The secret to building a healthy practice.

Culture. It’s a buzzword that is here to stay, and for good reason—it bonds your team. Culture influences behaviors, attracts and retains talent, engages employees, and gives you a competitive advantage.

Work culture plays an important role in the health of your practice and team. Happy teams are the secret to building a healthy practice and culture is a contributing factor in getting the best from your team.

So where does this magical culture come from? You can begin to shape and shift the culture of your practice with small changes.

It starts with having an employee handbook (if you don’t have one, start here). This sets expected behaviors that every team member abides by—and the consequences when these expectations are not met. And this is a great start, but it’s only one piece and you need to have a plan in place for when a team member does something great or gets out of line.

It’s time to set up a system to manage your team’s performance with feedback and reviews. Yes, reviews take time and consideration—and it’s time well spent. When done well, reviews move your practice goals forward and improve communication, motivation, growth, and productivity. Best of all, it’s a building block in culture leading to a happy, well-functioning team.

Without the opportunity for discussion and evaluation, team members don’t understand expectations, company goals, or how to progress in their roles. Without a system to recognize and reward the skills and achievements of your team, your staff is left without recognition of their hard work and without guidance for needed improvements.

Does the thought of creating a review process leave you feeling overwhelmed? Check out A Practical Guide to Managing Employee Performance in Veterinary Practices, by Karen Parker, DVM. Her book shows you how to take the stress and stigma out of employee performance evaluations and turn them into an ongoing dialogue that yields positive results for you, your team, and your practice.

 Every practice is different, there is no one size fits all when it comes to culture. But a healthy practice culture helps your practice stay competitive—and investing in the success of your team is a good place to start.