BLOG

Team Wellbeing – Your Newest KPI

May 2, 2019

Move your KPIs into the 21st Century:  A Case study on tracking team wellbeing (Part 1)

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is well known as a best business practice in evaluating your hospital’s health.  You can’t manage what you don’t measure. 

The veterinary industry has been tracking the same numbers for years: revenue, new clients, average client transactions and number of visits, to name a few. The growth of practice management software has allowed us to expand on the basic and allow even more data mining into things like client retention and client referral reports. Of course, we can’t forget about those lovely expense reports: cost of goods, facility expenses and staff costs.

Now that we have outlined those “same old” KPIs, let’s pull them into the 21st century.  If you track your expenses, you’ll know that your biggest expense is your team.  We are often focused on the compensation as a percent of revenue or a line item on a Profit and Loss statement.  There is no argument that that perspective is beneficial.  However, we are missing the boat if we limit our review to those figures alone.ship off dock

It is the people that make a hospital run.  It is more than just the correct staffing levels and how much we pay them, but the true performance and wellbeing of our team.  It’s time to see “staff” as more than just a line item on your budget.

How do we track team wellbeing? 

A great question and one that we began asking at our hospital.  This is not a simple figure that comes off of an expense report or out of our practice management software program, thus we had to find another way.  Hence, a case study was born.

One that would put team wellbeing into the spotlight, track participation and record the impact on overall hospital performance.  We used the following six steps to design a team wellbeing focus program in our real-life veterinary hospital team environment.

Step 1 – Give them the whyarrow with the word why

When introducing something new to a team, it is of paramount importance to have your team understand the why.  Why is this important and why are we tracking it.  Don’t skimp on this foundational part, EVER.  We spent half a team meeting discussing self-care and wellbeing through team activities  and videos (DOVE project).

Step 2 – Pick measurable wellbeing activities

To say ‘we will focus more on team wellbeing’ would be the same as ‘we will increase our client education on heartworm prevention’.  Both are not specific enough and lack a solid measurement to track.

When tackling team wellbeing, we started by looking at wellness activities that were specific and varied enough that it would offer an opportunity for everyone.  A great resource of ideas is the AVMA’s 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing.

The activities we selected were:

  • Getting 8 hours of sleep
  • Writing in a positivity journal (also known as gratitude practice)
  • 30 minutes of non-work related movement (a walk with the dog, going to the gym, etc.)
  • 5-minute visit to the ‘rest and recharge’ basket (a basket filled with coloring sheets, colored pencils, decks of cards, bubbles, playdough, meditation ideas, etc.)
  • Daily drinking water equivalent to half your body weight in ounces

Step 3 – Track your team’s involvement in these activities

Tracking these activities relies on staff buy-in and their willingness to track their own performance.  We found the best success by making things fun and visual.  A large poster board with colorful images was set up as the tracking sheet. Posted in a high traffic area, it served to keep the team engaged by observing everyone’s progress.  We also used fun and colorful stickers to track.

Step 4 – Watch your other KPIs with intent

Many things impact KPIs and team wellbeing is no exception.  We flagged other KPIs we expected would be impacted by such a focus.  Since a happy, healthy team is more productive, our KPIs of interest were gross revenue, average client transaction (ACT), client satisfaction ratings, sick days taken and employee engagement scores.

Step 5 – Be patient

Team wellbeing is not a switch you flip.  You are helping your team build healthy habits so it’s good to check in with them often.  Expect that a shift in focus, as long as you keep it consistent, will start to show measurable change in about in about three months.  While we all desire our programs to be fast acting, this is not realistic nor sustainable.  Expect a marathon, not a sprint.

Step 6 – Keep tracking and fine tuning

In general it takes 21 days to build a habit. However, this is a drop in the bucket for a successful team wellbeing program.  You might focus on five areas this tracking period (like we did), but that doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to the same areas each tracking rotation.

There are numerous ideas – there are 100 with the AVMA’s tip page.    It is also important to see the response of your team and what brings them joy.  You want to challenge each team member according to his/her wellbeing needs. This may mean a physical wellbeing for one and an emotional wellbeing challenge for another.  Select your focus from different areas each time.  Don’t be afraid to try something different and never stop fine-tuning the process so things stay exciting and fresh!

Our Preliminary Results

Some interesting anecdotal findings were noted at six weeks in our case study.  We saw that the most popular activities were those that could easily fit into a busy work day, while those that were time consuming were avoided.  The team engaged most often in activities that could be done together.  This lead us to believe that wellbeing for them was about connection with others instead of seeking solitude.

The biggest feedback is that they LOVE this focus and they appreciate it!  They have been more active in this case study then any other.  Stay tuned for the second half of this case study that shares our findings at both three and six months.

headshot of Jamie DavisHere’s to wellbeing KPIs,

Jamie Davis, CVPM

Practice Manager and CATALYST VetPC Team Member