In partnership with the Society for Practising Veterinary Surgeons, MMI is looking for the happiest practices in the UK for this year’s Vet Wellbeing Awards.
The Awards are now in their third year, having been started in 2016 in recognition of the fact that there were relatively high levels of work-related stress and poor mental health within the veterinary professions. The aim of the Awards has been to highlight the positivity of the profession by identifying examples of veterinary workplaces that were demonstrating their commitment to improving staff wellbeing through initiatives, management systems and other forms of staff engagement.
In the intervening years the Awards have evolved and, this year, they are placing a renewed emphasis on practices that take a holistic approach to wellbeing, with the Award judges looking for evidence that workplaces are devoted to improving wellbeing across the board.
Lizzie Lockett, Director of MMI, explains: “This year we aren’t just looking for practices that have nice initiatives such as fresh fruit bowls or free staff massages – although these are, of course, contributors to wellbeing – but want workplaces to show us evidence of practice-wide protocols, policies and initiatives that really do enhance wellbeing.
“What we are particularly keen to showcase with these awards is that wellbeing isn’t a bolt-on luxury that only practices with lots of money, time and staff can invest in but that it’s something that practices of all sizes can engage in and that there is a very strong business case for doing so as it improves retention rates, reduces stress and improves team cohesion.”
There are three award categories that practices can enter depending on the number of employees: small practice (15 or fewer full time equivalent team members (FTE)), medium practice (16 to 50 FTEs) or large practice (51 or FTEs).
The Award application form covers six key aspects of work that, if well-managed, can promote wellbeing and reduce the risk of work-related stress, and the Award judges will be looking for evidence of commitment to enhancing wellbeing for each of these. These are:
- Work demands
- Workload and work scheduling
- Relationships at work
- Career development
- Communication at work
- Promoting physical and psychological health at work
Further information and examples of the type of evidence and initiatives that the Awards are looking for in each of these areas are available on the Vet Wellbeing Awards website and in a booklet available for download from the resources section of this website.
The Awards’ entry form can also be found on the Vet Wellbeing Awards website in addition to case studies of winners from previous years.
Throughout the application period the RCVS will also be publishing a series of podcasts featuring interviews with previous years’ award winners, talking about their own initiatives and how improving staff wellbeing has benefitted their business.
Nick Stuart, former SPVS President and Vet Wellbeing Awards Coordinator, says: “In the previous two years we have had some excellent and very deserving winners who have some outstanding stories to tell about the steps they’ve taken to improve wellbeing and the difference it’s made to their teams, their business, the clients and the animals they treat.
“We look forward to seeing more excellent entries this year. If practices make this a team effort, brainstorming and sharing ideas and generating feedback then the entry process itself can be an exercise in engagement and provide a useful audit of wellbeing.
The closing date for entries is Friday 23 November 2018. The prize for each category includes two registrations and banquet tickets for SPVS/Veterinary Management Group (VMG) Congress 2018 where the winners will be announced to the media and will be available for interview.