Why do my veterinary clients do less when I talk more?

by easyDVM

Starting a new veterinary practice involves lots of decisions and lots of work. What type of building is best? Which location is perfect? Is cloud veterinary software better than a program on your own server? One of the most time-consuming but critical elements to creating a successful practice is forming sold veterinarian/client/patient relationships. These relationships are key to the best care for your patients, as well as follow through on the part of their owners.

While most veterinary doctors think that lengthy explanations spur their clients to follow through on their guidance, research tells us that is not the case at all. In fact, research has shown that the more a veterinarian talks, the less likely compliance will follow. Specifically, the more we deliberate about a decision, the less likely we are to make a decision at all.  Decisions are made emotionally. So, how do you ensure that your clients follow through for healthier pets?

How do People Make Veterinary Decisions?

Knowing what we do about clients tuning out long-winded veterinarian guidance, it points out that their decision-making process differs from what is expected. In fact, most people make decisions about their pets based on emotions rather than logic. Given how much people love their pets, this is likely understandable.

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So, veterinary practices need to be cognizant of emotional elements of the veterinary-client relationship, like these:

  • First impressions – The initial meeting of a client is crucial. While you are examining their beloved pet, they are sizing you up at the same time. Your bedside manner cannot be understated in terms of importance.
  • Comfort level – When clients are comfortable with your care and your advice, they will listen to your guidance. Building that trust level is a key point.
  • Appreciation – Clients should be appreciated and thanked for their business.
  • Compliments – When a client follows the veterinary advice that your practice gives them, they should be complimented for the follow through and taking such great care of their pets.

How Can You Improve Compliance?

Improving compliance is central to growing your veterinary practice. The more clients comply with your advice, the healthier their pets will be. This will certainly lead to better relationships between the practice and the clients. And, great relationships lead to greater loyalty and more referral patients. Luckily, user-friendly web based veterinary practice management software can enhance compliance, solidify relationships, and boost your veterinary practice.

Here are some far-reaching measures that your practice can set up using veterinary software to ensure maximum compliance and client happiness:

  • Take an assessment of current compliance: Don’t estimate, as you’ll often guess that the level is higher than it really is. Communicate with the client and ask!
  • Get the whole team involved: Established follow up procedures on veterinary guidance free up your time to focus on patients in front of you.
  • Set improvement goals: Decide as a team on goals for compliance and put one of the team members in charge of the process improvements.
  • Measure results: Using web-based veterinary software makes it simpler for the team to track communications with clients and track results in better compliance. Sometimes, clients just need a reminder!
  • Celebrate: When compliance increases due to the work of the team, it’s time to celebrate! Maybe order lunch for the office or buy them each a small gift to motivate continued focus on the health and happiness of patients.

Successful veterinary practices are a combination of animal loving doctors and support staffs that want the best for their patients. To make sure that your practice builds great relationships with client pet owners and grows financially, you need great veterinary software that is user friendly.

Is an ESOP a Good Option for My Veterinary Practice?

by easyDVM

Employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs, are a powerful way of encouraging your employees to take an active interest in your business. They can powerfully impact your company for the better, although they’re not without drawbacks. Read on to learn more about ESOPs, and how they incentivize employees.

What Is an ESOP?

An ESOP is a plan where a company pays benefits to employees in the form of shares in the company. These shares can’t be sold off until the employee leaves the company.

When that happens, the company automatically purchases the employee’s stock. Employees can choose to receive that money in a lump sum, or in payments over time.

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Different ESOPs may be set up differently. Some companies may not distribute stock to employees until they’ve been with the company for a certain length of time. Others may distribute a type of stock that doesn’t come with voting privileges, which restricts employees from making key decisions (unless they buy normal stock in the company on their own, of course).

An Example

Sarah works as a veterinarian at a practice with an ESOP. She came on because she liked this investment option – although she had to work there for a year to get it, and it doesn’t give her voting rights.

Every year, her ESOP benefits buy shares in the veterinary practice. She can’t sell them until she leaves the practice. Because she can’t get out of her investment early, she knows she has to work hard to see the practice succeed.

