Get a grip on employee carelessness

How do I respond when team members fail to take care of equipment?
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Dec 01, 2009


Dr. Jeff Rothstein
Broken equipment is frustrating and costly, so don't be shy about letting the team know you're upset about the poor treatment of practice property, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals in Michigan. But do so professionally. A good way to keep your cool while stressing the serious nature of carelessness is to focus on the cost of repairing or replacing the item. "It's OK to let team members know how much revenue the practice loses when they mishandle equipment," says Dr. Rothstein. "But I wouldn't ask them to pay for any of the damages."

What you can do is revoke repeat offenders' privileges when it comes to using the equipment. Decreased responsibility can impact performance reviews and potential wage increases, providing more incentive for employees to follow your handling and maintenance protocols. Another motivator: Make team members sign on and off the equipment to boost accountability and responsibility. And don't forget that thorough, careful training often eliminates this problem altogether.