HR Failures in Veterinary Practice Management: A 5 Part Series

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it…Communication is Key!

Disagree?  There are things you may say that no matter how exactly you sugar coat it, it is still terrible. Period.  Communication is not a canned solution.  Communication is complex and requires time and attention, all of the time.  Highly successful leaders and teams are masters of constant communication. So how do you and your team make it to the big leagues of communication?

Prepare a plan


Being aware we are in a workforce that encompasses the greatest number of generations in our history is powerful knowledge to possess.  That’s a start.  The leadership team must understand their role and purpose as part of the team.

Beginning with a clear Leadership Structure and a meaningful purpose to support your Communication Plan is essential.

This reverse pyramid model turns traditional models on its head (quite literally). The reason is simple, and not only visually. Why not start where your Clients and patients are?

Reverse Pyramid

Construction of a Communication Plan 

Define what communication means to your veterinary practice.  Address why your team needs the defined communication and its purpose to the practice.

Establish the Action Plan.  Consider your practice Mission Statement. Solicit team input via electronic surveys (SurveyMonkey is a great option, team meetings and/or focus groups.  Several options will assist to accommodate individual team member communication preferences.

Developing the Communication Plan Guide:

  • Why: What is the purpose of the communication?
  • Whom: Who is the intended or likely audience?
  • What: What is the topic/subject/reason?
  • How:  How will the communication happen, verbal, written, electronic or a combination of?
  • Who: What team member is responsible for the communication and is this the best team member to conduct the communication?

A clear and not too constricting protocol will make the process easier for your team to succeed, while supporting your entire veterinary practice and mission.

Be sure to incorporate the accepted Forms of Communication in your practice. Provide examples of those communication types.  Verbal examples: provide acceptable standards and appropriate terminology for each audience. Written examples: both traditional paper and electronic should be addressed.  Definitions of Communication Circles should also be addressed such as between team members, leadership, established and potential clients as well as the community.

Possible Communication Forms and more specific tools may include:

  • Conflict Management – Team Mediation Procedures/Forms
  • Emergency & Crisis Management – Team and Community Procedures

As with any plan, you must establish a Timeline and plan for regular Evaluations.

With an excellent Communication Plan your team is capable of so much more. Are you ready to develop a Communication Plan for your practice?  Holdsworth & Co. provides customized Veterinary Practice Management Consulting. Some of our popular services include:

  • Leadership Mentoring Program
  • Train the Trainer Program
  • Practice Examination
  • Start Up Veterinary Practice Consulting
  • Full Service Accounting for your Veterinary Practice

Contact Us today for a free consultation!