The Place To Be
I used to think that the winning practice was the one who had more clients through the door.
As a veterinary practice manager, and now as a human resources consultant, I focus on helping practices be the place that pet owners want to bring their pets. That’s pretty obvious, for many reasons. We are all here to improve the healthcare of pets, and in order to do that we have to establish a relationship with the human being on the other end of the leash.
As a business, we want to remain financially sound enough to keep the doors open, to appeal to the pet owners, to let us take care of the pets. All of these things become possible for our practice when we can create a culture that sets us apart from the competition. I used to think that the winning practice was the one who had more clients through the door; I’ve recently had a change of heart.
When you really get down to it, the culture is created by the practice owners, and fertilized by the people who are hired on to the team. A mission, vision and core values are the soil where these team members are planted and hopefully encouraged to grow. It takes time, patience, a little plant food (i.e., rewards and recognition), and faith that we’re creating the garden we want to sow.
When you’ve done a good job at creating this culture, it will become apparent from the number of clients that come in, but even more importantly for this discussion, a place where people want to work. It takes a practice with the right kind of culture for veterinary professionals to want to leave their current jobs, and come to work at the practice with the best culture. This becomes a true mark of success. When you think about it, a pet owner comes in fairly infrequently, maybe once a year or less at times. This isolated encounter will be either good or bad, and they’ll make a decision on where to go in another year or two.
Yet for employees, these are folks who every single day have to wake up and feel good about their jobs, want to go back to the practice, understand that yes, there will still be bad days, but with a supportive team and a honest culture infused with integrity, we’ll make it through the tough times.
Every place has its bad days, but the difference is in how the team responds, and rallies together for the next day to come. Employees will come back, if your practice has become The Place To Be.