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Back to Basics: Why a Solid Operational Foundation is Key to a Successful Veterinary Practice

June 2024 | admin
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In the ever-changing competitive and demanding environment of veterinary medicine, a solid operational foundation is fundamental. From a business development standpoint, a solid operational foundation makes it easier to scale your practice as it grows. With clear processes and documentation, new branches or additional services can easily be added without disrupting the existing operations. Clear and consistent standards are also essential to set employee expectations for everything from performance management to legal compliance.

An Employee Handbook serves as a comprehensive guide for your practices’ policies and guarantees all employees understand the practice’s procedures and expectations. This leads to consistent, operational efficiency.

Having well-documented policies protects also the practice from legal complications by outlining compliance with labor laws, workplace safety regulations and industry standards. It also serves as a reference in case of disputes or misunderstandings. By detailing policies and enforcing them uniformly, a handbook ensures rules are applied consistently towards all team members which reduces perceptions of favoritism or bias.

Job Descriptions help provide clear explanations to help employees understand their roles, responsibilities and scope of their role in the practice. This reduces confusion and overlap, leading to more effective teamwork and productivity.

These also serve as valuable tools for onboarding new employees by presenting a clear understanding of the practice’s operations and expectations, which fast-tracks the training process and reduces the learning curve.

It’s not fair to your team to assume they “know” something without providing the tools to be successful. Consistency in operations reduces the likelihood of errors, which is particularly important in vetmed where mistakes can have serious consequences.

Job Descriptions should also serve as a reference for underperforming team members is. During performance evaluations, management can refer to job descriptions to assess whether employees are meeting the requirements of their role. This objective criteria helps ensure performance evaluations are fair and consistent across the practice.

Performance Improvement Plans, or PIPs, are a structured way to identify areas where employees may be struggling and provide a clear path for improvement.

A well-implemented PIP shows the practice is invested in the growth and success of its team and promotes a supportive and positive work environment. We WANT our employees to be good at their job and sometimes that includes additional training, mentoring or adjustments to their workload. Successful PIPs depend on the practice’s efforts as much as the employee’s.

A Raise Rubric is just a fancy name for a scoring guide used to evaluate performance by defining expectations and listing what employees will be assessed on. Sharing your practice’s Raise Rubric encourages continuous improvement amongst your team members, which helps retain top talent by recognizing and compensating their contributions appropriately and fairly.

Every team member deserves to know what is expected of them and how they can grow within the practice.

A veterinary practice with a strong operational foundation is well-positioned for success. Concise handbooks, detailed job descriptions, structured performance improvement plans and transparent raise rubrics not only ensure your practice operates smoothly, it also elevates the quality of care provided to clients and their pets. And we all know satisfied clients are more likely to return and refer others to your practice!

by Meghan Bingham
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