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A CLEAR Blueprint to Workplace Wellbeing

A CLEAR Blueprint to Workplace Wellbeing

We’re glad you’re here! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, this guide introduces the fundamentals of workplace wellbeing and outlines Not One More Vet's leading framework for certifying mentally healthy workplaces. While there are many resources about improving our individual self-care habits (which we all need!), we’re sharing NOMV’s scalable, hospital-wide approach to mental wellness, for teams that are ready to transform together.

Introduction: Defining Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing transcends physical health; it includes career satisfaction, interpersonal relationships, financial stability, and a sense of community. 

The following are some helpful terms for conversations around workplace wellbeing:

  • Wellbeing - the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy
  • Workplace wellbeing - a combination of holistic workplace characteristics that support healthy behavior in the workplace, improve health outcomes, and strengthen workplace culture
  • Financial Stability - you have enough money coming in to cover your expenses, as well as some extra funds to put aside for savings or potential crises
  • Living Wage - a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living
  • Burnout -  a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress
  • Compassion Fatigue - a form of traumatic stress resulting from repeated exposure to traumatized individuals or aversive details of traumatic events while working in a helping or protecting profession
  • Moral Injury - the psychological, social and spiritual impact of events involving betrayal or transgression of one's own deeply held moral beliefs and values occurring in high stakes situations
  • Employee Engagement - describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward their job

The Importance of Workplace Wellbeing

According to Gallup Polls, the impact of wellbeing extends far beyond how people feel – it affects the number of sick days employees take, their job performance, burnout, and likelihood of leaving your organization. Gallup found that employees that reported negative views of the future were 61% more likely to experience burnout. Within the five main pillars analyzed in these global polls–career, social, financial, physical, and community wellbeing– career wellbeing, or liking what we do everyday, is the most important indicator of overall wellbeing.

Merck's recent wellbeing study also found that clinic culture is one of the most significant contributors to wellbeing, mental health, and reduced turnover.

Veterinary professionals often find themselves working extended hours, skipping breaks, and facing increased stress–symptoms of the post-pandemic surge in pet ownership we’ve experienced that has exacerbated existing workforce conditions.

The intense environment veterinary staff work under can lead to burnout, compassion fatigue, moral injury, and high turnover rates, with some professionals choosing to leave the field. However, cultivating a healthier workplace can counter existing challenges, and equally benefit staff and employers. 

The Impact of Wellbeing on Engagement and Performance

Psychology Today shares some of the key benefits to a mentally healthy workplace: 

  • Increased staff productivity
  • A sense of belonging
  • Minimized stress
  • Strengthened work relationships
  • Reduced mental health stigma
  • Increased empathy and kindness

Engagement is an incredibly important factor in a work culture because it is related to so many other aspects of a workplace. Workers that report feeling more engaged are more productive, make fewer mistakes, and report improved wellbeing. Additionally, workers that have higher rates of wellbeing demonstrate higher levels of engagement with work. 

In their biannual Wellbeing Study, Merck found that veterinarians experienced higher rates of burnout than the general population. Veterinary support staff, including technicians and other staff, had even higher rates. 

However, Merck also discovered that veterinary professionals were highly invested in their work and that employers could play a major role in improving employee wellbeing. Clinics can promote workplace wellbeing in several ways such as providing access to mental health resources, like employee assistance programs, to fostering a psychologically safe environment. CLEAR Blueprint aims to support clinics making meaningful changes that foster workplace wellbeing that are veterinary specific and evidence-based.

The Purpose of the CLEAR Blueprint

Not One More Vet (NOMV) is a leading non-profit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention in the veterinary industry, providing essential resources and support, and helping veterinary professionals excel in their careers through comprehensive educational and financial support.

In 2023, we began offering programs that proactively identify organization-wide areas to improve employee experience and wellness—from building trust among teammates and providing training resources for challenging client relations, to tackling compassion fatigue and financial stress. 

The CLEAR Blueprint is a Wellness Certification program crafted to reshape veterinary workplaces into environments that actively foster the mental well-being of their teams.

Our program doesn’t just certify spaces that promote mental wellness—it also encourages veterinary teams to dismantle outdated industry norms and build practices where professionals, their patients, and pet owners can all thrive sustainably.

A CLEAR path forward

In the high-pressure environment of veterinary workplaces, we’ve identified prevalent challenges such as financial stress, low trust in leadership, client disputes, compassion fatigue, burnout, a sense of disconnection, and ambiguous policies. CLEAR Blueprint certification diagnoses needs across the practice, and empower your employees by providing the knowledge and tools necessary for them to adopt a comprehensive approach to wellbeing.

How the CLEAR Blueprint Team Promotes Holistic Wellbeing

CLEAR Blueprint empowers teams to foster a healthy work environment through a proactive, strengths-based approach. We guide teams in building trust, managing client relationships, creating engaging workspaces, and maintaining emotional balance, among other key areas.

The program meticulously outlines a roadmap for growth and activates behavioral changes, with eleven focused modules that can be used to address and better support employees: 

  • Building Trusting Teams
  • Client Relations 
  • Creating an Engaging Work Environment
  • Community Relations
  • Emotional Balance
  • Energy Levels
  • Shaping Emotional Wellbeing in Veterinary Practice
  • Financial Stability
  • Mission, Values, and Philosophy
  • Peer Relations 

A CLEAR Roadmap to Wellbeing

Following an initial, anonymized assessment, the CLEAR team collaborates with Clinic Advocates (nominated by hospital teams) to interpret findings and guide the next steps. These sessions explore the dynamic nature of workplace culture and outline strategies for ongoing development.

Building Emotional Resilience

NOMV recognizes that avoiding bad days isn't the goal—building emotionally resilient teams is. Our program strengthens resilience by addressing common stressors in the workplace through our Energy Levels module, while the Emotional Balance module tackles compassion fatigue, grounding the approach in veterinary social work principles. The Shaping Emotional Wellbeing in Veterinary Practice module invites teams to align medical practices with wellbeing objectives.

Client interactions often bring stress, which is why our program focuses on reflective practices. The Client Relations and Community Relations modules examine how engagements with clients and the community affect both team and individual wellbeing, ensuring every interaction can contribute positively to the clinic's atmosphere.

Long-term Engagement and Support

CLEAR Blueprint offers an extended timeline for clinics to achieve their goals, with reassessments every six months allowing for continual refinement of practices. Regardless of their certification status, all participating teams gain access to a comprehensive resource library and expert support, ensuring every veterinary practice can thrive in creating a healthier workplace.

You can find out more about the program through the NOMV website. Whether it's Mental Wellness May or beyond, this is a powerful resource to explore, as we can all play a role in positively transforming the profession. 

Additional Resources

These resources can offer support for individuals struggling with their personal wellbeing and/or workplace-related wellbeing challenges.