Veterinary Articles

Enhancing Employee Engagement & Job Performance – Part 2

By |June 23rd, 2014|

Establish feedback protocols.  Give staff regular, timely feedback which improves efficiency by reinforcing the job performance you want and discouraging behaviors you don’t want.  Feedback helps you work better with your team because employees appreciate knowing how they are doing and how they can improve.  Don’t forget to solicit feedback from staff as well which further assists in efforts to improve hospital operations.  Address any employee concerns and strive to facilitate creative problem-solving.  

Develop managers.  Managers play an integral role in employee engagement.  First and foremost, managers must be engaged themselves before they can be a driver to increase employee engagement in the practice.  If managers are frustrated and unhappy about aspects of their job, they aren’t likely to be a positive influence on the rest of the team.  Formulate a plan to increase managers’ engagement if they are not fully engaged.

Create employee developmental plans.  Employee developmental plans improve job satisfaction and employee engagement because they facilitate training and career [...]

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    What Is One Of The Greatest Challenges For Small Businesses?

What Is One Of The Greatest Challenges For Small Businesses?

By |June 16th, 2014|

Succession Planning.Blood is thicker than water. You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. That is true unless your family also owns a business that employs your sisters, brothers, nephews, cousins and grandchildren. While family businesses create a sense of pride because the family’s and company’s name is on the door, it also creates a problem because it is not always clear where family ends and the business begin.Disciplining, giving negative feedback, and termination, which are the ultimate form of discipline, are difficult tasks for any manager. In the case of termination, a “regular” employee leaves the organization and may never be heard from again. If you fire or even discipline a family member you still may have to sit at the same table with them for Thanksgiving dinner.I worked for a publicly held but family-run business in St. Louis for many years. I watched the CEO’s son join the organization and rise rapidly through the [...]

Enhancing Employee Engagement & Job Performance – Part 1

By |June 11th, 2014|

Wikipedia’s definition of employee engagement states that “…an engaged employee is a person who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work.”  During slow economic times, team members may be faced with more clients who cannot afford care.  As a result employees may have difficulty staying upbeat and job performances may suffer.  When employees are not engaged, job satisfaction, productivity, and client service can all decline.

The level of employee engagement is critically important in the delivery of veterinary medical care and client service.  Partially engaged employees may not be accountable and may not be as efficient and productive as they could be if they were fully engaged.  Disengaged employees don’t have the inclination or passion to cater to the needs of pet owners and often don’t work well with other employees.

Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement
Use the following strategies to help improve employee engagement resulting in greater job satisfaction, increased efficiency and productivity, and enhanced client [...]

Are You The Best Interviewer In The Port City?

By |June 3rd, 2014|

So, who is the best interviewer in the Port City? What is the secret of his or her success? Sound the buzzer. If you said “gut feel” or any variation of that, you’re wrong. And I’m going to tell you why.In my line of work, I have seen too many hiring decisions made after the person who is doing the hiring has a casual conversation with a prospect and decides she really likes him or her. But why does she like that person? Without data to support her position she might as well flip a coin to make her decision.It’s crazy that one of the most important activities in choosing human capital is handled so casually and in many cases without any preparation. It’s like deciding to bake a cake, not reading the directions, randomly throwing in some ingredients you think ought to be in a cake, putting the results in the oven and hoping for the best.There is [...]

The Biggest Challenge of 2014? Human Capital

By |June 3rd, 2014|

It is refreshing to finally hear human capital cited at the No. 1 challenge in 2014 based on The Conference Board’s global survey of more than 1,000 corporate leaders. These leaders further described human capital as involving how to develop, engage, manage and retain talent. This is a great list, and I am pleased that human capital is finally getting its rightful place in how to win in the marketplace. At the same time, I am a little disappointed not to see talent acquisition on that list. Some of the need for development, engagement and retention will be reduced if you get the “right” people on the bus to begin with. Using well-developed tests and assessments can be a tremendous help in screening problem candidates out of the selection process before they become your employees. I’ll get off my selection bandwagon until another time. I do want to share my thoughts about development, engagement and retention, how I define them, and [...]

