PRIDE: Elevate Veterinary Team Satisfaction

May 30, 2017

When was the last time you spoke with your veterinary team about their level of job satisfaction or how to elevate it? You may state, “During their evaluation, of course.”

That’s great you engaged in an evaluation, but did you really ask about their level of satisfaction and how to improve it? Often times, evaluations are focused on how well a medical duty is performed, or technical task is completed or how interactions with clients are going. Evaluations may be used as an opportunity to measure a level of competency but may not to seek ways to improve job satisfaction.

Survey SAYS team members want to be included in the decision making process, respected as a professional and supported in career development.

The following are tips to consider when spending time with your team members during their reviews or when establishing career goals.  Consider PRIDE as a way to grow your team members.

  1. Professional Acumen; at the time of hire, you on-boarded veterinary team members that are problem solvers, self-motivated and intelligent. They brought to the table a level of medical (veterinarian, technician, assistant) and client service expertise. Continue to recognize their contributions as professionals by embracing their ability to come up with new solutions, desire to grow their career in veterinary medicine and ability to serve pets and pet parents. Consider ways to grow veterinary team members as professionals; knowledgeable, focused on positive outcomes in client service and patient care.
  2. Respect their ideas; engage the team in problem solving exercises, embracing innovative solutions and brainstorming. During team meetings, identify a challenge that needs a solution. Allow for team members to brainstorm in an organic, free-flowing manner, capturing thoughts, concepts, ideas and possible solutions. Encourage brainstorming in which all answers may have merit, knowing some ideas will be a better solution than others, but all are considered.
  3. Integrate their ideas; through due process and consideration, identify top options in solving problems, then formulate a plan to implement the policies or updates. SMART Goal the integration by giving the solution a Specific title or name, Measuring its current state to show improvement/growth, making someone (or a few people) Accountable, define a Realistic approach to achieve the goal, and make it Time-bound (when it will begin, be evaluated and completed). Nothing is more demoralizing to team members than asking for their input and then not bringing their BRILLIANT IDEAS to fruition!
  4. Develop career goals; even though, as a manager, you may not understand all the options in career development in veterinary medicine, speak with your team members about their favorite duties/tasks, what they are passionate about and make a plan for career advancement. Use the Career Road Map to begin the process. Help employees identify an option that further grows their skills, fulfills their passions, serves pets, pet owners and the veterinary hospital. Encourage with routine progress reports, support with time off or financial commitment, and CELEBRATE the successes when reaching the career goals!
  5. Evaluate job satisfaction; now is the time to measure your team’s job satisfaction as a way to grow it. How will you know if you have moved the needle if you can’t determine where you are (a baseline in job satisfaction, so to speak). Well, heck, let’s use the aforementioned concept and ask your team how to problem solve measuring job satisfaction! Seek their input, evaluate the options in implementation, SMART Goal it, chart the progress and give a report. Consider adding or updating a couple questions on your evaluation to ask specifically about job satisfaction and career advancement.

Your team members needs and ideas regarding job satisfaction are shifting. Don’t guess what they want, ASK THEM! Don’t assume everyone is motivated by the same driver! Now is the time to seek their input as professionals, encourage engagement, build trust, outline options in career development and consciously improve job satisfaction.

Yours in veterinary team development,

Rebecca Rose, CVT