Sarah is nearing retirement age. She’s excited for her shares to “vest”, meaning she’ll receive money for them (matching their value at the time of her retirement). The veterinary practice will directly buy her shares, then distribute them over time to other veterinary employees.

The Benefits

Employees like ESOPs. Giving veterinary employees stock in the corporation will encourage them to apply at the veterinary practice and stay there longer, so they accrue benefits. If a practice is having trouble recruiting and retaining veterinary employees, an ESOP can be a key part of a strategy to turn that around. ESOPs also often come with many tax benefits for employees and the veterinary practice.

ESOPs also encourage employees to care about the veterinary practice. Their investment is tied to investors’ confidence. If employees don’t care about the practice’s future, an ESOP is a powerful way of reminding them that everyone should be pulling together.

Limitations and Drawbacks

Despite their appeal, ESOPs have some serious limitations and drawbacks. Perhaps the most obvious limitation is that not all companies distribute stock. A sole proprietorship or other non-stock corporation won’t be able to provide employees an ESOP.

Stock is a measure of real ownership in a veterinary practice. When a practice sells stock to the public, they lose a certain amount of control over their practice to shareholders. Veterinary practices with ESOPs often cede some control to their employees, although nowhere near as much as they cede in a model like a worker-owned cooperative. Concerned practices can distribute ESOP stock that doesn’t give employees voting privileges.

In some rare but troubling cases, an ESOP may incentivize bad employee behavior. An employee might fail to blow the whistle on scandalous practices within the practice, for instance, because this would cause investors to lose confidence in the veterinary practice and cause the employees’ investments to lose value. Rather than addressing the bad practices and amending them, employees might allow the toxic elements within the practice to fester. To avoid this, it’s vital to maintain a culture of accountability and honesty within the veterinary practice.

For practices that dispense stock, an ESOP can be a valuable way to incentivize employees to sign onto the veterinary practice and work toward its success. ESOPs aren’t an option for every practice, and should be carefully considered before they’re implemented, but can transform a veterinary practice’s culture for the better.

Giving Millennial Veterinarians a Sense of Purpose

by easyDVM

When it comes to careers, millennials have very different priorities compared to their Boomer parents. If you are looking to attract millennials to work in your veterinary practice, or reduce turnover among the young staff you already have, you need to consider what this new generation of veterinarians needs to achieve job satisfaction. Here are a few tips you can use to give your millennial veterinarians a sense of purpose to make them feel happy in their jobs.

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Studies show that millennials consider training and career development opportunities to be high priorities in their working experience. Always provide your millennial employees with training opportunities that allow them to obtain new skills and improve the ones they already have. For example, train your younger employees to use the latest veterinary technologies so your clients can benefit from the best in cutting edge care. Consider offering funding and flexible working hours to help your millennial veterinarians take specialist training courses or attend conferences.

Work-Life Balance

Compared to Boomers, millennials often place a higher priority on work-life balance. Both men and women are committed to caring for their families. Millennials are also likely to have hobbies and fitness activities that they do not want to give up when they start a new job. Be prepared to work with your millennial employees to find schedules that allow them to maintain a fulfilling life outside of their jobs.

Career Advancement

Simply having a secure job is not enough for many millennials. To be satisfied by their careers, they need to feel that they are making progress toward a long-term goal. Talk to your millennial employees and potential hires to find out what they want out of their careers. Do they want to run their own practice one day, or become a leading specialist in a particular area of veterinary medicine? Ask what you can do to help your millennial veterinarians achieve their dreams. The answer might be to allow millennials to take on more responsibilities to prevent them from becoming bored in their current roles.

Direct Feedback

Millennials thrive on feedback. Raised on an expectation that they will be able to publicly review every service they use, they expect the same direct consumer feedback when they enter the workforce. Always pass on client feedback to millennials, as well as letting them know that you appreciate their efforts and giving them tips to help them improve their performance in future. Millennials also like you to be able to give their own feedback. Regularly ask your veterinary employees how the environment and working conditions in the practice could be improved.

