Go to dog services, dog dental. Click on that page and check it out. What you're going to see is a full page, full of all this information that has answered all the frequently asked questions that clients ask. You see a video of Dr. Drake actually getting interviewed and answering these questions. You're going to see all of this information.
Guess what? When a doctor looks at a website like that, that lists all of these different services and all of this different information that goes deep into answering questions, and educating, and getting deep into these veterinary issues, what is it that they glean from that? They go, "Wow, this place really cares about the medicine. They really care about practicing great medicine. They really care about educating their clients. This is cool. This is what I want to be a part of. This is what I went to vet school to be a part of." Do you see that? It's a differentiator.
Not only is it a differentiator to attracting doctors and making them feel like this is a high quality organization I want to be a part of. It's also actually delivering on the mission of veterinary care and serving your clients in the way that they actually need. Because clients, the humans, need information. You're not delivering services to humans. You're delivering services to the pets, by way of convincing the humans that the pets need that service. Humans need information. So create a great information resource, deliver on the mission of veterinary care, better serve your clients, have better stronger relationships. Actually, immediately show any doctors and staff that look at your site, how much you guys are really dedicated and passionate about what you do. Watch the applications start rolling in.
Next thing they're going to do is they're going to visit your social profiles. They're going to scroll through your feeds. They're going to look at what you post. What are you saying to people? Is it engaging? Are people actually engaging with this information? Have you actually built an engaged community? Because if you have, that's something they want to be part of, right? They're going to look at your social profiles.
They're going to look up your reviews and responses. So you should have well over a hundred reviews. Hopefully you have a few hundred reviews. You want to go for as a 4.5, 4.8, 4.8 star average is the best. If you have a perfect five star, people are actually like, "Oh yeah, that must be fake. Or maybe they're paying for reviews." So people, they're like that, right? So don't worry about when you get a bad review here or there. It's just going to get you from that five star to that 4.8 range. Think about it that way.
The other thing that they're going to see is they want to see a good star rating average. They also want to see that you have responded to every single review. If somebody leaves a good review, it's polite. You got a client who went out of their way to sing from the rooftops and shout to everybody, "I love this place. They're awesome." So thank them. Participate in that conversation. Not with a generic response, but kind of repeat whatever it was they said a little bit. Use their name, and it looks very authentic. You've thanked everybody. When you get a negative review, you have to address those as well, right?
There's another entire webinar on how to deal with reviews and all of that, but the long and short of it is first before you respond online, call that person and try and work it out person to person on the phone or something. If you can work it out and you're back to being friends, you can ask them to modify that review. At that point, you can go back and respond, and tell everybody that you worked it out with the client. You guys are back on good terms. Then it's like that's fizzled out. That negative review doesn't really matter anymore. If you're firing the client or they're unhappy, you're not going to get back together, you can go back and then address it, and defend your team. Defend your team, and let everybody know that you reached out to them, that they were not being reasonable, they weren't being a good client. That either you have asked them not to return, or you made an offer to them to try and rectify the situation and they refused, and you've left the offer open, but they've refused. Then people will see that, "Okay, well, those people who are complaining were crazy because everybody else loves these veterinarians." So that's kind of how you deal with reviews.
Again, there's a lot more nuance. Look up. Watch for a later webinar we're going to do where we talk more about that and go into depth. But they're going to be looking at your reviews and responses before they ever reach out. Now finally, they're going to compare your practice in these criteria. Your website, your social, and your reviews to other websites in your area, to other veterinary practices in your area under those same criteria. That's how they're going to make their priority list about where they want to work. So go look around. Go look at your competitors and look at them through this lens. If you are not by far and away the best, well maybe now why you're not attracting the doctors and staff that you need to.
This is really important. This is just the way the world works now. If you pass a criteria in this way, that's how you're going to earn the application. That's how you're going to earn the phone call. So this is 10 steps, and eight of these steps are just communication strategies. This is what marketing is, right? Marketing isn't some used car salesman trying to sell some weird gross tactics. This is about knowing who you are, and authentically communicating that to the world in a way that is high quality. In a way that is consistent with your brand, with your culture, with your expertise, with the value you deliver to the world, and your personality, and your style. And when you do these things, it's amazing how much it works.
Look at this. Dr. Ned Trathan said, "Our biggest issue was recruitment. We were short on doctors. After signing on with GeniusVets, we successfully recruited three doctors. Now we're looking to grow, and GeniusVets has allowed us to do just that. We feel GeniusVets has been a large portion of our success, and we're happy to recommend them." I mean, this stuff just works.
The other thing here is, let me review this really fast. Proven recruitment methods include culture. Culture is fundamental to recruitment. So work on your culture. So is having a strong brand, so make sure that not only do you know yourself and you're creating that great culture, but you know how to communicate it and express it to the world. People want to work in a great practice, and they have their choice more than ever.
