APL Accounting News September 2016

Let’s make our team WANT to come to work

I listened to an interview with Simon Sinek yesterday – the guy who did a famous TED talk on ‘why we do what we do’.

What he said struck a chord: ‘I want to create a world where people want to go to work’.

Just the previous week at one of our client workshops in Brisbane we felt a similar vibe in the audience of veterinary business owners when we discussed team engagement. For over 4 years we have been encouraging practices like yours to address intrinsic motivators in your team by doing fun things at the office like running quarterly themes, but the number of practices who have been brave enough to do this has been but a handful. However, this year we could see a slight spark in your eyes that perhaps this was not just a time consuming, ‘touchy / feely’ thing and that it could actually work!

As many of you also realise, one of the key topics at the AVBA this year will be about mental health in the profession to address the high incidence of mental health problems many employers are seeing.

So let’s not just ‘listen’, but let’s ACT! How sad it is that we have the best vocation in the world (yes, working with animals rocks), yet the workforce hates going to work? What have you done lately to make the workplace a fun-place?

The book ‘Mastering the Rockefellar Habits’ strongly suggests ‘themes’ in a business to engage the team, give them a common goal and make the workplace look fun. We have been doing this at APL Accountants every quarter for the last 3 years, and would never go back.

The technical part of having themes is pretty simple and loosely follows these rules:

  • You need a quarterly strategy – for example promoting more dentistry. You need to be able to measure any improvements in this area of your business over the next 3 months.
  • You give everyone in the business a $15 budget to buy decorations for the offfice that are in ‘theme’ with your strategy. In this case it could be pictures of smiling animals, fluffy toy animals dressed as tooth fairies or anything else your team can think of.
  • The office gets decorated and stays decorated for a whole 3 months. Every day when each team member arrives, they are reminded of the key focus for the next 3 months.
  • About once a week at one of your team meetings, progress in the strategy is discussed.
  • At the end of the quarter, if success is achieved and the practice is performing more dentistry, a ‘celebration’ is held. It can be a meal out with everyone, an evening at the movies or any other fun activity. The amount you spend on the celebration can be linked to the degree of success

As you can see, it’s really simple – so why do so few businesses do it? Instead we leave our veterinary practices looking clean and clinical. Very few even have a staff room or private area due to space constraints. Our team has to think on their feet and appear to be cheerful to Mrs Jones when they just euthanised Mrs Smith’s pet 5 minutes ago. Then we are surprised they don’t like coming to work?

Having a theme in the office addresses 4 of the 6 intrinsic motivators – certainty (I know what the focus is for 3 months), belonging (encourages a feeling of ‘team’), variety (the office has different decoration every 3 months), praise (there is a celebration at the end). So in terms of ‘bang for your buck’, there are few other things that would address motivation on so many fronts.

Come on guys! Let’s shake things up a bit and theme it up every quarter! Here were some theme ideas that came up at the workshops:

  • Dentistry: Pictures of smiling pets, fluffy toys dressed as tooth fairies
  • Vaccinations / Follow ups / Repeat consultations: Boomerangs
  • Increasing Active Clients: Pictures of people and pets exercising, community, growth
  • Improve billing accuracy: Targets and dart boards, netball hoops
  • Increase in house cytology: Bugs, ears, microscopes and magnifying glasses
  • Telephone conversions: Telephones, megaphones, magnets

In fact, we are so determined that veterinary businesses are going to do these things that every time you send us a photo of ‘something fun’ in a veterinary practice we will buy a tree for an Orangutan in Borneo.
Send your pictures to admin@aplaccountants.com.au

You can see the giving impacts live on our website by clicking here (http://vetbusinessuniversity.com/welcome-community/)

Introducing our new office administrator

Last month our team was joined by ‘Strudel’ who will predominantly be engaged in management of paper documents which he does very well. This particular forte lies in the area of document shredding, which he performs with unequivocal enthusiasm.

He will report directly to Zack, the CEO and generally notifies him of office issues that need immediate attention by biting his tail which he finds far more effective than the traditional intercom.

Seen below having their ‘daily huddle’