© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
Compensate for community kindness
Q: Our veterinary practice often plans outreach activities for the community. Can we require team members to attend these events on their own time? If so, how should we compensate them?
"Congratulations on making the decision to give back to the community that takes care of you, your staff, and your clinic!" says Brian Conrad, CVPM, practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash. Not only is it an act of kindness, but community service is also a great way to bring your team closer together and give everyone a break from the fast-paced environment of practice life.
Over the past five years, Conrad has focused his practice's efforts away from many traditional forms of marketing and instead devoted a large portion of the staff's time and resources to working in the local community. "We're able to give back and at the same time create an awareness of our clinic, build and develop new relationships, and educate both current and potential clients about our products and services," he says.
But even with all of these benefits in mind, you need to recognize that community outreach activities may cut into your staff's personal time. If you make it a requirement for staff members to work a community event or program, then normal compensation isn't only appropriate but also necessary. If the event is optional, ask for volunteers who share your passion for the cause and give those staff members something special as a token of your appreciation.
"In our practice, we've rewarded volunteers with clinic apparel, additional paid time off, or dinner certificates to use with their family. It's a simple way to thank them for their time and dedication to both our practice and our community," Conrad says.