It's time to celebrate veterinary team wins

April 16, 2019

Thats rightyou get a gold star. Managers, get together with your management or the entire team to brainstorm goals (and rewards) worthy of tooting horns, patting backs and yelling, Hip-hip-hooraySTAT!

The dog on the left exceeded her veterinary client compliance numbers this month. The other two just like to be supportive of their colleagues. (Katrina Brown/stock.adobe.com)“Celebrations remind everyone that goals not only exist, but they're exciting, important, and attainable,” wrote the late practice management guru Bob Levoy in the pages of Veterinary Economics.

Your next step is ...

Like the idea of asking the team for what to celebrate and how? Make it a 15-minute brainstorming session at your next sit-down meeting with the whole team, or if you're a really big hospital, try it with the managers and team leads. Then settle on what rewards make the most sense for the most people and consider tying it to a clear business goal: special monthly or quarterly client compliance goal on a product or service or the completion of a big (hairy) new project.

Consider the topic of “team celebrations” in your next management meeting, then possibly widen the net to include everyone at an all-hands meeting.

Here's Levoy's own list to get you started:

• Employee anniversary milestones. When the best people have worked a long time at a hospital, it's easy for everybody to forget how special experience, wisdom and longevity can be.

• Achievement of practice goals. Once you've made them SMART, it'll be clear to everybody when you've hit your mark.

• Your veterinary hospital's anniversary. How many years have you been in business? Do you get to count the last owner? You might be a town landmark!

• The busiest day, week or month since the beginning of the year. Busy times are stressful, so find a way to highlight the joy of money coming in, pet owners asking for help and patients being made well.

• The end of a project. Sometimes people can work so hard during a website launch or practice remodel that they're too exhausted and irritable at the end to recognizing the amazing work they've done.

Last but not least, Levoy also recommends a little “guerrilla celebration”-in other words, celebrating when there's no reason to.

“Bring bagels and coffee for your team on a random Tuesday,” he writes. “If you keep employees off balance about what you're going to do next, you'll separate your practice from others-and convince employees to stay put when they're thinking of leaving.”

So, consider both springing a surprise on your veterinary team as well as getting their input on what things they'd like to celebrate and how in a team meeting. You and your team work hard. Make sure they stop to recognize great work and great moments when they happen.