5 Steps to Building a Robust Team of Veterinary Professionals
The foundation of any successful business is an excellent team of employees. Of course, your clients are invaluable, and competitive pricing can boost business, but your employees working together to provide quality service will take your veterinary practice to the next level. When you put together a strong team of professionals who work as a cohesive unit, you notice a world of difference in your efficiency and productivity. Plus, when working in a positive, uplifting, conflict-free environment, your team is happier and more satisfied with their workplace.
How do you get your current team to this point? What goals will create this dream team? Use the following five tips to construct a great team that works well together and provides exemplary patient and client care.
#1: Facilitate communication among team members
Two-way communication is the most critical factor for successful teamwork. Your team can struggle without knowing what they need to complete a task, leading to each individual working toward their own goal. Team meetings are a great starting point for effective communication, but employee interactions must be equally effective.
Set an example by remaining open to your team’s suggestions and concerns, asking questions, and offering help. Although doing a task yourself often seems easier, asking for assistance or delegating specific duties can help the practice accomplish more. To learn more about listening to your team and following through on their suggestions, read our A Veterinary Practice Manager’s Guide to Building a Happy Work Culture article.
One way to facilitate communication among team members is to implement a Slack channel divided into departments that will make “speaking” with the appropriate team easy. You can also tag team members within your veterinary software platform, alerting them to tasks and follow-ups, so nothing falls through the cracks.
#2: Establish team values and goals
Establishing team values, and setting specific daily achievements, will give your team extra drive to succeed and elevate your patient and client care. The daily grind can begin to feel tedious and monotonous with no specific goal.
Celebrate personal and professional achievements by recognizing your team members when you reach your goals. For example, celebrate with lunch on the house the day after your team rocked the overbooked appointment schedule and still worked in several successful emergency cases. Or, if your lead veterinary technician becomes specialty-certified in anesthesia and analgesia or dentistry, encourage the entire team to celebrate the enormous achievement. Remember that while your quieter team members may hesitate to speak up about their accomplishments, they will appreciate the recognition. You will encourage your team to take pride in their collective achievements by rewarding excellent patient and client care practices.
#3: Respect your team members as individuals
While you want your employees to mesh into a cohesive team, recognize that they are individuals with unique skills and traits. Respect their individuality because each person brings something special to your practice. Perhaps one employee is a known cat whisperer who can soothe the most fractious cats. Or another employee can always nail that difficult IV catheter placement in the 20-year-old dehydrated cat in kidney failure.
Celebrate your team’s skills and encourage them to grow and develop in their chosen area. If a team member loves coaching pet owners on providing optimal geriatric care for their aging pets, support them with CE opportunities. If an employee wants to become your practice’s nutrition coach, provide them with the tools—and the financial resources—to gain further knowledge and become certified in pet nutrition.
#4: Reward your team for a job well done
In addition to their comprehensive salary and benefits package, reward team members for going above and beyond. You can choose to reward individuals who went the extra mile—for example, cleaning that diarrhea-streaked kennel no one else wanted to touch or helping a client wrangle with their three excited Labradors. Showing that you’re watching and willing to reward good deeds will encourage your team always to perform their best, individually or as a whole. And, after a particularly challenging day, ensure you celebrate your team’s dedication and compassion for patients and clients.
#5: Provide your team with tools that make their job easier
If your practice is short-handed or overbooked, use technological tools to help fill in the gaps and relieve your team’s workload. But don’t purchase the cheapest tools you can find—search for ones that will be effective. Intuitive veterinary practice management software that automates many tasks is a great place to start. Upgrade your laboratory equipment, purchase tablets that will allow your team to work on the fly, and offer telemedicine consults to reduce in-clinic appointments. Wherever possible, let technology help your team achieve their goals.
Give your team valuable assistance by upgrading to cloud-based, innovative veterinary practice management software. A wide selection of automated features, from inventory management and calculated doses to charge capturing and streamlined invoices, will be much appreciated. Schedule a Shepherd Veterinary Software demo to discover how you can make your team’s job easier.