Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 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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54 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership You might not have this exact situation at your veterinary practice, but clinics often face challenges that are very similar. If your practice is one of these, what can you do? Here are three possibilities that you can mix and match for your unique practice needs. Double-Check the Current Market When was the last time you looked at the going pay rate for, in this example, veterinary nurses? If it has been awhile, you likely need to re- view your pay ranges. As a starting point, review this chart of hourly pay amounts being offered in small animal companion practices, according to current key indica- tors. This is not an all-inclusive list. Rather, it's step one to help you determine whether your practice is on target with pay ranges or if you need to consider revisions. How closely does your pay structure align with these figures? Where you live in the United States likely will affect local rates, but the chart is a start. Can you extend the upper compensation range to keep dream employees at your practice? Because the U.S. economy has remained strong for a while, the reality is that you might continue to lose top talent if you can't find ways to compensate appropriate- ly, and this unfortunate fact will continue to be true until the job market tightens. And let's face it: Your best employees will likely find higher-paying opportunities no matter the economic situation. If you can't offer higher pay to a star employee, how you explain the salary cap is crucial in your attempt to keep the employee, so be pre- pared to have an honest talk about your practice's policies and budgets. Also be creative. Can you offer a one-time bonus to fill the gaps as you consider strategies two and three? Can you formulate incentive pay structures for your team? This will help your star employees to add to their paychecks, and other employees might become motivat- ed by the incentives. Win-win! Career Opportunities If you can't offer more money for the person's current job, consider promotion opportunities that exist and talk to her about the possibilities. How does your star feel about the responsibilities of a new position? If the promotion would require more education or training, can you help provide it or at least offer a conducive work environment in support of the transition? Here, though, is an important caution. Let's say a supervisory po- sition is open at your practice and it would allow you to pay a star em- ployee more than she is currently Let's say you employ the veterinary nurse of your dreams. Not only is she wonderful with the animals, she is compassionate with their owners. She communicates clearly with clients, she's highly experienced in neces- sary skills, she's always on time, she's willing to do her share and more, and she avoids gossip, among other positive traits. She is, without a doubt, a star-level veterinary nurse, one you're extremely lucky to have on your team. The problem? She is receiving the maximum pay allowable in her range, according to your practice standards, and a nearby corporate practice is known for wooing away top talent. A cost-of-living pay raise is due soon, but it's not going to make a significant difference in her earnings. Leadership H.R. HUDDLE 1 2 By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD Job Ɵtle StarƟng hourly compensaƟon: median StarƟng hourly compensaƟon: 75th percenƟle Hospital administrator $29.65 $35.10 PracƟce manager $21.65 $22.80 RecepƟonist $12.00 $13.00 CredenƟaled nurse $15.00 $16.00 Veterinary assistant $11.50 $12.50 Consider three strategies for retaining a star employee who has reached the top of the job pay range. Put on your thinking cap Continued on Page 56

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