Mar
5
2008

In a survey of the best places to work in California, the Veterinary Cancer Group of Culver City, Calif. (an AAHA member hospital), ranks among the top companies in that state with fewer than 40 employees. The award, announced on February 28, is given annually to companies that rank the highest in 125 criteria, including:

  • Work-life balance
  • Employee voice and workplace culture
  • Community involvement
  • Employee turnover
  • Pay practices, benefits and perks and incentives
  • Training and opportunity for advancement
  • Diversity

Generally, companies with long-standing best practices, such as Sun Microsystems and Cox Communications, are singled out for this honor. However, the staff of Veterinary Cancer Group (VCG) has taken it upon themselves to strive for continued improvement in all areas of their practice.

“Veterinary Cancer Group makes it a point to keep communication at the forefront of our day,” says Frankie Williams, DVM, Director of Operations at VCG. “We not only meet weekly as a team in each location, but we coach forwards and backwards.”

This thorough approach to team-building has paid off. Still, it’s not a one-time show of a commitment to excellence; the process is ongoing, with every member of the staff giving and receiving input.

“The Executive Management team meets weekly and the senior managers meet with their direct reports individually,” Williams says. “Those direct reports [supervisors] meet with their team and with each member individually. Each senior manager meets with the President and CEO weekly.”

Culver City is just one of VCG’s locations. Williams is charged with “trying to bridge the gap between the multiple locations” and noted that though the honor of being ranked third among so many California businesses is gratifying, it was never an identifiable goal within VCG. More important, she believes, is the emphasis on the individual in the workplace.

“We do the right thing by our people, meaning we are cognizant that each individual is wired differently and we try to be aware of our differences and how to work with those differences. We know that we hire the ‘whole person,’” says Williams.

As VCG continues to extend its reach, Williams believes that the efforts that propelled the practice to its “best place to work” status can be duplicated by others in the field who seek to improve the quality of their workplace.

“Be open to new ideas and realize that it’s about the team — not one individual,” Williams says, adding that even those at the very top of the staff flowchart can contribute individually to give each workplace its identity.

“Mona [Rosenberg, owner and CEO of VCG] is well known and respected in her field, but she is still one of us,” says Williams. “We call her “Mona” and can laugh and joke with her. You almost forget that she is the best in her field.”

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