Finding the Best Person for the Job: Making Better Hiring Decisions At Your Veterinary Hospital

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Written By: Katina Palm- Community Veterinary Partners: Field Operations Manager

Finding the right person for the job is key to your hospital’s success. As hospital owners and managers, we tend to be naturally drawn to applicants that are similar to our own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, this may lead to a hire that isn’t the perfect fit for the position.  Don’t be afraid to hire someone unlike yourself. Instead, strive to hire someone that can provide the skills that you require- the differences may be just what your hospital needs to successfully fill this position.

To get you started:

Before you build your job ad, start by updating the job description to insure that the role you are trying to fill is highlighted. Be as specific and clear as you can. Mentioning specific tasks and situations that the role may encounter can help a prospective candidate see if they are a good fit. Sometimes job ads can be generic when they should be much more specific. Don’t be afraid to ask for what your want in your candidate.

For example:

If you are seeking a manager, you will want to attract a certain person.

– A generic job ad could say something as simple as: “Looking for strong managerial skills”

– A more in depth ad should say “Seeking an experienced manager who has at least two years of management experience in a customer service based industry.

If you are seeking a receptionist, consider using similar phrases:

– “We strive to provide excellent customer service and we depend on our reception team to lead this process. Customer service experience is required.”

– “Veterinary experience is recommended, but not required.”

Remember that veterinary information can be taught, but personality is less likely swayed with training.

Success is measured by skill and personality. Take the front desk for example. Your selection of a Client Service Representative should be someone outgoing and comfortable working directly with people. Hospitality and good customer service are essential skills that will make your clients feel welcome. This person should also have an eye for detail and an ability to think outside the box to maximize the client experience.

Your technical team will vary depending on their area of expertise.  Exam room techs should connect easily with the clients and patients. Your client’s perception of his or her visit is primarily based on an emotional response since how they feel is critical. Surgical and laboratory technicians will likely have a different demeanor as they are more specialized in tedious tasks. For smaller hospitals, it is sometimes necessary to find techs that are able to adapt to wearing many hats and this requires good communication during your interview process to find the right fit.

You should have a job description for each role within your hospital. Use this tool to clearly spell out your expectations to candidates to determine their skill level. These are also great to refer to when you are reviewing resumes and interviewing.

Wait until you find the right fit for the job! In a future blog, I will discuss how to set up new hires for success.


How to Know When It’s Time to Expand Your Facility

karen felstedBy Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM

When looking to make any expansion changes at your veterinary practice there are a few things to consider to make sure you are making the best choice for your hospital. The first question to ask when you’re thinking about expanding is: What is the problem you are trying to solve?

For example:
• “Clients are stacking up in the reception area and have to wait too long”
• “We are turning away business because we are fully booked”
• “Our workflow isn’t very efficient because we don’t have enough exam rooms”
• “We’re tired of stepping over boxes of medical supplies every time we enter the restroom”

Before launching forward with any solution, you want to be sure it will solve the problem you have. For example, if clients are stacking up in the reception area, you first need to figure out why. If it’s because you have a doctor ready to see them but there aren’t enough exam rooms, then this may really be a space problem. But if it’s because all the doctors in the practice spend 30 minutes with a client in an appointment scheduled for 20 minutes, then adding exam rooms won’t help. Instead you have a scheduling issue or a doctor efficiency issue. If you’re turning away business because you are fully booked, adding another doctor or using technicians more efficiently may be the first step in solving this problem. Do you have to have more space for these extra appointments? Maybe or maybe not; before launching forward with the expansion, make sure you are using your current space to its best advantage.

Assuming you really have a problem that will be solved with extra space, the next question to ask is: What will be the impact on cash flow of expanding? If you’re expanding to accommodate more clients, you will likely see a dip in cash flow in the short-run but a later increase as more pet owners visit the practice. If you’re expanding simply because the space is too cramped but don’t expect much client growth, then the dip in cash flow may take longer to recover from. This isn’t always a bad thing; simply having room to turn around can be worth the extra bucks. If you will need additional clients to make the project pay off financially, you need to be confident you can attract them. The days of “build it and they will come” are behind us. Of course, you can borrow the money needed for the expansion but unfortunately, lenders want to be repaid at some point and you need to make sure you’ve got enough of a cushion to weather any dip in cash flow once you have to start repaying the loan.

