People management: the seven keys to human resource management | Vets & Clinics

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People management: the seven keys to human resource management

There is little value in mastering the numbers and their interpretation if we forget the people behind them. In fact, the numbers are a consequence of how people behave. They are not a target in themselves, but a means of attaining a better understanding of what is going on.

So it is important to remember a series of basic people management rules that successful managers learn to respect. Here we present seven keys to effective people management.

Managing a veterinary practice

1. Praise in public, criticise in private

Any criticism of your employees’ performance should always be delivered in private. Nothing is more demotivating or generates more resentment in professionals than being reprimanded in front of clients or colleagues.

On the contrary, you must take every opportunity to publicly acknowledge the achievements and good performance of your team. This will strengthen the team’s self-esteem and cement your leadership.

2. Information is power: do not use information to reward or punish your team

Veterinary centre employees pay close attention to the owner’s or manager’s behaviour and take note of any signs of possible preferences within the team. The way information is distributed is a powerful indicator of these preferences.

Therefore, any important news should be sent out directly by the centre’s management to everyone involved, with the dual aim of controlling the message and demonstrating that there are no preferences when informing staff. This particularly applies to internal organisational meetings.

3. Basic people management: each employee should be placed where they make the best contribution

It is often said that companies with the best workplace management are those where each task is assigned to the lowest paid person in the team who can ethically, legally and professionally perform it correctly.

In other words, why have vets answering the phone, taking temperatures, waiting for analytical test results or extracting blood samples when well-trained auxiliary staff can perform these tasks at a lower cost? The true added value of a veterinary surgeon is in diagnosis, the design and implementation of treatments and in performing complex medical procedures such as surgery.

4. Never criticise colleagues, clients or former employees in front of your team

It doesn’t create a very good impression and alerts employees about what to expect when they no longer work for you. If any of your employees regularly partakes in this behaviour, you should reprimand them firmly and fairly.

5. Lead by example

Although you may not always realise it, employees pay close attention to how the owner of the centre behaves and tend to copy them.

The owner’s personality, working practices and work ethic eventually permeate into everything in their organisation, shaping the famous “company culture”. As such, you cannot expect your employees to do certain things if you don’t practice what you preach.

6. Do not bite off more than you can chew

Something that seriously undermines a manager’s credibility in front of their team is the bad habit of initiating lots of projects but completing hardly any.

What sort of message are you sending your team if, after reading an article or attending a management course, you always come back with a brilliant idea for the clinic and summon your team to convince them of the enormous importance of getting it up and running, but then forget to follow it up after a few weeks? What will happen the next time you try to launch a project?

7. Be generous with the ownership of good ideas

Those who excel in people management are not interested in inflating their own egos, rather they manage to get the best out of their team.

Occasionally, good ideas are put forward spontaneously by a team member, in which case it is essential to display the wisdom and humility required to acknowledge this in front of the rest of the team. However, your challenge as a manager is often to stimulate and direct the team to generate innovative solutions. If you can this with the due skill and finesse, you will persuade them to adopt and support ideas that they perceive as their own. At the end of the day, the important thing is not who suggested the idea, but that it gets implemented.…

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