Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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56 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership Leadership TAKE CHARGE By Abby Suiter, MBA, CVPM Prioritizing the welfare and personal needs of employees in our practice does not stop with mothers. The web of compassion and courtesy is cast over the entire workforce. We strive to consistent- ly model servant leadership, an approach that has reshaped my definitions of success in business. My hope is for this culture and man- agement style to not only continue to flourish in our practice, but to be promoted and adopted by more businesses throughout our industry. Embrace the Positives The veterinary workforce is pre- dominantly made up of woman, many in their childbearing years. When an employee notifies man - agement that she is expecting, let's choose to celebrate and support her. Block knee-jerk, self-centered thoughts of how their pregnancy is going to be a costly disruption to the workflow and recognize the joy and enormity of the life event. Gain the perspective that work restric- tions and leaves of absence are temporary. The journey is an effort to birth and raise a member of the human race. That is not to dismiss, however, the fact that the logistics surround- ing a pregnant and postpartum employee need to be addressed and accommodated. A critical management task is to maintain an employee handbook that aims to provide consistency when addressing a large range of hu- man resource situations, including maternity considerations, that are both legally sound and in keeping with the company culture. Federal laws pertaining to maternity, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and, in some in- stances, the Americans with Disabili- ties Act, outline specific provisions that employers must make if their companies are of eligible size (15, 50 and 15 employees, respectively). While I have always respected the roles that mothers play in society, it was not until I became a mom that the breadth and depth of the job sank in. I have the tremendous fortune of working for a true servant leader, a working veterinarian-mom of three who is sympathetic and accommodating to the demands placed on my time, money, energy and head space outside the office. I will be forever grateful for the allowances she has provided, enabling me to be the involved, present mom I strive to be and to maintain a career about which I am passionate. Family first Rather than look at maternity leave and parental needs as impediments to business, see the bigger picture and adopt a practice culture that communicates empathy. When developing a written pro- tocol, start with these acts and applicable state laws to protect your business from any unintended discrimination claims. Settle on the Details Once practice leaders have deter- mined what must and cannot be done, a thoughtful workshop on what should and should not be done is the next step in develop- ing a comprehensive plan for your valuable team. Anticipate situa- tions and consider the financial, labor and cultural repercussions of your standardized response. Topics to navigate include real and per- ceived work restrictions, maintain- ing privacy, pre- and post-partum leave, handling employee benefits while on leave, returning to work, nursing and breast-pumping moth- ers, and child care issues.

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