Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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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59 April/May 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM to become an expectation and diminish the performance content discussed. I believe raises should be calculated based on the bud- get and distributed as merited, not because an anniversary date has been met. With goal setting in mind, rewarding an agreed-upon and completed achievement with a promised raise or bonus creates accountability and motivation to take performance to the next level. The output from a formal per- formance review should include a one-page synopsis of the clear and concise objectives discussed that can be revisited (in one minute's time) to ensure that employees and management remain on the same page. Consider having the em- ployee write the summary to both lessen the administrative work for management and to create addi- tional buy-in from the employee. Performance Chats: Praise and Redirect The next two "one-minute" steps are crucial in shaping the habits and behaviors we hope for employees to exhibit. Make an effort to routinely catch your employees doing some- thing right: be specific and timely, verbalize how it makes you feel, and encourage more of the same. Noticing and praising exemplary efforts helps to raise the bar for expectations. Likewise, recognizing an employee's attempt at success in the process of achieving a goal or learning a new skill can motivate continued improvement. it useful to utilize supervisors for the various teams in our office. Reasonably, I can expect each su- pervisor to effectively monitor and coach from five to 10 employees, depending on how much training and oversight is required. To maintain communication with supervisors and avoid endless meetings, I like to keep a Google Doc on each employee and share it with the supervisor. We use these real-time documents to keep employee notes, both positive and negative, as fly-by discussions happen. These informal notes are particularly helpful when a formal review is due or when a timeline or frequency of occurrence needs to be established. They can quickly be reformatted and stored as an official part of a personnel file. Recognize the Positives Do you have trouble remembering to get up from your desk and catch employees doing something right? Outsource some positive reinforcement with a kudos box. Our hospi- tal's box sits in the break room and is available for all employees to jot down thank- you's to their co-workers as they witness someone going above and beyond for each other, a client, a patient, the business or something personal. At the end of each monthly team meeting, we read each kudo aloud and draw one name out of the box for a prize. This is an opportunity to consistently end the meeting on a positive, team-bonding note. Whatever the method, finding a way to commit to cultivating your team will always prove to be a valu- able investment. Take a moment to put down your fire extinguisher and prioritize the work that needs to be done to promote a team of synergistic top performers. When reprimands or redi- rections are needed, the feedback should be given immediately and address one issue at a time for max- imum impact. Similar to praise, the critique should include exactly what was done incorrectly, how it made you feel — follow with an awkward pause to allow the information to sink in — reinforce that the employ- ee is capable, liked and valued, and outline steps for corrective action. It is important to phrase the criticism toward the work that was done and not personally on the doer. At first read, this sensitive approach to negative feedback feels like something the man- agement workforce would respond to with, "Ugh! Millennials!" It is interesting to note, however, that "The One Minute Manager" was first published in 1980, before millennials were even born. For me, this reinforces the fact that choosing to sharpen our emotional intelligence to most effectively understand and communicate with employees goes beyond the boundaries of generational stereotypes; it's the human condition. Controlling the Workload The process of goal setting, praising and redirecting is fairly straightfor- ward. As I said before, the challenge is finding the time and energy to get it done consistently. I find that the majority of the performance reviews and chats I accomplish throughout the year are with the top and bot- tom employees. However, empow- ering and motivating the middle group can create a larger pool of top performers who will drive your practice to the next level. Leveraging your team and technology to accomplish regu - lar performance chats and reviews can help reduce the workload on management. To keep eyes and ears on everyday happenings, I find Take Charge columnist Abby Suiter is practice manager at Daniel Island Animal Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. 1 2 I believe raises should be calculated based on the budget and distributed as merited, not because an anniversary date has been met.

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