Staff Management

What Is Staff Management?

Staff management is the management of the subordinates within a veterinary practice. Most of these functions are performed by the practice owner and/or the hospital manager. The following are some of the responsibilities required of the staff manager.

Policies and Procedures Manual (to guide behaviors in the workplace)

Policies help ensure that behaviors in the workplace conform to federal and state laws, and also to expectations of the practice. Often, policies are applied to specified situations in the form of procedures. Personnel policies and procedures help ensure that employee laws are followed and minimize the likelihood of costly litigation. A procedure is a step-by-step list of activities required to conduct a certain task. Procedures ensure that routine tasks are carried out in an effective and efficient fashion.

Employee Hiring/Firing

Veterinary practices that are the most successful at employee retention will be those that recognize a retention plan cannot be approached with a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. It is therefore important to understand staff and address their needs when feasible and practical, while both short-term and long-term strategies need to be established and applied equally and fairly.

Many of the old rules of recruiting will not work for Generation Y and employers need to understand how to manage, motivate and retain these candidates to compete for them in the future. For example, flexibility of employment and policies to address work/life balance issues should not be exclusively for employees with a family. Many other employees enjoy flexible working practices to pursue hobbies or other interests.

Many employment consultants anticipate that the recruitment market will be characterized by tighter conditions, customization of jobs to suit individual employees and a more positive attitude towards mature candidates. We expect candidates in demand to become far more selective – as is already occurring. And as employers attempt to attract candidates, salaries at this level are being pushed higher.

Employee Evaluation Procedures and Performance Reviews

According to a leading web-based performance management system supplier, employees do not feel they receive adequate communication about their performance on an ongoing basis. From a pool of more than 100 respondents, only 45 percent of individuals surveyed feel their managers consistently communicate to them about their performance throughout the year and between review periods.

As veterinary practices lunge forward to put the recent economic downturn behind them, their most important assets, their employees, are now more important than ever. Practices and their employees are under more pressure than ever to meet the hospital goals. Conducting productive employee performance evaluations and delivering ongoing communication about performance is a critical component in helping keep a pulse on the efforts made by employees to help achieve real and measurable practice results. This includes all staff members and associate veterinarians.

Employee Compensation and Incentive Programs

Direct compensation is an employee’s base wage. It can be an annual salary, hourly wage or any performance – based pay that an associate receives. Indirect compensation is far more varied, including everything from legally required public protection programs such as Social Security to health insurance, retirement programs, flexible working schedules, paid leave, or even company parties.

The general consensus of recent studies is that pay should be tied to performance to be effective. However, it is not easily done. Performance can be affected by many factors over which employees have no influence. Successful managers must search for things employees influence and base performance objectives on these areas. The more production information data your practice has, the easier this is to accomplish.

Team Building

People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and my team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your practice.

In a team-oriented environment, you contribute to the overall success of the hospital. You work with fellow members of the practice to produce these results. Even though you have a specific job function, you are unified with other employees to accomplish the overall objectives. The bigger picture drives your actions; your function exists to serve the bigger picture.

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