Supportive Culture

Compared to previous generations, millennials are much more clued up about mental health and well-being. They expect employers to take their well-being into account when designing working processes and environments. Work on creating a supportive culture in your veterinary practice, where all employees feel comfortable raising problems and asking for support whenever they need it.

By following these tips, you can increase your practice’s ability to recruit and retain millennial veterinarians and support staff. Millennial employees are looking for an environment that supports their health, well-being, and career aspirations. If your practice can provide this kind of working environment, as well as providing ongoing training for every employee, you can increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover among millennials.

6 Ways A Veterinary Team Member Could Embezzle from Your Practice

by easyDVM

You may not want to think about it, but you could have a thief in your midst. For many veterinary team members, the temptation to embezzle from their employer is real. Sometimes no one may even notice until the culprit’s made off with a substantial amount of money.

Take control of the situation. Here are six all-too-common ways team members on all levels can steal from your practice, and some simple ways to avoid fraud.

1) Deleting or altering invoices.

Your invoices are the lifeblood of your business. They’re how clients and other businesses know what to pay you.

At many businesses, it’s easy to change or even delete an invoice. By changing the amount on an invoice after the customer receives it, an employee could take some of the money paid by the customer. By deleting an invoice, the employee could walk off with all the money, or even provide services to family and friends for free.

This problem exists because there’s no paper trail. In these cases, practice management software is invaluable: it allows management to password protect invoice changes and deletions, and track changes made.

2) Taking cash.

Cash provides your employees an easy way to embezzle. It’s easy for a team member to skim the till. Alternately, if clients aren’t diligent about checking their receipts (or taking a receipt at all), a team member can request more cash than they’ve rung up the client for, and can pocket the difference.

As a rule of thumb, any time there’s cash changing hands, there should be two team members there. All clients should receive receipts, and practices should audit cash registers and receipts regularly.

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3) Making personal purchases on the company’s credit card.

This one is straightforward: team members use the company credit card for personal expenditures. It’s a classic way of embezzling.

Only select members of your team should be able to use the company credit card. Veterinary practice management software helps managers run reports on spending and see where money’s going. Immediately question unusual purchases.

4) Paying fake vendors.

It can be surprisingly easy to make fake purchases on a company’s behalf. A team member could easily authorize a payment to themselves or a friend.

Veterinary practice software helps businesses run reports on their payments, and detect any purchases that don’t match the practice’s normal routine. Again: if you see a payment to someone you don’t recognize, look into it.

5) Taking inventory home and selling it online.

Normally the profits from selling flea or heartworm products go directly to your business. But a savvy team member can figure out how to take those profits for themselves, without ever touching company money. Team members can swipe drugs or tools, sell them online, and pocket the profits. Particularly brazen team members may even claim the item never came, forcing the supplier to eat the cost and send duplicate items.

Another way is to set up their own account at a vendor that you are paying for.  The products ship directly to the employee’s home and you get stuck with the bill.

To counteract this, keep security cameras up, and assign team members to take inventory regularly. Ideally, the team member taking inventory shouldn’t be the same one who’s unpacking items.  And use your practice management software to track inventory and cross-reference what you received in the software with the invoices you are paying.

6) Logging hours they didn’t work.

Many businesses let employees report their own hours. Some team members will take advantage of this, logging hours they didn’t work.

Veterinary practice management software will usually let managers see the hours a team member has logged, at a glance. Managers should be present and engaged enough to know if that actually reflects the employee’s presence in the office, or their work.  Our easyDVM software even shows the ip address of the device where they clocked in allowing you to easily check that they are in the right place at the right time.

There are many ways to embezzle money from a veterinary practice. By staying diligent, keeping an eye on expenditures, and running regular reports on your veterinary practice management software, you can make sure your employees are on the straight and narrow. Most of your employees are completely honest and your due diligence protects them from being set up by that one bad apple.

