Practice Management News and Views from around the World – June 2017

8 Easy Ways to improve Staff Engagement and Performance

From a newsletter by Andy Edwards published on the Vets Elite website

Staff issues are top of the gripe list for every independent practice owner we speak to in the UK. But, with the right leadership, management and guidance, your issue-prone staff can quickly be turned into the team of your dreams.

Share the bigger picture with your team. Communicate your practice targets and how they can help you to achieve them

What’s your practice target? To become a 1m business by 2018? To increase revenue by 30%? Whatever goal you may have, sharing this with your team can be a great way of pulling everyone together.

The individual roles and responsibilities, and how they directly contribute to the larger, team target will then become much clearer in your staff’s eyes. Especially if there’s a lovely reward for everyone once the target has been achieved.

Set Individual Goals and Targets

Now that you’ve shared your practice target with the team, how can each individual help you to achieve it? Motivate each member of your team by stressing the importance of their role, whether they are a vet or cleaner, and set goals and rewards to ensure they excel on a day to day basis.

Be Open and Honest with you Team

Your team are at the face of your business on a day to day basis and probably have lots of great ideas as to how processes and operations can be improved. Encourage your team to share this information with you in a controlled environment such as a structured team meeting or developmental 121.

Address their concerns and create action based on their suggestions. Also, share overall performance with your team and what needs to happen to make improvements.

So if you’re behind target one month, explain this to your team and diplomatically explain why – then create a master plan with your team and implement it.

The more they understand why you’re making changes, the more likely they are to comply fully.

Be Proactive with your Communication

Practice gossip can spread like wildfire and can have a detrimental effect on your team’s performance and engagement. Ensure your employees hear any updates about the practice from the ‘horses mouth’ first.

Promote the Type of Practice You Want to Be

By promoting that you want your practice to be seen as the friendly community vet that cares for each individual as if they were family, you create a culture in practice that you want your team to achieve.

Don’t be shy and promote how you want your practice’s effectiveness, reputation, values and ethics to be perceived by your clients and the local community.

How Can Each Member of your Team Help to Create the Right Practice Culture?

Ask each member of your team just that. Now that you’ve shared the type of culture you want to see in practice, ask your team how they can help you to achieve it. By creating the suggestions, your team will be more likely to display the type of behaviour you have discussed on a day to day basis.

Share Practice Success Stories and How Individuals are Excelling

Whether it’s a weekly or monthly round up email, or a small section of your team meeting. Asking your team to share their success stories, or what they are doing in particular to support the company’s target will be great for team performance and engagement. Not only will you be rewarding the member of staff who has demonstrated that type of behaviour, but by showing that reward, you will be encouraging others to follow suit.

Trust Your Team and Allow Them to Trust Each Other

Your team need to trust each other as well as you, their leader. In a busy practice, micro management is not an option, nor is it an engaging and encouraging way to lead a team. Set clear expectations and delegate responsibilities to your team and trust that they will be completed – self managers are always the best employees.

You can click here to visit the Vets-Elite website

Why outside investors want in on the veterinary profession

From an article by Michael Dicks published in the dvm360.com website

In a competitive market, money flows toward the best opportunity. Which suggests that veterinary hospitals offer a better return than other types of businesses. Think not? Investors are likely focused on the potential for increased client compliance. In fact, closing the gap between needed care and purchased care offers a five-fold opportunity in revenue growth. And that’s enough to get (almost) anyone’s

Breaking it down

First, IDEXX recently estimated that, for an average dog living 12 years, total client compliance with American Animal Hospital Association standards of care would produce $17,700 of gross revenue over the dog’s lifetime. However, the average veterinary practice currently provides $3,600 in services for that same dog (see Figure 1).

While it’s clearly unrealistic to expect you could turn around tomorrow and capture the total value of care required by all pets, it is possible to close the gap. More profitable practices estimate that the lifetime value of care they’re providing is more than double that $3,600 figure. And even relatively modest improvements represent considerable growth potential when you look at the total number of pets you see in a year

What’s holding us back?

Your everyday experience shows there are barriers to overcome. When you adjust for inflation, U.S. household incomes declined over the past two decades. And at the same time, the cost of veterinary care increased at more than twice the pace of other goods and services. So we’re seeing a widening gap between the veterinary care pets need and what pet owners will pay for. The future health of the veterinary profession (and those investors’ returns) depends on finding effective strategies to close this gap

You can click here to visit the dvm360.com website

How to Make Your Veterinary Practice Environmentally Sustainable

From an article newsletter by Kevin Hill, content editor and online marketing manager at Quality Scales Unlimited

Measuring animal performance is critical in several fields such as livestock farming and veterinary practices. You must keep the animals healthy and have the ability to measure their health regularly.

If you run a veterinary business, make sure that apart from monitoring animal’s health you also maintain a sustainable practice. Let us see how you can integrate eco-friendly features into the practice.

4 Ways to Make Your Veterinary Practice Green

1. Reducing Production of Waste and Improving Waste Management

Waste is inevitable in any industry but how you address it makes all the difference. You can improve waste management in the following ways:

  • Ensure that the recycling programs are well-established and followed by everyone in the company.
  • Ensure the staff knows proper disposal means for all the waste products and items within the facility.
  • Get your staff excited about the company’s recycling program so that they actively participate in it.
  • Familiarize yourself with waste disposal and recycling options in and around your area.
  • Encourage the staff to print only when it is absolutely necessary. You can further save paper by printing on both the sides.
  • Request your suppliers to minimize the packaging material whenever it is possible to do so.
  • Make sure that you have recyclable products in your office, such as products made from recycled or recyclable wood, paper, aluminum and glass.
  • Keep separate waste stations which include separate compartments for trash, recyclables, and even compost material, while adhering to the local laws.
  • Increase the control of your inventory flow and reduce the amount of generated waste from extra packaging for small or single-item shipments.

