Tips to help associates stand out
Associates sometimes blend into the woodwork, says Shawn McVey, MSW, CEO of Innovative Veterinary Management Solutions. To prevent this, owners must pull them from the paneling and associates must strive to stand out. Here's how:
1. Make time. Devote a 30-minute segment of your staff meetings to doctors. Require attendance, even if doctors say they're too busy with patient care.2. Take a survey. Ask associates to answer questions on paper about what they want and need. "Doctors are trained to be calculated, so give them time to chew over their responses," McVey says.
3. Share talent. Don't always pair associates with new employees—they can't train like you. And associates need the opportunity to learn to work with seasoned team members.
1. Be respectful and firm. "When a long-time technician or receptionist cries to the owner because an associate does things differently," McVey says, "that associate needs to step up to the plate and explain that this is how he or she practices medicine." Note: Owners, you must allow this to happen.
2. Get involved. Interact with team members. Ask to be included in the team member review process, then provide tangible feedback.
3. Stay balanced. You make life-and-death decisions, but you're not the ultimate power, McVey says. Team members should influence your decisions. Seeking their expert input doesn't make you weak—it's makes you smart.