Things you want to keep in mind for staff. You need to create a career path that offers multiple levels of growth. A real career path for people, especially maybe not as much for the doctors, but for the rest of your staff. Training is something you're going to constantly be doing. You have to train your staff and enable them to continue getting better in all sorts of ways. Training, especially because I know you need an RVT. Maybe you're not going to be able to find one. You're likely going to have to take somebody who fits your culture, who seems smart, who seems capable, is really bought in and passionate, and wants to do it. You're going to have to train them. Maybe they continue and they stay with it, and eventually become an RVT. Maybe they will go back to school, but you're going to have to be training. Especially the lower level employees, you're going to be pulling people who haven't been in veterinary before, because that's where the job market is at today. So get ready to train people and create a good training program.
Remember, accountability. Accountability is everything. People like being held accountable, especially when they are more regularly recognized for the good that they're doing. That comes back to that celebration of your team. Holding people accountable for things, recognizing them, celebrating them. Then when they do something they need to learn from, using that as a learning experience, as an empowering thing, as a way that they are getting better, and not making it a bad thing. People will really lean into that and then want to be held to more accountability when they find that that accountability is consistently beneficial to them. So that’s really important.
The responsibility for all of this is with the leadership team. That's why a strong and multi-tiered leadership team is so vital. You can't do all of this and do a good job of all of this, while you're just working in the practice and it's all on you, practice owner. Not just a practice manager can't just do all of this. You need a leadership team in place that can help with this, and then it's something that really builds a culture that you want.
What are doctors and staff looking for? How are they going to find it? Get your culture and brand right before you spend serious money on recruiters or job ads. If you do this stuff, and you have it in place, and you're still having trouble recruiting, we absolutely have fantastic recruiters that we have gone through and we have found to be the best to work with, that have incredible guarantees. If you need somebody to essentially take your post and get it out to a much larger pool of applicants, you think you're really ready to bring people on and you need people on, we can absolutely. We've got the right company to help you find them. They can get your post in front of virtually every veterinarian and every vet tech in the country.
We have another company where if you're looking for help with administrative staff and front desk, an incredible solution that's maybe a little out of the box for what you're used to. But I can absolutely vouch, we have worked with them personally here at GeniusVets, and have clients working with them in their veterinary practices. They are top-notch, and not only will they find you and train a person for you, but they'll also cut your staff costs. I mean, absolutely incredible.
Reach out to us on that. We will send some links to everybody who registered for the webinar, that has access to those resources. But if you're looking for those resources, reach out to us out to GeniusVets. Schedule a demo, a consultation and demo of GeniusVets. We can give you access to all of those resources. Now, your digital presence. The point of so much of what we talked about today, your digital presence is a big part of the perception for potential new hires. So you really got to tighten that.
Recruitment fundamentals. Your fully trained and qualified people are just not sitting around waiting to see your job ad. There's been massive growth in the industry, and it's going to be years before we have enough trained people. This means that you can't wait to just find great team members. You need to create them.
Roles that you can successfully hire people with no experience. Kennel staff, treatment room assistants, exam room techs, RVTs. Train current techs for the RVT skills that are legally allowed. Of course, DVMs can't be hired this way, but this approach has allowed the Drake Center and has allowed many of our clients to increase the ratio of support staff to DVMs, leading to greater efficiency and productivity per doctor.
There's been awesome studies put out. AAHA put out a great study showed that the bell curve for productivity is between six and eight staff per doctor. For maximizing the bell curve of productivity in the hospital and profitability. So if you are utilizing those staff correctly, getting somewhere around that ratio seems to really be the magic key.
If you're going to be hiring non-veterinary-trained people and you're going to be training them, what is it that you look for? Number one, culture fit. Are these the right people? Are they going to fit the culture that you're creating? Number two, good humans. Just hiring good people. They're going to be contributing to this precious organization that you've built. Are they really good people? Are they excited to work in a veterinary hospital? Do they have the desire to learn? If they have that mix, you can confidently hire them and train them, and really create great staff that way.
I hope that you've gotten so much from this today. Our time is almost up. Just before we go, I've got some stuff that I really want to give to you guys. I want to make sure that you understand who we are and what we're doing here as GeniusVets. At GeniusVets, it's our mission to help veterinary practice owners meet their goals for customer service, for workplace satisfaction, and for profitability. So how? How can we possibly do that? You might be asking yourself.
We achieve this by delivering communication strategies that create alignment with the mission, culture, and expertise of the practice. We then promote these communications to effectively attract, retain, and support both clients and staff. The cornerstone of this is an incredible website. If you might be sitting there saying, "We already have a website." Well I'm here to tell you, you really have to ask yourself, do you have a website that is contributing positively to the success of your business? Or is your website a placebo?
The vast majority of veterinary websites in the market today are placebos. They're not doing anything. They're sitting there and making you feel like you have this thing checked off. You check that box. But they're not actively contributing to delivering on the mission of veterinary care for your clients. They're not actively attracting staff. They're not actively helping your business at all. Your website has a very important job to do. Don't sit there and just take a placebo and feel like, "Hey, we've got it handled." There's actually real work that your website can do to make your business so much better.