The Veterinary Labor Market Is Getting Tight. How Do I Increase Productivity?

by easyDVM

Prospects are great for up and coming veterinarians, with a 0.5 percent unemployment rate. That news is not so good for veterinary practices that need to recruit staff in this competitive market. One way you can handle this challenge is by increasing productivity of your current employees. You calculate productivity by the amount of revenue produced per hour of veterinary support staff time, or per hour of veterinary time. By improving these numbers, you can avoid trying to recruit more people in a tight labor market.

Automate Business Processes

How much time does your staff spend on time-consuming, repetitive administrative processes? For example, entering data from paperwork, emailing follow-up instructions to patients, and calling for appointment reminders can eat up a lot of the day.

Veterinary software programs can automate many business processes and streamline your staff’s overall workflow. This technology makes it possible to get more done in less time.

Client registration and education are two areas that are well-suited to automation. You can use web-based veterinary practice management software to handle client registration and get all the information you need for the appointment.

Hire More Support Staff

How many responsibilities do the veterinarians have on a daily basis? You hired them to help the animals that come through your practice, not to handle invoices and other administrative work.

The job market for veterinary assistants and other support staff is not as tight as veterinarians. Hire more of these employees so your vets can delegate tasks that don’t fall under their specific job duties.

Increase Veterinarian Pay

Sometimes keeping your veterinarians happy and loyal is as simple as paying them more. Retaining your current workforce is a lot less resource intensive than trying to recruit new veterinarians. Experienced, consistent staff brings a lot of long-term benefits to your practice. Clients form attachments to the veterinarians who have handled their pets all of their lives, which builds up your customer base and referrals.

Provide Emotional Support Benefits

Working in animal care is emotionally taxing, as evidenced by having the highest occupational suicide rate in the United States. Compassion fatigue and STSD are two prevalent problems in this field. Long hours and taxing caseloads can also lead to veterinary burnout.

Emotional support benefits, such as fully paid access to mental health care, support groups and other resources, can make a big difference for your staff professionally and personally. It can take a lot out of a person to handle the types of tragedies that can play out in the practice. When assistance is readily available and accessible, you can help productivity and show your staff members how much you value them.

Train on a Continuous Basis

Give your staff members opportunities to grow their skills in their primary duties and expand their knowledge through cross-training as well. Continued education classes, workshops, in-practice training and other learning resources keep your employees up to date on the latest developments in the veterinary field.

Don’t get frustrated while attempting to hire veterinarians in this competitive market. Focus on the people you already have on-hand by improving their productivity and giving them the tools they need to excel. Whether you implement one or all of the above suggestions, you put your practice on the right path for long-term growth and performance boosts.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

What is an EAP and should I get one for my veterinary team?

by easyDVM

An employee assistance program (EAP) provides support for veterinary employees who are experiencing problems that affect their physical and mental health. Having an EAP can mean that your employees are happier and healthier than they would be without support, which leads to better job performance. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an EAP and explore your options for setting one up in your veterinary practice.

EAPs provide mental health counseling

One of the main forms of support provided by an EAP is mental health counseling. The EAP we use, which is provided by ESI Group, allows employees to benefit from one-on-one phone or face-to-face sessions with a counselor who has at least a master’s or PhD. The network includes more than 40,000 providers, which means that most employees can find a counselor close to their home or workplace. The ESI Group program also makes other resources available, including an online wellness center that can help employees manage their own mental health.

What problems can an EAP help with?

An EAP can help employees with a range of personal problems that affect their physical and mental well-being. Veterinary employees often struggle with stress and anxiety, which counselors are trained to help them overcome. Counselors can also help employees overcome the loss of a loved one, problems with substance abuse or eating disorders, workplace difficulties, depression and relationship issues. The EAP can also provide help with personal, financial and legal issues; for example, counselors can provide advice about personal debt restructuring and management.

Information resource benefits of an EAP

The benefits of an EAP are not limited to one-to-one counseling sessions for employees with urgent needs. An EAP provides additional resources to help employees manage their health, finances and personal lives. For example, employees can access discounts on nutrition, fitness and weight loss services, as well as valuable information about managing financial issues. There are even online training resources to help employees with their personal growth.

