4 Secrets to Creating a Cohesive Veterinary Team
Ever wonder how those uber-successful practices managed to get to where they are today? Obviously, quality medicine is one factor, but in almost every situation, it’s the underlying cohesiveness of a practice’s team that really drives growth and profitability. When everyone works together like a well-oiled machine, client service is dramatically enhanced, which reduces turnover. Likewise, strong teamwork also improves employee retention, which is challenging in today’s day and age.
So, how can you emulate this in your own clinic? The key lies in getting everyone to understand and buy into the practice vision and philosophy. Let’s take a look at four specific ways to achieve this.
Develop a clearly defined mission statement.
Your mission statement should drive not only the operation of your practice, but the actions of each individual working within. This requires that you put time and effort into what you want your practice to represent and accomplish.
Once you’ve develop your mission statement, make sure it is clearly and consistently communicated to the team. The goal is to get every employee onboard so that they align themselves with the mission and adopt it as their own. When this is done successfully, your practice mission will play a pivotal role in every action and decision made by every member of your team, which will in turn help drive the overarching goals of your business.
Hire or promote a manager with excellent leadership skills.
A strong practice manager can be likened to the needle on a compass – he or she effectively serves as the mechanism that guides the rest of the team in the right direction. Keep in mind that today’s top veterinary talent is seeking leadership that is strong, but also fair and consistent. In particular, you want someone at the helm that won’t cave in the face of stress, chaos or other uncomfortable situations. With the right leader in place, all of your employees will be able to stay on the right course for ongoing success.
Assemble a team of A-players.
If you want a top-notch veterinary practice, you’ll need a team of top-notch employees running the show. This may mean changing or strengthening your hiring practices and spending more time to handpick individuals who will meld with your existing staff and culture. Trust us – the extra effort will pay off big time when you end up with a rock-solid, unified team.
To that end, it’s important to point out that hiring for skills is really only half the battle. In fact, you could easily recruit the very cream of the crop in terms of experience, education and ability, but still end up with a toxic workplace environment. Instead, look for applicants that are not only good at what they do, but will also embrace and embody your practice’s mission and help bring it to life.
Consistently connect and engage.
Regular team meetings aren’t just about discussing new policies or going over changes to procedures. Highly successful veterinary clinics consistently hold meetings with employees with the goal of communicating, connecting and collaborating on an engaging level. Yes, you should call meetings to explain new policies, products or services, but these things should be secondary to the real purpose of getting the team together on a regular basis.
Instead, focus on things like reviewing your mission statement often to really drive it home, recognizing team members for a job well-done, inviting and encouraging open and honest feedback and keeping everyone abreast of progress toward goals. Effective team meetings foster effective teams, so make them a priority and use them for the right reasons.
At the end of the day, every practice owner wants his or her business to be wildly successful. The best way to accomplish this goal is to start from within by building and fostering a solid, cohesive team. The four approaches above are being applied successfully in thriving practices across the country and around the globe. Why not give them a try in your clinic and see if you can achieve similar results?