Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

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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55 February/March 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Leadership TAKE CHARGE By Abby Suiter, MBA, CVPM The most common way to assist a co-worker during a time of need is to utilize an employee assistance program (EAP), a ser- vice designed to give employees voluntary, free and confidential access to short-term counseling. The cost of such a service is fairly well-controlled. Small businesses can expect to pay about $50 per employee annually while rates for larger ones can drop to $36 a person or less. Industry studies suggest that while often underutilized, EAPs regularly pay off by reducing the business costs incurred from em- ployee stress. Do Your Research EAPs are not the magic solution to a team's entire personal strife, but they are a solid place to start. Find- ing and paying a private therapeu- tic counselor or adviser is likely out of reach for many employees, but a well-positioned, free service could provide a much-needed stepping stone towards positive change. From a management perspec- tive, I was relieved to have the EAP option when faced with my first substance abuse HR crisis. Some situations are too delicate or dan- gerous to be handled by human resources personnel and are best left to trained counselors. When looking for an EAP that fits your budget and expectations, ask your business insurance agent or local hospital for recommenda- tions. Provider lists can be found through the Employee Assistance Professionals Association and the Society of Human Resource Man- agement. Prepare questions about after-hours accessibility, the coun- selors' education and experience, the frequency of referrals outside the EAP, and team and manage- ment training opportunities. In-House Offerings Over the years I have invited a handful of local professionals to Without a doubt, a team member struggling with a personal issue — marriage, financial, substance abuse or mental health, for example — can show a decline in productivity, attendance, energy and attitude while on the job. Personal rough patches are inevitable. But how can a practice manager support the team member, minimize any negative impacts on the hospital and guard herself from burning out in the process? address our team on topics such as financial planning, compassion fatigue, combating stress and per- sonality-based communication. We once bartered veterinary services in exchange for a series of group sessions. In each case, the informa- tion and services provided were largely well-received and seemed to invigorate individuals to dive deeper into topics that resonated with them. Even if no action was taken, employees cited the pre- sentations as why they thought management truly cared for them personally and professionally. When planning your yearly calendar of monthly team meet- ings, consider swapping a few of the business-as-usual topics with a more robust, holistic offering. Poll the team to determine topics of Continued on Page 57 From employee assistance programs to well-being seminars, the practice manager has a number of options for addressing a team member's actual or potential personal crises. Help is on the way

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