How to use an EAP

When you have an employee who requires support, all you need to do is call your EAP provider. You can call TotalCare EAP toll free at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. The service provider will find the right counselor to help your employee work through their problems. You can relax, knowing that your employees are getting the support they need. You can also direct your employees to information resources that can help them overcome legal, financial, lifestyle and personal issues that they are currently struggling to manage.

How much does an EAP cost?

For our employee assistance program provided by ESI Group, we pay a capped amount for up to 50 employees per year. This covers employees for support including counseling, wellness benefits and personal development benefits. The cost of the program is a great investment in your business, as a good EAP can help employees to work through their mental health issues or personal problems and return to work feeling stronger and more capable. When all your employees are able to perform at their best, your veterinary practice can provide better care to customers and therefore grow as a successful business. Every veterinary practice should consider getting an EAP to support their employees.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Top 5 Places to Find Veterinary Employees

by easyDVM

Attracting and retaining quality veterinary employees is a challenging task. You face a very tight job market in the US, along with a career path that has higher levels of stress than other positions. Your recruitment processes for new veterinary employees should involve multiple places to find new people who can fit in at your practice.

1. General Purpose Job Sites

Websites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster serve a general job-seeking audience. You can use these resources to get a lot of exposure for your listing. While some of the people visiting these websites are animal care professionals, you do end up with a lot of awareness and reach. These jobs also get aggregated onto other sites, so you end up spreading it beyond these large-scale websites.

2. Niche Job Websites

Complement your general purpose job site listings by putting career opportunities on niche sites and groups, too. For example, AVMA, iHireVeterinary and The Vet Recruiter are specialized resources that give you access to a smaller, more focused user base. You won’t get as many responses through these sites, but the ones that you do are likely to be high-quality candidates.

3. Animal Shelter Volunteers

People who are heavily involved as animal shelter volunteers have a love of animals and a lot of practical experience that you can leverage in a veterinary practice setting. They may have previous animal care experience or be interested in starting careers in this field. Partner with local shelters, rescues and similar organizations to build a long-term talent pipeline. If you have spare time, you may want to volunteer at a shelter to network with the front-line employees and volunteers who help with the animals’ medical needs.

4. Local Businesses

Have you encountered workers at local businesses who impress you with their skills? You may want to start networking to see whether you can bring in quality candidates that you have already interacted with in professional settings. Make sure to maintain good relationships with the local businesses and avoid blatantly poaching their employees, however.

Pet stores, boarding facilities and grooming services are three great options for finding potential employees. They may have limited advancement options or access to continued education opportunities. A career at your veterinary clinic could fulfill their dreams and long-term plans.

5. Community Outreach

Does your veterinary practice stay involved with the local community? Employer branding is an excellent way to establish your clinic as a quality place to work. When you have community outreach initiatives, such as low-cost spay and neuter services and vaccine clinics, you grow the network of people supporting your animal care efforts. Your next star employee can come through word-of-mouth recommendations provided by community members.

An offshoot to this idea is to post signs in your waiting room that advertise the open positions that you want to fill. Your patients’ parents may be job hunting or have someone in their social network who are. Local publications also give you an opportunity to communicate your job openings. You probably have some of these magazines and newspapers in your waiting room, already.

It’s not easy finding the right people to add to your vet practice. When you use these channels to bring in applicants and seek out candidates, you can keep your job roles filled and your upcoming pipeline healthy.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

5 Great Incentive Programs for Veterinary Employees

by easyDVM

Incentive programs are a great way to motivate employees. But it can be hard to dream up a good incentive program. What you create may not engage your employees like you hoped, or they may have unforeseen consequences.

Constructing a great incentive program requires thinking intelligently about what your employees want and what your practice needs. Every practice will find that different incentive programs work for them, but here are a few ideas on how to motivate your employees to go the extra mile for the people and animals they serve.

