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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57 February/March 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM pay day, falling in the middle of the month, your associate doctors will not receive a middle check. Divide by 24 The way ProSal works is that the guaranteed base is divided by 24. Suppose we are paying a guaran- teed base of $75,000. In that case, we would divide $75,000 by 24, thus equaling $3,125. This amount would be your associate's first payment of the month, less federal, state and other payroll deductions. This first payment is the guaran- teed payment. The second and final payroll of the month is not a fixed, guaranteed payment. To determine the second amount, take the associate's produc- tion from the previous month and multiply it by the percentage you are paying. Then, from that amount, subtract the guaranteed payment made at the first of the month. The difference will be the associate's second paycheck of the month. As an example, let's say your as- sociate produced $30,000 the pre- vious month and you are paying 23 percent of her production. Then, 23 percent of $30,000 equals $6,900, which is the total amount the asso- ciate should receive this month for the previous month's production. Because the associate was already paid $3,125 as her first (guaranteed) paycheck of the month, you would subtract that payment from her total monthly percentage com- pensation. So, $6,900 minus $3,125 would leave a difference of $3,775, which is what your associate would receive in the second paycheck. The second check is not a guar- anteed check. The amount could be $8,000 or zero; it all depends on the previous month's produc- tion. At the end of the year, if the associate was not paid the guaran- teed base of $75,000, you would owe the difference. This means the guarantee comes in at the end of the year, not monthly or quarterly. This again is a common misappli- cation of ProSal. If you always paid the guaranteed $3,125 on both payrolls each month regardless of production in the previous month, you could potentially pay more than the 23 percent you intended to pay. An Incentive to Produce Of course, the goal as a practice owner or manager is to pay the associate more than her guaran- teed base. This is a win for both the associate and the practice. Your job is to keep track of that second payroll each month. You want it to be more than the first payroll and, if not, you need to work with the associate on their production. The beauty of ProSal is that the associate cannot be paid any less than the guaranteed base. She can only be paid more. Suppose you gave a veterinarian the choice be- tween making a salary of $75,000 a year or being paid on ProSal with a guaranteed base of $75,000. Being paid a $75,000 salary means all the veterinarian can make is $75,000 for the year and no more. On ProSal, the associate will be guaranteed a base of $75,000, but since she is paid on production, she could make significantly more. Given these options, which do you think the associate would choose? She would be silly not to accept ProSal. The notion that you should not take production into account when paying an associate is financially irresponsible. Whether you actually pay production or ProSal or deter- mine a salary based on the doctor's previous production, production has to be considered. Would you pay someone $75,000 a year when she is producing only $200,000 a year? When applied correctly and fully understood, ProSal is the most fair and accurate method to pay associate veterinarians. Practice Smarter columnist Mark Opperman is president and founder of Veterinary Management Consultation Inc. and co-author of "The Art of Veterinary Practice Management, Second Edition." interest and then find a professional willing to give a presentation and skip the hard sales pitch. For sub- jects that really strike a chord, ex- plore more than a one-time seminar. Individual Guidance By and large, it's not the practice manager's place to become en- twined in the daily drama of an employee's personal problems unless the situation poses a direct on-the-job conflict. I politely listen to a co-worker's unsolicited water cool- er chatter and, when appropriate, will regale the team with anecdotes from my home life. I believe personal relationships build trust, perspective, teamwork and morale at the office, but I also know that as a manager I need to hold my teammates ac- countable for their actions and can- not allow friendships to undermine my role as their supervisor. The manager's responsibility is to step in when a team member's performance starts to suffer. A show of compassion and support is criti- cal but should fall short of providing counsel or an open-ended shoulder to cry on. A manager can main- tain professionality by suggesting resources, allowing time off, adjust- ing responsibilities, monitoring the situation and creating a structure for success. An employee handbook that promotes fairness and consis- tency from one situation to the next is important. A well-defined leave- of-absence option can be useful in extreme circumstances. Other team members can be asked to rally around their co-work- er, while preserving confidentiality, by showing grace on particularly bad days or picking up extra work in the short term. The goal is to support one another through finite periods of crisis in the expectation that the same would be done in return for any co-worker. Protecting Yourself, Your Team and Your Business I have been the recipient of grace and team camaraderie and am grateful for the privilege. My expe- riences, however, have led me to err too far on the side of compas- sion to the extent that I was some- times taken advantage of. More than once I allowed an employee's repeated poor performance, linked to personal struggles, to degrade team morale and ultimately end in a dramatic exit. I implore you to learn from my mistakes. When faced with an employee who is navigating an emotionally chal- lenging life event, guard yourself with these tips: • Set boundaries for unaccept- able behavior and make those clear to the employee in crisis early and in writing. • Listen to co-worker com- plaints regarding underper- formance. Swiftly take action when appropriate and avoid adding to gossip or griping. • Conduct a risk assessment. Consider whether any safety measures or audit processes need to be tightened during the period of instability. • Do not hold yourself per- sonally responsible for an employee's happiness or success. The weight is not on your shoulders. • Strive to use all feedback and situations constructively, but do not let an emotional employee's rant diminish your self-confidence or self-worth. While not all situations of per- sonal crisis end in positive employ- ment, investing in employee health and well-being is a worthy invest- ment for your practice and team. A show of support from a work family can help retain a valuable employ- ee and potentially make an impact- ful difference in the person's life. As a manager, I think leaving this type of legacy will be my great- est professional achievement. Take Charge columnist Abby Suiter is practice manager at Daniel Island Animal Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Continued from Page 55

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