Answering these two questions in depth will help you make the right decision in determining it it’s time to expand.

Dr. Karen Felsted is a senior advisor to Community Veterinary Partners.


Only One Week Remaining To Reserve a Seat For The Fall 2014 Practice Builder Workshops Hosted By Community Veterinary Partners!

Community Veterinary Partners has released the agenda for its free two-day summit in November aimed at building leadership skills for veterinary hospital owners and key staff members.

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Everyday Leadership Workshop for Associates and Managers

Saturday, November 8th 9am- 4pm

Every practice has staff members in positions of leadership. While some are natural born leaders, others struggle to find their way and earn the trust and respect of the practice team. Designed for doctors and support staff in supervisory roles, this workshop will focus on developing employees into everyday leaders. Due to space limitation we request that practices limit registrants to two staff members.

AGENDA

 “EVERYDAY LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP FOR ASSOCIATES AND MANAGERS”

9:00 AM-   9:45 AM                Speed Chatting and Appreciative Inquiry Icebreakers

9:45 AM-   10:30 AM              Leadership (Servant, Good to Great, E.I.)

10:30 AM -10:45 AM              Break

10:45 AM- 12:00 PM              Culture and Core Values

12:00 PM- 1:00 PM                 Lunch

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM                  Accountability

1:30PM – 2:30 PM                   Situational Leadership

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM                  Break

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM                  Wrap-Ups and Wind-Ups

 

2014 PRACTICE OWNERS SUMMIT: CULTIVATING THE NEXT WAVE OF LEADERS

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH 11:30AM- 4:00PM

This year’s program theme will be “Cultivating the Future Leaders in Our Practice. Dr. Wendy Hauser will moderate parts of the day’s events as we share and debate the strategies and challenges to creating leaders within our own practices. We invite Practice Owners and Senior Managers to take place in this summit. Due to space limitation, we request that practices limit registrants to hospital owners and one guest.

AGENDA

2014 PRACTICE OWNERS SUMMIT: CULTIVATING THE NEXT WAVE OF LEADERS

SUNDAY                                  November 9, 2014

1:00 PM — 2:00 PM                 Introduction and Situational Leadership

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM                  Accountability

2:30 PM — 2: 45 PM                  Break

2:45 PM — 4:00 PM                  “Cultivating Our Leaders” Roundtable

 

The workshops are free for hospital owners and staff in good standing with Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association or the Delaware Valley Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

The event will be held at Seasons 52 Restaurant in King of Prussia, Pa. Space is limited for this event so please register your team members by emailing travis.meredith@cvpco.com. For more information, click HERE for an informational flyer.

 

 

 


Is your hospital growing this year?

A new national survey of veterinarian owners shows a majority of hospital revenues are up 2 to 5 percent this year.

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Other key findings from the survey:

– Pricing appears to be slightly improved with more vets raising prices 3-5% and fewer raising 1-2%. However, 23% of respondents (9 of 40) did not raise prices, up from 15% (6 of 39) last year.

– Wage pressure appears to be increasing with 38%, or 15 of 39, expecting increases of 3-5% compared to only 23%, or 9 of 39, expecting over 3% increases last year (including some increases over 5%).

– More than half of veterinarians surveyed said they were increasing their use of generic medications.

– All owners were planning to keep prices flat or raise them in the next year.

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The survey was conducted by First Analysis, a Chicago-based equity research firm. A link to the full research report is HERE.

 

 


Do You Know What Your Veterinary Practice Real Estate is Really Worth? Part 1

Do You Know What Your Veterinary Practice Real Estate is Really Worth?