1) Incentivizing Working Late or Weekends

It’s a rare employee who’s excited to come in to work on a weekend, or second or third shift. But especially if your veterinary practice provides emergency services, you may not be able to afford to let employees be choosy about the hours they work.

Forcing your employees to work undesirable shifts may hurt morale and reduce the pool of potential job applicants over time. But by offering your employees a little extra money for choosing to work at (comparatively) odd hours, you’ll see more employees eager to take these hours — which will improve the service you provide your clients.

2) Offering a “Beware” Bonus

One of the most common uses for an incentive program is to increase the number of examinations done. But this can be tricky: If you’re not careful, you may see an uptick in unnecessary examinations and procedures as your staff rush to take advantage of the incentive. Your bottom line may improve for a while, but your clients will definitely notice over time and react negatively.

But there are some preventative procedures, like dental examinations, that your staff should be doing with every animal that comes in for a check-up. By offering a “beware bonus” that incentivizes routine tests and exams that your staff may not be doing, you’ll dramatically improve the service you provide.

3) Implementing an Overtime Bonus

Some employees love the chance to take overtime. Others hate it — and because it’s voluntary, you may have a hard time getting your staff to work these extra hours in a pinch. By paying a little extra to employees who choose to work overtime, you’ll encourage more employees to consider the possibility who might otherwise pass it up.

4) Incentivizing Growth

Some practices incentivize referrals — and to be sure, referrals can be a great way to grow a business. But a practice that focuses too much on bringing in new clients without retaining the old ones can suffer.

When incentivizing growth, make it clear what your staff needs to do: Bring in new clients, provide excellent service to existing ones, and encourage clients to schedule check-up and follow-up appointments. By rewarding staff with a percentage of the practice’s growth every year, you’ll see your staff take an active interest in your practice’s well-being.

5) Creating Negative Incentives

Penalizing employee misbehavior, like tardiness or absenteeism, is risky territory. By disincentivizing too many behaviors or making the penalties too severe, you may see employee morale take a serious hit. And if an employee’s behavior is problematic enough that you’re considering docking their pay or removing some other bonus, there’s a strong case to be made that you should be considering firing the employee.

But one of the strongest arguments to be made for a negative incentive “program” is that your employees will sit up and take notice. They may yawn through a meeting about the importance of certain procedures, but if they know they’ll be penalized for not meeting your standards, they’ll pay more attention.

Creating a great incentive program can grow your practice and improve your service. By encouraging your staff to behave in certain ways, you’ll increase motivation and morale, and turn your practice into the thriving place you want it to be.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable..

What Should You Do If a Veterinary Employee Is a Victim of Domestic Abuse?

by easyDVM

Most employees at veterinary practices — whether veterinarians, veterinary assistants or receptionists — are women. Unfortunately, women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence: 10 million women each year are abused by their partner.

If you suspect that an employee at your veterinary practice is being abused, there are several steps you can take. Keep in mind that none of these tips are legal advice, and if you have any questions you should consult a lawyer.

Helping Your Employee

If you find out your employee is being abused, your first response may be to call the police. While that’s an admirable impulse, it’s not necessarily a good idea. If your employee’s partner discovers someone has called the police, they may harm your employee. Keep any discussions you have you about your employee’s situation completely confidential, and impress the need for privacy on any other employees who know.

Instead of acting unilaterally, it’s best to work closely with your employee to figure out what her needs are. If she can speak openly with you about her experience, ask her questions like:

  • Does she fear immediately for her safety?
  • Does she need medical attention?
  • If she needs to flee, can she do so? Does she have money and transportation available to her?
  • Does she have a plan for any children or pets that may be at home?

There are several crisis lines and nonprofits that protect and assist domestic abuse victims. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline‘s number is 800-799-7233, and they will refer you or your employee to resources in your area, including shelters and counselors.

Maintaining Accountability

Abusers seek to control their partners, and a job is a source of autonomy that threatens that control. You may see the abuser harm your employee’s work by sabotaging her transportation, forcing her to make emergency childcare arrangements or simply harassing her until she quits her job.

