Welcome to the focus group for Practice Managers. A place to address concerns within the team and share opinions that’s results can help shape the future of the insider Veterinary working world. This group is for those in leadership to openly and anonymously discuss the dynamics, concerns and expectations from an observational and an active Management view point. We will look at each member of the team and the challenges that are faced daily from each angle and perspective and compare the data with others participating in the group to form a wider view point of what’s going on, good and bad, and where we go from here! Forecasting the future starts with you guys! Sharing is caring!

The topics that will be covered look as follows:

HR AND RECRUITMENT – 1) STAFFING AND RECRUITMENT– Are you fully staffed? If not, why not? How long have you been looking for a required team member? How has this staffing concern impacted the rest of the team? Do you ever use a locum? Do you use an agency? If not, why not? How is your staff turnover generally?

EMPLOYEES – 2) INSIDE THE TEAM – Are your staff fully qualified, accredited and supported for the work they do (ie, is the person handling sole charge is suitably capable for the role or inexperienced but you haven’t a choice? Does the person have support when needed? Are there enough team members to cover if support is needed on short notice?) – Is the person handling complex surgical cases competent to handle the ops or are there occasions where things need to be re-scheduled or there’s often occasions of error and mistakes? (please remember this is anonymous and we value your honesty) – Do you have team members who refuse to do what is not assigned to their level and it upsets the rest of the team? Are there occasions where an inexperienced team member has made a mistake and they have been punished instead of Management for allowing the error to occur? With regards to disciplinary action, how often would you have to discipline a staff member and how could this be prevented in the future? Would you say you have strict practice Management protocols that are transparent and understood by everyone? If not, how do you think you could better influence the discipline of your team to see that errors and safety concerns do not arise that could jeopardize an employees career / reputation or the life of an animal

EMPLOYEES – 3) ATTITUDE AND COMMUNICATION– Do you see a noticeable difference between the attitude and development of your longer graduated vets and RVN’s than you do your more recent grads? (An example – Do you find that your more recent grads are only happy to do the hours expected of them and then leave, whereas the older team members are perhaps more obliging?) Do you find that the more recent grads lack the clinical ability than your older grads did when they were new grads? (An example – Vet A graduated in 2002 and was hands on from the start, keen to learn and displayed this by competing OOH and observing surgeries of others to progress – Vet B graduated in 2019 and is still yet to gain confidence with the basics and is lacking the hands on skills that Vet A quickly developed because they only shadow, don’t get as involved and are quick to clock out when the shift completes?) – Or perhaps you see it’s the other way around, in which case, please specify your experiences and detail the differences wherever possible! – Is your team ascending order fair and are those in more senior positions happy to allow the ones less able to observe their work for development purposes? – Are all your team happy with the CPD that they are currently following in order to maintain practice standards and expectations or are you noticing that there is a lack in certain fields and definitely room for progression so that your team can develop more? – Are you finding that your team are happy to progress in to more advanced fields or is there a lack of enthusiasm for professional development? Are you noticing that staff are becoming disillusioned with the work that they do and are finding it difficult to maintain a positive mindset and skill set? If so, where do you think things have gone wrong and what can be done to rectify this area? What are your current thoughts and feelings with regards to AI involvement in the work place? Do you feel that the integration of AI will be a benefit to the work place and help the team or do you as a leader view it as a potential threat to your team? If so, please elaborate

EMPLOYEES – 4) TEAM MORALE – How does your team communicate together? What are the main problem areas? Do they come from power struggles? The line of order and command? Or is everyone happy and pleasant enough to just get on without an undertone? For the most part is everyone on your team happy to come in to work every day or are there members of your team that struggle with their attitude and emotional / mental health throughout the day? Do you sense that team members are struggling with their attendance / attitude due to work morale and you feel they would quit / leave if they found something else? If so, how are you supporting these team members?

EMPLOYEES – 5) SALARIES AND ROTAS – Do you believe that your team are paid fairly for the work that they do? To your knowledge are there still disparities between the salaries of male staff v female staff within your practice? Is the pay scale that you all work towards fair and equal? Do staff members get any pay rises or bonuses on a regular basis? Are any of your staff currently disputing their salaries and asking for more? Are your permanent staff upset that locum staff get paid significantly more than they do for less commitment than they offer in return? Would you say that salaries are one of the main concern for unhappiness or tension within the work place? Are your staff all generally happy to cover an OOH rota? If not, why not? Is it expected that your staff cover an OOH rota or do you outsource to external OOH staff teams? Does your practice offer a 4 day work week incentive? If so, do you offer a reduced rota reduced salary offer or are the salary packages unchanged by the incentive? Are your team happy with the current rota or do you as a manager know and feel that changes here need and should be made to be more flexible and accommodating towards the wellbeing of your staff? Given your current rota schedules and challenges with recruitment that may be present, do you know and feel that your existing team are overwhelmed and burnt out by the current rota demands? How do you think and feel the involvement of A.I could impact and change the dynamic of your current team if it could be made possible that A.I involvement could help reduce a stressed rota, workload or unnecessary pressure put on to your team that didn’t need to be there? Do you feel that the integration of A.I could help better the mental health of your current work team and free up time for them to focus on other areas? Or do you view the integration of A.I as a potential threat in the work place? If so, please explain

POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS– 5) POLICIES– Do you as a team leader have any involvement with the creation and structuring of your policy documents and Procedures or are they given to you from above to follow? How flexible can you as a leader be with regards to your own internal policy beliefs and concerns away from higher management? i.e – Do you have any autonomy over the policy agreements or are you just required to follow orders through use of the policies as a manual for all your staff accordingly? If you as a manager do not have any autonomous say or decision with the policy mandates and procedures, do you agree with the way the policies are structured and are happy to adhere to them when leading your team or are there things on the policies you disagree with or that concern you and you wish you could change them to better yourself as a leader and also your team? Do you as a leader offer your team weekly or monthly group sessions to catch up with how everyone is managing / coping / feeling etc? If so, do you feel that this is a valuable part of your working culture that helps to bring you all together and address problems and areas of concern? If you do not offer these round table group sessions, why not? Do you feel that you are well respected and considered as a team Manager / leader and that given the way you manage and structure the work place based on policies and protocols there is a level of respect and it shows throughout the work force or do you feel that your authority is belittled and disregarded based on the above? If the latter, could you look at why and give any reasons? According to the policies and protocols, have you ever had to issue disciplinaries and if so, how frequently does this occur and to what detriment? Do you find them to be successful policies that help to bring decorum and order to the work force or do you consider that they set a negative tone and turn the work force against management?

yOU AS A LEADER – 6) MANAGEMENT SKILLS – Do you Consider yourself to be a positive, approachable leader? Is a role in leadership one that you had always hoped for and if so, are you happy in this role? Do you feel confident and capable as a leader to offer the support and guidance that is expected of you? Do you feel overwhelmed and / or unsure whether or not you’re doing your job to the best of your abilities? What would you say are the key trigger points or tough moments in your daily work load that are your hardest Obstacles? And what are you doing to actively ensure you can supersede these obstacles? Do you as a manager feel that you are supported by higher management should such a thing exist? if not, why not? Or if you are the highest level manager in your place of work, do you feel as though you could also benefit from some support? if so, in what way? Do you feel that your influence within your team creates a balanced, empowered and harmonious work culture? Since being in Management, do you feel you have made a difference in all areas of team development? As a manager, do you value the work ethics of your staff and team and offer them regular appraisal and consideration? If not, why not? Do you feel you are respected and valued from the team you manage? If not, why not? As a manager, do you see a vision of how your team could do better and help them aim towards that goal with confidence? Is your team doing all they can to make advancements, developments and growth both individually and as a collective? Are you proud of the work you do or are there areas that you know you could work on to do better? As a leader, future forecasting is a huge part of your role and one that is essential so that you can be 2 steps ahead at all times. Looking at the next 5 years, can you anticipate what lays ahead and are you ready for changes that may unfold? Considering what the future Might look like, are you confident still to lead your time? If not, LET’S TALK!

You are a team leader that also needs support! Part of our belief in what we do is to make sure that every area of every area is covered. So, here we ask you all the info pertaining to the team you manage and how everyone’s doing, so that we can relay that info back in to the pool for all to see; This is how change happens and how it happens steadily and smoothly but, WHO HELPS YOU, THE LEADER, when changes happen and you need to step up and take the reins?

Part of our magazine looks at how to support those on the front line. WELLNESS INCENTIVES SO THAT THOSE ON THE FRONT LINE CAN CONTINUE TO DO FANTASTIC WORK AND BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE but what about the leaders? You also count right? So another part of our magazine is THE POSITIVE LEAD; A quarterly program included in our magazine for those of you in leadership that might also need support, encouragement, inspiration, motivation etc! And as a Manager that subscribes to participate in our PRACTICE MANAGERS FOCUS GROUP you will receive 50% off the annual magazine subscription as means of a thank you for your participation! It is super valuable insights from others in leadership that can help you maintain a super high standard and also offer you some alternative perspectives on leadership techniques and ways you can better your performance for the rest of your team!


Check out our other focus groups that are currently live and running! Want to find out the results? Each quarter, our magazine publish the feels and findings throughout our pages! Sign up today: SOMA VET MAGAZINE


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