2. Increasing Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can be increased by:

  • Replacing light bulbs with efficient bulbs that use less energy while emitting comparable lighting.
  • Installing motion sensors in low-traffic areas so that you don’t waste energy on lighting such areas.
  • Installing timers/motion sensors in security lighting systems.
  • Replacing old equipment like freezers, computers, refrigerators with Energy Star certified equipment.
  • Turning off the computers when not in use.
  • Tinting glass windows and insulating them to minimize heat loss in winters and heat gain in summers.
  • Unplugging infrequently used electrical devices until they are needed.

3. Enhancing the Efficiency of Water

Water is an important element and you can increase its efficiency by:

  • Installing water filters for drinking water instead of using bottled water.
  • Installing low-flow water fixtures for faucets and low-flow flush toilets wherever they are practical.
  • Designing your landscape using non-toxic and drought-resistant plants.

4. Reducing the Use of Chemical Products

  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products for floors, windows, surfaces and laundry.
  • Dispose of medical, universal and hazardous waste in a proper way. This includes unused pharmaceuticals too. Follow the necessary guidelines and regulations carefully.
  • Adopt digital radiography for eliminating various hazards associated with substances and chemicals that are used in the developmental process for radiographic films.
  • Use digital thermometers in order to eliminate environmental hazards that are associated with a mercury thermometer breaking accidentally.
  • Make sure you have a written Hazard Communication Plan (HCP) that has all the information on how one must deal with contamination and spills of various products that are used in the veterinary practice. Ensure that all your employees are familiar with the plan, which should also address the resolution of spills and contamination, if any, in the most environmentally safe manner possible.
  • Use low to no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and adhesives as they do not volatilize into the air and contaminate it.
  • Make use of reverse distribution channels and take-back programs for unused or expired pharmaceuticals.

You must invest in livestock scales as they make it easy to monitor the health of your animals. It can measure and check for sudden weight loss or gain, both of which can indicate a disease in the animal. Identifying such things sooner will help you address the problems sooner before they turn into an epidemic.

You can click here to visit the Quality Scales Unlimited website

5 Golden Rules for Conflict Resolution

From an article newsletter by Adam Gale and published in the ManagementToday website

Arguments at work aren’t necessarily bad. It’s what happens afterwards you’ve got to worry about

Conflict is inevitable, stupid. It’s human nature. While the modern leader may want harmony and co-operation in the workplace, a few million years of evolutionary biology would beg to differ. Shove people together and set them on a task, and sooner or later there will be war.

You may hope to manage conflict, but this too may be wishful thinking. ‘Managing conflict – I have no idea what that means. It’s just not a thing to be managed. You can squash its appearance, but the only way you’re going to get rid of conflict is if you offer everyone a free frontal lobotomy,’ says mediator Michael Jacobs from CMP Resolutions. Try clearing that with HR…

It’s not always a bad thing to have arguments, in any case. It just means people have strong opinions and are willing to voice them. What matters, what has the capacity to either strengthen the bonds of trust in a team or to poison the office culture, is what happens afterwards.

1. Have a Conversation (just not with a manager)

‘What’s dangerous is we form judgements about each other post-argument. We carry them around with us, they don’t have an expiration date and they shape almost every interaction we have afterwards,’ says Jacobs.

Pretending it never happened is clearly not going to prevent those judgements from disrupting your working relationship with the person in question. You need to have a conversation with them about it – just don’t be tempted to get your manager involved at this stage. They will be seen as a judge, but it will be difficult for them to remain impartial, says Jacobs.

2. Make it About You

‘These conversations begin one of two ways, either “I want to talk because you…” or “I want to talk because I…”,’ says Jacobs. ‘If you begin with “I want to talk because you…”, the conversation will end before it begins, because you’re making it a judgement about them and when we’re judged we all either close down or hit back.’

This may require some discipline as the conversation goes on, since you’ll probably feel that they really are to blame – but hurling accusations will not help matters.

3. Remember there is no such thing as an unreasonable person

I know what you’re thinking, but what about Keith in accounts? But unreasonableness is really another way of saying someone else thinks differently to you – they may be wrong, they’re not being unreasonable for them.

Unfortunately, it can be very frustrating when people don’t see things the same way. It’s essential therefore to understand how they think about the situation. ‘I don’t get to speak until I’ve summarised back to what you’ve said in such a way that you sign off on it,’ says Jacobs.

4. Take a Step Back

Even if you’re trying meticulously to understand each other and avoid blame, there’s always potential for further antagonism when discussing a relationship problem. If you find yourself getting flustered, angry or tongue-tied, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that you’d like to reflect on what they’ve said.

‘Give it sufficient time and don’t assume it will be done in one go. You may need to come back and have other conversations – people get caught up in loops,’ says Jacobs.

5 Hold on to the Nuclear Option

No, this doesn’t mean keeping a small plutonium warhead under your desk ‘just in case’. The nuclear option is leaving. After all, not every conflict will end with a handshake and no hard feelings, despite your best efforts.

‘Can you live with this, without waking up at 2am with revenge fantasies playing in your head?’ Asks Jacobs. ‘I wish sometimes people would make that as a more conscious choice – you know what, I really can’t live with it, I’ve got to go someplace else.’

You can click here to visit the Management Today website