For many veterinary practices, keeping expenses down is a key business initiative. Yet, at the same time, keeping employees engaged and productive is equally important, as it will keep turnover down and improve client service and profits overall. So, aside from cash bonuses, what can you do to boost your team’s morale and keep them plugged in for the long haul? The good news is there are a number of tactics you can take that don’t require much, if any, additional expense. Here are six ideas to help get you started.
Reward them with praise.
You may not have the extra cash flow to cut a bonus check every time someone on your team performs well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reward them in other ways. In fact, some studies have shown that praise, recognition and other similar non-monetary rewards can be just as, if not more effective than financial incentives. So the next time one of your employees goes above and beyond, show them how much it matters to you by calling them out for a job well-done.
Challenge and empower them.
There’s really nothing quite like that sense of accomplishment when you reach a goal. In fact, workplace achievements can be a wonderful motivator for even greater performance. Are you challenging your veterinary team enough? Do they have clear, specific and measurable goals to strive for? Are you giving them the power, flexibility and freedom to do what it takes to attain those goals? If not, they’re probably not reaching their fullest potential, and chances are they’re not enjoying their jobs very much as a result.
Support and promote growth.
Supporting ongoing growth, career development and continuing education is another great way to keep your veterinary team motivated and engaged. Who doesn’t want to be better tomorrow than they are today? Help your staff improve themselves – both personally and professionally. As a result, you’ll have a much more qualified, confident and successful team, which will benefit your clients, patients and ultimately your bottom line.
Another powerful motivator is trust. Your employees want to know that you are confident in their abilities and that you believe in them. By delegating responsibilities, entrusting your team members with important tasks and giving them the opportunity to shine, you’ll demonstrate that you know they’re capable and competent. Just don’t expect perfection right off the bat. Provide support, feedback and encouragement along the way and eventually you’ll see your staff begin to truly thrive.
In addition to providing regular positive reinforcement and recognition in the moment, plan more elaborate celebrations when warranted to commemorate accomplishments, whether individual or as a team. Some practices even get together regularly to celebrate recent successful patient victories. Whatever it is that makes your team members feel even more excited about what they do, make a point to publicly recognize and celebrate together.
Promote work/life balance.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget that your employees have personal lives outside of the clinic. Just because you’re okay working for hours after closing or coming in on weekends doesn’t mean your team will enjoy doing the same, at least not all the time. Understand that while your staff is dedicated to what they do and committed to making the practice a success, they’re also entitled to take time off and enjoy some down time. Giving them the green light to rest and recharge will make them much better performers when they’re back in the office.
Maintaining a successful veterinary practice takes the hard work and determination of an engaged, productive team. Keep your staff motivated and plugged in by implementing one or more of the above suggestions. Or, be creative and think up some of your own inexpensive ways to drive productivity. As a result, your practice will run smoother, your clients will be happier and your profits will continue to rise.