A How-to Guide to Employee Development

By |June 3rd, 2014|

In a recent column, I wrote about my reaction to a recent Conference Board Study that cited human capital as the biggest challenge for CEOs in 2014. The article went on to cite three particularly challenging aspects of human capital management: engagement, development and retention. In the first column, I said that I would come back and talk about how to “do development” in a later column. That column is now.
In the first column, I described my experience with line managers who wanted to develop their people but did not know how. The Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro has focused on manager/leader development for the last 40 years. In the 1980s, three of the center’s faculty members, Mike Lombardo, Anne Morrison and Morgan McCall, published a book entitled, “The Lessons of Experience.” The most significant finding in the book was that the place where most executives learn and develop is on the job. I remember when I first read [...]

Will Management Ever Learn? Select Slow And Fire Fast

By |June 3rd, 2014|

Having been in the working world for many years I have been through a number of economic cycles.  They are pretty predictable. The economy starts to grow and businesses expand and then the economy contracts and companies try and “right size.” Right size is a euphemism used in the business to describe getting costs in line with revenue, a process that typically involves laying off people. Here is the thing that no manager in his or her right mind would ever admit to you: when business starts to slow and the meeting is held where managers are informed that they need to reduce their headcount by 10 percent, there is a collective sigh of relief in the room. Why is that? It’s because the managers who did not deal with their problems early on now have an easy way out. Let me explain further. Most managers do a lousy job of selection. That doesn’t change, but the economic environment does. It [...]

Want to Improve Productivity? Improve Employee Engagement

By |June 3rd, 2014|

This is the third column is a series I have written in response to a Conference Board Study that identified human capital as the biggest challenges for CEOs in 2014. The study went on to detail three parts to human capital management:  development, retention and engagement. This column will focus on engagement, what it is, and how you can increase it.

I said in the first column in this series that W.A. Kahn, a professor of organizational behavior, has defined engagement as “… the extent to which a person is psychologically present in work roles.” Said another way, engagement is the degree to which an employee will demonstrate discretionary effort in a situation if given a choice. In any organization, it is fairly typical for a third of the workforce to be engaged, another third of the workforce to be neither engaged nor disengaged, and the other third to be disengaged. If you could get the two thirds of the organization that [...]

Solve Problems For Clients

By |May 27th, 2014|

Despite your team’s best efforts, there will be times when service errors occur or clients become disgruntled about something.  Empower your staff to address and handle problems for clients when they occur.  Clients will be happier and impressed if your employees can quickly take action to resolve lapses in service or help them with their problems.  For example, if a client needs to pick up or drop off their pet outside the regularly scheduled time period, they will be thrilled when a team members works to accommodate their schedule.  Likewise, when breakdowns in communication occur, clients appreciate an apology and actions to improve communication.

Efforts to create an exceptional client service experience and promote a service-oriented culture are on-going.  Assess your service on a regular basis and formulate action plans to improve service when needed.

Differentiate Your Veterinary Customer Service

By |May 12th, 2014|

Service standards can elevate the level of veterinary customer service and differentiate your business.  Create standards that help to create a positive memory for the pet owner.  Start with a few standards at a time and train everyone on the team to meet the standards.  Develop standards for the most common client interactions such as on the phone, in the exam room and during check-in and check-out times.  Include the entire team in dialogue about standards to capture great ideas, facilitate training and to ensure buy-in.

Avoid creating standards that are scripted phrases which lack authenticity.  For example, train team members to use appropriate phrases such as, “Hi!  This must be Josie-she’s so cute.  Tell me more about what’s going on with her” rather than merely asking “How can I help you?”

To further differentiate your practice with client service, brainstorm ideas with the team on how to cater to the needs of clients and how to exceed client expectations.  This [...]