How my veterinary team wins prizes for good work


Money isnt alwaysor oftenthe biggest motivator for better veterinary team performance and success. Heres a program that works for me that lets team members choose the rewards they love the most with points given for tasks I need the most.

Letting veterinary team members choose rewards for good work? Good idea. Making them try to win prizes in a claw machine? Probably not a good idea. It's a metaphor, people. Work with us. ( had initially tried an employee incentive program at my veterinary hospital based entirely on scores earned on quarterly reviews. The staff received a quarterly bonus based on a formula that took into account practice growth and their scores on the review.

More on the contest

Tracy Sheffield is a two-time finalist in the dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest. See the 2018 finalists and learn more about the contest here.

What I found (and research backs this up) is that money, once a person is well-compensated, is a poor motivator. I had to come up with a new system.

I decided to develop a point system and give the staff the opportunity to decide how they wanted to spend their points. Here's the first program I developed.

Incentive Program

How to earn points

Be mentioned (favorably) in an online review - 50 points

Points awarded by veterinarians - Discretionary

Points awarded by practice manager - Discretionary

Review score of over 80 percent - 20 points

Forward-booked appointment - 15 points

Points awarded by co-workers (must be at least two co-workers) - 15 points per incident

Office bingo (points per bingo line) - 5 points per line


How to redeem points

One paid day off - 200 points

$5 cash (redeemable in block of 40 points or more) - 10 points

$2 in approved veterinary CE or other education (redeemable in blocks of 50 points or more) - 1 point

$1 in approved scrubs, apparel and equipment, including stethoscopes, headsets, etc. (redeemable in blocks of 30 points or more) - 1 point

$1 off a veterinary practice bill (redeemable in blocks of 20 points or more) - 1 point

Exceptional effort is rewarded, but I really want to reward the efforts that create practice growth. The online review earns the highest points because I want the staff to encourage clients to write online reviews. Forward booking is also rewarded, because that leads to exceptional patient care, and a booked appointment is stronger than any reminder. For fun, I added the dvm360 bingo game as a way to earn points.

The staff is enthusiastic about earning points and choosing whatever reward is most meaningful for them. This program is relatively new for us, but already I'm seeing results with increased forward booking and more online reviews.

A finalist for dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest this year and in 2016, Tracy Sheffield, BS, LVT, CVPM, is practice manager at Wimberley Veterinary Clinic in Wimberley, Texas.

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