January 1, 2020

Dear Manager,

So, they want more money. It doesn’t grow on trees!

First, let’s ask some fundamental questions. Pen in hand, write out your answers.

  1. Really, more money?! How is our compensation?
  2. What have they done to deserve more money?
  3. Has money been discussed with the team?

Now, let’s address each area.

#1.  Money is a tool and it doesn’t grow on trees.hand holding money tree

As discussed in a previous blog, money is neither good nor evil; it’s a neutral resource that must be managed throughout life.

You may have heard this statement from members on your veterinary team, “I’m not in it for the money.”  On the other side of the coin, it’s believed from all levels of the veterinary team that this profession doesn’t receive comparable wages, especially compared to human medicine.

So, it is important that you understand if your wage is reasonable.  Look at other compensation packages in your immediate area (both direct income and benefits).  Then compare to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics to see if this is reasonable for the position and the area.

Another great tool at your fingertips is Salary Expert.  When viewing this site, you can determine the salary of a specific position in a city or zip code.

Finally, evaluate if raises are based on time (i.e., automatic every year) or merit.

If members of your staff have gone above and beyond in being financial stewards and team players, it is prudent to provide monetary compensation than to drive them away. Replacing quality people is costly both financially and emotionally, not to mention very difficult in today’s economy.

Do they deserve a raise?

Which brings us to #2 – what have you done to promote good financial stewardship?

If the team hasn’t been shown where the money comes from, and where it is spent, then it’s reasonable for them to assume that there is plenty of it.

Seeing both the big picture and the details can help the team understand that everyone is responsible for the income in the clinic.

For the details, show them how much money is lost in missed charges.  A team member may feel it’s OK to “give away” or miss $5 worth of charges a day. Doesn’t seem like much.

However, if 10 employees feel the same way, then that’s $50/day for a 6-day week, equaling $300/week and $15,600/year!

On the other side, not being responsible with inventory can also have a huge impact.  Does the staff understand how much money is spent on consumables such as cotton balls, gauze, needles, syringes, etc.? When instruments or equipment isn’t properly taken care of, replacement costs need to come from somewhere – and that might be their raises.

increasing chartFinally, are you open to suggestions on how to increase services? Create a list of current services. Identify what is working well, what should be cut, and if you can add other beneficial services to the list.

If you assume that the team understands these concepts, well, maybe you shouldn’t.  Take a meeting or two to cover these ideas and make sure they know where each person can chip in to save a little here and generate a little income over there.

#3 Finally, is money a taboo subject?woman covering mouth

There are many ways to share the hospital’s revenue, especially as a big picture. In general, team members don’t want to know how to build a watch (nor do they want to know the details of the finances), they just want to know what time it is (the bottom line).

While there are pros and cons to open-book management, the bottom line is to share the bottom line. To keep the finances in perspective, consider sharing a simple graph showing monthly income and expenses. In this way, the team visually sees the ratio of services provided and what it costs to provide those services. Then review it on a regular basis.

It may take several conversations but stay vigilant. After all, the reward at the end of the tunnel will be worth it.  As you grow your staff in financial savviness, the winner will be everyone: the pet, the client, the team, and the hospital.

Yours in financial strength,

Rebecca Rose, CVT

I am happy to hop on a FREE Discovery Call to discuss how we can create Open Book Management within your practice or open dialog around prosperity with your team.  We can evaluate your salaries, benefits, and design interactive Workshops that fit your needs.