Building Bridges With Your Staff

Use these five conversation starters to forge meaningful connections with your team.
Kaitlynn Ely
Published: February 21, 2018
Building Bridges StaffMaking meaningful connections with employees is crititcal for veterinarians looking to create and maintain a successful practice. Key to creating those connections is establishing open lines of communication and being receptive to feedback.

Here are five simple phrases that can help initiate meaningful conversations and establish solid relationships with your team.

1. “What do you think?”
This question serves to foster a sense of inclusion. When directed at employees, it not only opens up discussions, it makes your staff feel that their opinions matter to you. Taking the time to ask your employees this simple question periodically will help to develop mutually respectful relationships and an environment where everyone feels included.

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2. “I need help.”
Don’t be wary of asking for help. After all, your team is there to assist you! Successful practices aren’t a one-man show, and more often than not several roles need to be performed simultaneously. Asking for help shows humbleness and provides your staff with the opportunity to play a more active role in the practice.

3. “How can we do better?”
There is always room for improvement. In order to grow your business, it is necessary to have meetings with your employees from time to time to find out how they perceive the practice culture and what they might do differently to enhance productivity. Most importantly, be open to their comments and suggestions. You’ll likey find that through these discussions you’ll gain insight and new ideas you may never have thought of.

4. “Are there factors in the practice that give you stress?”
Work-related stress is known to create a variety of health issues, including depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease. However, it is easy to prevent these problems by having honest and open conversations with your team members. Talking openly about stress shows that you care about the well-being of your employees and are willing to make necessary changes to improve the practice environment. 

5. “I appreciate all you do.”
We often forget to display gratitude, but a little appreciation goes a long way when trying to create a positive practice atmosphere. Did a veterinary technician assist you with a particularly difficult case? Has your receptionist been successfully managing an influx of emergency calls? Let your team know you recognize their hard work. Taking the time to remind your staff that you value them helps to establish a workplace where employees are excited to show up every day.

Don’t Forget Your Clients
Consider posing some of these same questions to your clients. Engaging with pet owners gives them with the opportunity to ask questions and play an active role in the health of their pets. Discovering what your clients like and dislike about your practice allows you to view your business from a different perspective and may lead to improvements. Even more, it demonstrates to your clients that you care about their opinion and their pet’s experience.

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