How do you guarantee great patient care and client service at your practice? No one wants to work at a veterinary practice that doesn’t deliver quality medicine or give great service, right? Think about that question for your own practice, no matter the position you hold -- owner or not. Be honest with yourself.
The most common answer to that question (whether posed by me or someone else) is almost always, “Yes, of course we give quality care and service!” But exploring further, I wonder if you'd be surprised that we find the majority of veterinary practices do not have the pieces in place to make sure they consistently deliver on the two key areas of quality and service.
How do policies and procedures get developed?
“Well, we’ve always done it that way.”
What kind of initial and ongoing training do you have in place for various staff positions?
“We do some initial training but mostly after that we just work together to do the best we can every day – we get really busy and don’t have a lot of time for on-going training.”
“We don’t have a lot of time for regular staff meetings so unfortunately training often doesn’t formally get done.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
Of course many, many veterinary clinics do a wonderful job of training, with both new staff and ongoing training. Often though, as with any small business, there are so many needs of the practice and only so much time and so many resources. Just getting the job done every day is a huge task. So cutting out time and resources for training sometimes falls off the priority list. I’ve talked to some people who have gone years without any formal (or sometimes even informal) training at their clinic.
The way I think we should all look at training in a two-fold way:
First, what is the cost to your practice or business if you don’t do training?
Effective training improves staff performance, productivity, medical and services outcomes, employee morale and appreciation of leadership, and most positively impacts the long-term bottom-line. Even in the short-term, average patient revenue should increase.
Secondly, what is the downside to training?
Anyone? I really don’t see an answer that carries much merit. So if training is so invaluable and important, why is it that it doesn’t happen consistently in most practices? Likely (and understandably, as I said earlier) it's that most veterinary practices are indeed small businesses.
Almost everyone can claim a lack of time, lack of resources, and lack of knowledge about putting together training programs. This comes together to result in less-than-desirable training initiatives for staff at almost all levels. The ones who do offer consistent training know the time and effort it takes.
That is one of the primary reasons we created atdove.org, a comprehensive training website full of videos, articles and blogs to either complement or enhance any veterinary practice’s training needs. Videos are either short procedural videos for all skill levels, or RACE-approved CE talks.
We’ve recently redesigned our content to make it much more of a “made to order” training program to assist owners and practice managers making everyone's lives easier out on the training front. This usually translates into a healthier, happier, more profitable practice. Even before these changes, a survey of our premium account holders showed that an amazing 98% would recommend atdove.org to a peer and 95% said that atdove.org adds value to their practice! Ironically, many excited potential new clients for atdove.org tell us the main reason they haven’t purchased a premium account yet is finding the time to sit down and do it!
So, since no practice owner or manager can be in every exam room, involved in treatment of every patient, or present for every client interaction, effective and consistent training for your teams is essential to the long-term health of your practice and the satisfaction of your staff! There is no way around that fact. Whether you look into using atdove.org or not, I urge you to find the time to invest in the training needs of your practice. It might cost a little time and money (very little money in the case of atdove.org), but the return and rewards will come in spades.