At GeniusVets, we also have a marketing platform that is very comprehensive, a full suite of tools, strategies, and support, content libraries, social management, reputation and review management, pay per click management, call tracking, analytics, help desks. We have coaching we have done for your services. It's a very comprehensive suite of marketing services.
Every year we do a study that takes a look at the performance of our clients, GeniusVets clients, compared to the clients of our competitors. What this study showed was just 10 GeniusVets clients, their websites get 30% more monthly traffic than the top 10 clients of our top 10 competitors combined. You can see each of the companies there that we looked at. I can give you full access to the studies, very above board study. It has directions on publicly available tools that you can use to replicate these results. It offers the entire data set that was used. We looked at Genius Vet's clients using the same tools as we did for these others. So it really is a good study.
You have to think to yourself, how is GeniusVets driving more traffic, more results than the next 10 GeniusVets clients compared to 100 clients of other companies in this industry that are dedicated to doing this day in and day out? Like I told you, most veterinary websites that are out there, most marketing programs are placebo. They are not actually putting in the work and they're not actually driving the results. Our clients like Georgie Ludwig here, the owner of Lombard Veterinary Hospital. She had a 499X return on investment from working with GeniusVets. She brought her numbers to us. She wanted to calculate her return on investment. She knew things were going fantastic. We found that her client acquisition cost, we had driven it to just $29.85 a client. In one year, we drove 2,000 new clients. We looked at the lifetime value of her clients and helped her calculate the lifetime value of her clients.
She calculated that from those 2,000 clients, that was $10 million in lifetime value. That meant that she was getting a 499 times return on her investment. Just incredible. I'm going to leave you with one more testimonial here because John Martin, owner of Advanced Animal Care, owns four practices in rural Kentucky. When he first came to us, he said, "Two of our practices are actually in decline." We've been working with him now for, I believe about five years. At the end of his first year working with us, here's what he had to say.
He had to say, "We've grown the support staff at our 24-hour hospital from 21 full-time equivalent to over 37. At the same time, our overtime is down from 15.5% to just 2.6%, which is better for the bottom line and sense of wellbeing for our team. Finally, gross revenue growth in the last 12 months is up over 30%." And again, this is before COVID. "GeniusVets challenges us to make a lot of changes. The direction of our hospital has changed, and our growth in revenue and staff has surprised all of us. I can say without hesitation, the consultation, service, and resources from GeniusVets has played a critical role in our transformation." Listen, we've done this for hundreds of veterinary practices in the US, and we can do it for you.
I hope that you got a ton of value out of today's presentation. I promise you it's just the tip of the iceberg. Plug in. There is so much that we are doing for independent veterinary practices, that we actually are doing free of charge, that we are giving you tools and resources. You actually currently right now have a full page profile for your practice at geniusvets.com. It's true. Go to geniusvets.com/start. Look up your practice by state and city, and you'll find the name of your practice. Claim your profile for free. These profiles rank very high in Google search results. The goal here is, they're totally free, so we just want people to be able to find you and connect with you. If they're looking for veterinary services in your area, don't you want to be the one that they're going to, that they're calling, that they're relying on?
What you want is you want to own the whole first page of Google. You want to be all different links. Your website, your social networks, your directories, your profiles. You want all of the Google links to be pointing to you. This is one of those, so claim your profile. Next, we've got your HR toolkit. We've got a job board that you can use. We've got a guide on how to attract doctors and staff. We've got the staff culture workshop. We've got a monthly social toolkit that is an incredible resource, which comes out every month. So plug into the stuff that we're doing that you can benefit from. I think you'll start seeing the value that we put out there. Then ask yourself, "Hey, if GeniusVets has given me this much value with all of these free services, what could their paid services actually do? What could their professional services actually do?" Find out why we are leading the industry in every area of business that we serve.
Thank you so much. If you'd like to connect with one of our consultants, we've got brilliant consultants on staff that will meet with you, that'll learn all about what it is that you've got going on, that'll recommend to you how we could maybe help. Scan this QR code right there. Fill out a quick little form. We'll follow up with you, get an appointment scheduled. We'll make sure you get all of the resources that we have to offer, and really just help you accomplish your goals. Thank you so much for spending a little bit of time with me here today. I hope that you got a lot from it. If you have any questions, please reach out. Thanks so much.
Remember, tune in next week and every week as we have an incredible lineup of speakers, industry leaders, thought leaders, CEOs from heads of the industry, different huge companies, down to small companies, to practice owners. Really just taking a look at all of the issues that veterinary practice owners are facing today, that the industry is facing and how you can build up your business to be stronger every day moving forward into the future. That's it for today. Thanks so much. Signing off as David from GeniusVets. Have a great day.