Working For The Person, Not The Practice




When we leave a place of employment, we typically are leaving The Boss, not the practice.staff-safariFriday, Oct. 21, 2011Working for the Person, Not the PracticeKatherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

Why do you work at your veterinary practice? Sure, you want to work with animals, so you chose a career inundated with animals. OK, you want to provide care for pets in particular, so you chose the veterinary profession. You may know that you like general practice as opposed to emergency or specialty, so you chose a family veterinary practice. But there are lots of family veterinary practices out there. Why are you at this one?

You might like your scheduled hours, but chances are you could have gotten those somewhere else. You may get paid more than you would at other places. You may like the new building or shiny equipment, but you may be working in an older setting with merely adequate equipment. What is it that keeps you at this particular practice?

Even if the practice has a mission statement or vision, these are pretty similar across practices. Basically, everyone has the goal of maintaining pets’ good health.

In reality, the main thing keeping you where you are today is the people at work, and most often it’s the person who directly supervises you, “The Boss.” You are working for this person, not so much the practice. Therefore, your relationship with this person will make or break your desire to stay at the practice.

We are truly in an age of “relationship management,” where it’s OK to admit that we like working for some people and not so much for other types of people. That’s OK, and in fact it’s human nature.

Paul B. Hofmann, a “human” doctor writing in Healthcare Executive in September/October 2009, said that establishing and maintaining a caring environment for patients is more difficult if employees do not believe they are respected and appreciated for their efforts and if they do not feel cared about by those who have responsibility for them.

Sure, it’s great to have supportive peers working beside you, but what we truly crave, and really like when it happens, is appreciation from The Boss. We want to know that The Boss treats everyone fairly. We want to feel like The Boss cares about us as a person, beyond just an employee designed to make money for the organization. We are not robots!

When we leave a place of employment, we typically are leaving The Boss, not the practice. When we stay, it’s because we “feel the love” from the person who is key to motivating us and developing our talent.

Long gone are the days when The Boss said “Jump!” and the employee smiled and said “How high?” Now the employee says, “Why do you want me to jump? What’s the purpose? Are you going to train me to do that? How will you judge my success?” Or even, “That isn’t in my job description!”

We live in a new world where technology is at our fingertips, but deep down we want to know that basic humanity is still fair and friendly. That’s the type of person we want to work for, today and tomorrow.

10-21-201110/21/2011 8:42 AM

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