Special website eases Ballarat vet’s recruitment woes

As veterinary practices across the country struggle to recruit veterinarians, PetPack has provided a novel solution that has helped one regional veterinary business buck the trend and successfully attract new staff to their bustling clinics.

With over 150 staff spread across six regional sites, Ballarat Veterinary Practice had been grappling with how best to recruit veterinarians – not only to maintain their services amidst increasingly busy caseloads, but to also grow the business and retain staff into the years ahead.

Managing Director Paul Dempsey had initially only engaged PetPack to assist with general marketing activities (Google Ads, Google My Business and a new practice website), however, it soon became apparent that PetPack’s expertise could also help the practice group with their recruitment woes. 

“It’s a well-known fact of the shortage of veterinarians in Australia and the difficulty of attracting them to work in clinics, especially in regional areas. We were at a point where we were really trying to reduce the number of new clients coming to the practice because we were already at capacity,” explained Paul.

The Ballarat Veterinary Practice team hard at work.

“We’d engaged PetPack to assist us with our own marketing generally and we found ourselves in a situation where we were wanting to work on the brand of the business to try and build our brand as an [AVA-accredited] ‘Employer of Choice’ amongst the veterinary community as a good option for someone to set up their career and commit long-term.”

Supported by PetPack, the key to building this brand awareness was to develop a product offering that highlighted Ballarat Veterinary Practice’s work-life balance offerings and potential for professional development and personal growth.

“We made some significant changes within the business to create a great working environment and strong work-life balance such as flexible rostering, genuine four-day work weeks, and innovative ways of handling after-hours requirements, and we really want to showcase these. PetPack was able to help us improve the visibility of that by developing a totally separate website as a bit of a novel approach to showcase our products, if you like, in recruitment,” said Paul.

The result was the Vet Life in Ballarat website which provided a platform for the practice to showcase the benefits of the business to prospective employees, and highlight the benefits of living and working in Ballarat. 

“We use this website in a number of different ways to endorse our product. Some people have found their own way there and explored what we’re offering, and then we’ve also directed prospective employees to visit the site via job adverts and word of mouth,” said Paul.

“In combination with our business being the first to achieve the AVA’s Employer of Choice accreditation, the Vet Life in Ballarat website has provided a really good platform for us to showcase the things we’ve put in place – like our new graduate program, our intern program, and our student externship program.”

Ballarat Veterinary Practice also developed video content for their YouTube channel, which is linked from the website and showcases the business and local lifestyle.

“The visits to our YouTube channel via that website have increased significantly. People seem genuinely interested in the information that’s on the website and they tend to go through it quite thoroughly,” shared Paul.

“The team at PetPack, including their Web Designer, Chantal, and Communications Manager, Ben, have done a brilliant job in developing the website for us, including heaps of creativity in design and content. Amidst the busyness of general veterinary business life, they’ve been very responsive and helped us meet our timeframes and have been very easy to deal with.”  

Being able to easily engage with prospective employees via the Vet Life in Ballarat website and showcasing the business’ brand has been a critical outcome for Paul and his team.

“The process has really challenged how we approach our own marketing and what marketing could do for us. Being able to showcase our business to prospective staff has been fantastic – and no doubt the focus of our marketing will change at some point back towards client acquisition, client retention, and engagement,” said Paul. 

“But, for now, it has really helped how we actually engage prospective employees, and I’d strongly recommend the team at PetPack to other veterinary businesses who are looking at better ways to attract staff.”