Tell me a little bit about you & AVES.
I was in the Veterinary industry back in college and, once I graduated, went into human Healthcare as a Paramedic working 911. Eventually, I got into Healthcare Management, working as a Regional Director and Hospital Manager. I became the Hospital Director at Austin Veterinary Emergency & Specialty (AVES) this May.
AVES is a premiere ER and Specialty clinic in Austin founded in 2013 by Dr. Lindsay Vaughn. Since then, AVES has worked hard to be the top choice to go to for Acute or Specialty Care for any pet needs here in Austin.
What got you thinking about employee engagement and retention at AVES?
We do annual engagement surveys for our colleagues, and in our early 2023 survey, the resounding feedback we received was that while our team did get a lot of feedback, it was hard for them to feel and retain tangible, positive feedback at times since we are in a hard field and moving so quickly.
We were addressing issues proactively as they arose, but we weren’t necessarily putting as heavy emphasis on some of the positive feedback that our colleagues really need to thrive in this environment.
So, we started looking for solutions, and our sister hospital, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, also part of the NVA-Ethos network, was a few weeks into using Rally and spoke highly of your team and the platform. Rally catering specifically to vet med was an added bonus.
On that note, why did you choose to go with Rally? What piqued your interest?
Rally being built by and for veterinary medicine was a huge plus. Vet Med often feels left behind when it comes to HR software that understands our industry needs.
We were also excited to partner with a team that wanted to receive our feedback and build with us. We’ve had the opportunity to do some “think tanks” with Lucy, our Customer Experience Manager, and Austin, the Chief Experience Officer, to really understand how we can optimize and make this platform work as well as it can for us.
What were your first impressions of using Rally?
Well, first of all, it's adorable.
The graphics and the load screens are super cute and put a smile on your face.
Rally is also extremely user-friendly and straightforward. You can tell your team put a lot of thought into the look and experience of the platform.
What positive impacts have you seen in your teams from using Rally?
We’ve seen much more peer-to-peer recognition, which has been really encouraging.
When it comes to recognition, it's not just a top-down approach for us here at AVES — it's really important to us for things to happen more organically to get the pulse and buy-in of our colleagues.
For our leaders, the wellness scores & surveys have been extremely useful. They can check Rally and see if people are struggling, with both qualitative and quantitative markers, and get ahead of situations. If one of the factors starts to trend a specific way, you can see the historical data and make adjustments.
For example, in July, we did a substantial salary increase across the board and saw immediate changes. Since then, our compensation satisfaction score has raised 1.5 points (on a 10-point scale) — seeing that trend line rise has been awesome.
Rally provides more constant and instant insight than your managers would typically get — which helps them be better leaders and support their team.
With Rally, you can scale your management processes. As leaders, we would likely get this type of information (like people wanting raises, for instance) organically, but it would take longer. Sitting down and having 150 one-on-ones or several staff meetings, where people may not feel confident speaking up, would take far longer than our colleagues proactively taking a 5-minute Rally survey once a month.
What are some magic moments you've had on Rally?
The most magic moment is that our clinicians actually use it! Which is huge.
We didn’t anticipate there would be any issue in getting our non-DVM colleagues to participate in a platform like this, but to get neurologists and surgeons to log in and do another thing on a computer after they’ve spent a lot of the day doing that — we’ve been so happy with their response.
We have our DVMs booping colleagues saying things like “great job on that procedure ” or “good job prepping that dog today,” and that has made a huge difference just for the support staff to have that tangible, solid encouragement from their clinicians that they view as leaders.
And our clinicians have even mentioned how easy it is for them to use. When booping someone, they can quickly do that from their couch at night rather than hunting that person down or remembering to do it in the moment during a busy shift. It’s made a huge impact on our team.
How was your onboarding process? How do you feel about hound’s support?
Onboarding was simplistic and easy.
Lucy, our Customer Experience Manager, was fantastic in helping us get all the log-ins created and helping us get started. Whenever I've contacted Huff or Lucy about anything, they've been extraordinarily responsive.
Have you experienced any tangible ROI using Rally?
Since using Rally and implementing a few changes internally, as outlined above, our attrition has dropped significantly — almost 7% in 4 months.
Obviously, many things can contribute to this momentum, but with the data we’ve received from Rally’s wellness surveys and being able to act on it proactively, we’ve seen better staff retention.