Part 1- Creating Liquidity and Building Improvements

Written By: Daniel Eisenstadt and Ian Widensky of Calico Real Estate

Thirty years ago nearly every owner of a veterinary practice owned (or wanted to own) the real estate where his or her practice was situated.  While this continues to be the norm for many owners, like so many other aspects of veterinary medicine, “the times they are a changing.”  Today, more practice owners are recognizing that their practice and building are different assets and that viewing each separately can create greater financial value and more flexibility.

In many other healthcare fields (dentistry, physical therapy, etc.) practice owners rarely own their own real estate, choosing instead to focus on building the business of their practices.  Most owners enter into long-term leases for well-equipped facilities in good locations.  In fact, most corporate groups that acquire veterinary practices utilize the same principles and negotiate long-term leases as part of a purchase agreement.

Similarly, certain consultants and advisers have come to view the separation of practice and property as a good way of creating options for owners.  Says Dr. Karen E. Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, president of PantheraT Veterinary Management Consulting, “Traditionally, practice owners have sold their real estate when they’ve sold their practice.  This is a good option for some practice owners but not necessarily for all.  An opportunity to cash in on the value built up in the real estate without having to sell the practice gives veterinarians more financial choices and the ability to customize their succession plan to their individual needs.”

Although no situation is alike, there are several scenarios where value can be created by viewing and treating the practice real estate as independent from the practice:

Creating Liquidity

After years of building a successful practice, many owners are content to practice for another decade (or more) and enjoy the stability of owning a healthy business.   But many admit to feeling a financial crunch as their children grow older and head off to college.   Many want to buy a second home or travel more, but feel unable to do so.

Some veterinarians may be concerned that selling the practice real estate separate from the practice may make a future sale of their veterinary practice less attractive.  In fact, as long as a lease is assignable by the practice owner to a future buyer of the practice, the sale of the real estate will not restrict the sale of the practice.  And, though some associates may be interested in buying real estate few associates and no corporate buyers will pass up the chance to buy a good practice because the facility is leased.

For most veterinarians their practice represents their largest financial asset.  But without selling the practice, many see no easy way to create liquidity.  Some veterinarians in this situation work harder to meet their increased personal financial needs while others put off personal needs and/or the responsible preparations for retirement.  For these veterinarians, a sale of their real estate to a landlord that will lease the property back to the practice can be a creative solution to address this financial need.

Building Improvements

After years in the same building, many practice owners recognize the value (or the impending need)  of renovating and/or expanding their physical plant.  But many of those same owners choose to defer these large-scale projects for financial reasons or because they don’t want to take on additional debt late in their careers.  Regrettably, the decision not to renovate can compromise their ability to recruit quality associates or future buyers, detract from the customer and patient experience, and  lead to a deterioration in the practice’s value.  Few consider the option of selling their building to a landlord who will invest and manage a renovation project and integrate these costs over the course of a long-term lease.

Coming Soon: Part 2 of “Do You Know What Your Practice Real Estate Is Really Worth?”- Diversification and Maximizing Value. 


Join us tonight at ACVC: New Threats, Challenges and Opportunities for Today’s Veterinary Practice

Join us tonight at 7 p.m. at the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference for dinner and an interactive discussion of the business threats facing the veterinary industry.

Join us and our panelists, Dr. Karen Felsted, of PantheraT Veterinary Management Consulting, and Gary Glassman, of Burzenski & Co., as they discuss “The Business of Veterinary Medicine: New Threats, Challenges and Opportunities for Today’s Veterinary Practice.”

The dinner is being held at McCormick & Schmick’s, located at 777 Harrah’s Blvd, Atlantic City. Boehringer Ingelheim and Patterson Veterinary are co-sponsoring the dinner.

Here is the full invitation: Calico Group_Invite.


Have You Seen our New Video?

We’re excited about the new video we put together showing what it’s like to work with Community Veterinary Partners. We’re showcasing it right now on our home page, so check it out. (You can also see it at the bottom of this post.)

The video includes interviews with Dr. Bob Sarsfield, our partner-owner at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. There’s also commentary by our president, Daniel Eisenstadt, who talks about the kind of partners we’re looking for, and why it’s so important to have a succession plan in place.