Veterinary medicine is serious business, but every practice team needs a break once in a while. Whether you’re boosting team spirit or getting everyone involved to give to a good cause, these four tips can help you. They’re tried-and-true ideas straight from Donna Bauman, CVPM, practice manager at Ottawa Animal Hospital in Holland, Mich.
1. Hula hoop handoff—without the hands. Bauman got a little wacky at a recent staff meeting when she acquainted employees with a new way to play with a 1950s favorite. Employees paired up, clasped hands, and tried to pass a hula hoop from one to another, front to back, without letting go of each others’ hands. Winners received inexpensive but fun rewards—pens, candy, air fresheners, sticky notes. “It was full of laughs and great to see how creative they were in figuring out how to win,” Bauman says.
2. Balloon race. It was a battle of the sexes when male and female team members competed against the other sex to race in the parking lot with balloons held precariously between their chests. Drop the balloon, and it was back to the start. “Sure, it’s silly, but it doesn’t cost much and the games allow us to laugh as a team,” Bauman says. “The girls won in the balloon race, so the boys are gunning for a team-building rematch.”
3. Santa Paws. Bauman’s husband dresses up as Santa each year and takes photos with clients’ pets at $5 a pop. The money goes to Ottawa Animal Hospital’s angel fund for strays and the pets of clients who can’t afford care. “Clients start asking for the photo date in October,” Bauman says.
4. Chip and Dip. Ottawa’s angel fund gets another annual boost from this event, which proves that charity is a great morale booster, too. Doctors, technicians, and team members love working the “Chip and Dip” event, bathing dogs and trimming nails for donations, and implanting microchips at a discount. The newest addition to the event is a charity auction of donated items from pet-related vendors.
For more fund-raising and team-building ideas, see the Related Links below.