Even if the abuser doesn’t attempt sabotage, you may see your employee’s quality of work suffer, as she deals with a major personal crisis. As the employer, you tread a delicate line: You have to protect and support your employee while still insisting upon the high standards of her work.

Do your best to be understanding as your employee navigates this crisis, just as you would make allowances for someone going through a serious personal crisis like a death in the family. Understand that while this is going on, your employee may not be able to go the extra mile for your practice. Talk to her and understand what her limits are.

At the same time, don’t coddle your employee. Many abusers have wrecked their partners’ self-esteem, at least in the short term, and she’ll know if you’re going too easy on her. Work she can take pride in may be one of her few respites from her situation at home.

Protecting the Rest of Your Team

Domestic abusers can be famously vindictive. You need to take reasonable steps to protect your practice and employees, while still protecting the victim’s privacy.

Have an emergency procedure in place. If there’s any suspicious activity, make sure employees know to call emergency services. You don’t need to focus these instructions on the employee’s partner: It’s good advice in general.

If word does get out, you should advise your employees to not offer to put up the victim if she needs to escape. While that’s a laudable act of compassion, it puts your employees at unnecessary risk. It’s better to have your employee go to a domestic violence shelter, where her safety is assured.

It’s frightening and distressing to realize one of your employees is experiencing domestic abuse, and it’s difficult to know how to respond. With a little care, compassion and prudence, you’ll be able to stand up for her in the ways that are most helpful.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable..

How do Veterinary Practices Handle Maternity Leave for their Veterinarian Employees?

by easyDVM

The birth of a baby is often a joyful event, but it can cause disruption to a veterinarian’s career. As a veterinary practice owner, you may want to know how you can support employees who are about to become parents, as well as minimize the effect on your business. Here are some facts and tips that can help.

Maternity Leave Regulations

The federal Family Medical Leave Act obliges employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to allow employees to care for newborn babies or other family members, or to attend to their own medical conditions. As this law applies only to companies with at least 50 employees, it is not applicable to many small veterinary practices. However, some states have their own laws regarding maternity leave, so it is essential to check out the requirements for your state before setting the policy for your veterinary practice.

How Much Maternity Leave to Provide

A veterinary practice can be a tough place to work for a heavily pregnant woman or a woman who has just given birth. Employees may not be able to perform tasks that require heavy lifting in the latest stages of pregnancy or after a cesarean section. As a veterinary employer, you need to provide accommodations for employees who are not able to perform certain duties, such as getting another employee to lift animal patients up onto the examining table. In addition, exposure to radiation and anesthetic gases needs to be addressed. Depending on the degree of accommodations required, you may find it more convenient to offer a period of maternity leave so your employee can focus on delivering a healthy baby and recovering from the birth.

Most employers offer pregnancy leave without pay, although there are good reasons to consider putting in place a paid maternity leave program. Today, the numbers of male and female veterinarians are roughly the same, but enrollment in veterinary medical colleges is about 80 percent female. As these women graduate and begin to look for jobs, it is likely that they will take their family plans into account during their search. By offering a paid maternity leave program, you can attract top female talent to your veterinary practice.

Relief Veterinarians

If you run a very small veterinary practice with only a few employees, temporarily losing a veterinarian to maternity leave can present challenges. Relief veterinarians can help you cope and avoid the temptation to rush a new mother back to work before she is ready to return. It is a good idea to find a reliable relief veterinarian long before you need one to cover a period of maternity leave. Relief veterinarians can be classed as either independent contractors or part-time employees depending on the precise relationship between the veterinarian and your practice, so be sure you understand the differences and the legal implications in each case.

Managing the Return to Work

When employees return to work after maternity leave, it is a good idea to meet with them and discuss any accommodations they will need during the first few weeks back on the job. For example, offering lactation breaks can help employees who are still nursing a child to express milk. Over the long term, employees who are now parents of young children may require extra flexibility in their working hours. If you can provide these accommodations, you increase the probability of retaining talented employees who are also proud parents.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable..