Dear Dr. Noah Lot, It has been really tough to work in the clinic for the past few months. The team is exhausted! Does saying Thank You to my team even suffice anymore?

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Dear Dr. Noah Lot,

It has been really tough to work in the clinic for the past few months. The team is exhausted! Does saying Thank You to my team even suffice anymore?

– Amanda F., Veterinary Practice Manager

Dear Amanda,

Importantly, THANK YOU for your very important question. Briefly, YES! It actually matters now more than ever. Here are my thoughts about this…

Can you hear your mother telling you to say “Thank you” when someone did something nice for you or write a Thank You note after receiving a gift? I can. And I’m grateful for her passion for good manners and teaching me the importance of showing appreciation, as it instilled a lifetime of thoughtful and meaningful habits both in my personal and professional lives.

Why Gratitude in the Workplace Matters – Especially Now

Thank You. These two simple words can have a profound impact on the life of another. It can dramatically impact productivity, morale, and even patient outcomes – because valued and appreciated team members are more focused, calmer, and do better work. Can you remember the last time someone said thanks to you for something you did or said? It felt great, right? In fact, there are significant health benefits from embracing an attitude of gratitude. Research shows that people who are more grateful and giving have better heart health and more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.

And fortunately, showing appreciation can be free and non-fattening.

How to Say Thank You at Work

Employee recognition doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It simply needs to be personalized and authentic. Here are a few examples that are sure to be appreciated:

  • Spoken Words: Just say thank you—anytime, anyway, anyhow, and for any reason. Take a moment to notice good work and/or kindness.
  • Written Words: Hand-written notes (gasp!), posts/acknowledgments on an employee bulletin board or clinic newsletter, a letter of appreciation in their employee file means more than you realize.
  • Employee Development: Reward a team member by sending them to a conference or seminar (even online)!
  • Food: Buy your amazing team lunch! Create an ice cream bar for a really ‘cool’ way they handled a situation. Rent a popcorn machine for a few days.
  • Gifts: Pass out branded hospital gifts as tokens of appreciation. Invest in quality t-shirts, blankets, umbrellas, beach towels, water bottles, etc. Consider buying gift cards to local restaurants and/or shops to show your appreciation to the employee, while supporting your local merchants at the same time.
  • Support Volunteerism: Champion their giving nature by paying your team to volunteer their time by assisting a local charity or organization.
  • Benefits & Perks: An increase in benefits or giving perks are great ways to thank employees. Can you give them a raise? An extra paid, mental health day off? A performance, attendance, or longevity bonus? What about exams/grooming services for their pets? Pay for a day or week of childcare? How about a car wash and oil change? A tank of gas? All small tokens with a big impact.

Teaching Your Clients To Appreciate Your Team

Over the past few months navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in negative or disruptive behavior displayed by some pet owners. This has included a lack of support for curbside service, impatience, and sometimes just being flat out rude to the point of teams feeling threatened – in person and/or online. Our frontline client service staff members are not, nor should they be, required to accept such abuse.

We teach people how to treat us. If we keep “taking it” then they’ll think it’s ok to berate and mistreat. It is the responsibility of the practice leadership to set the tone and draw the line.

A “Kind” Campaign – We recently created a marketing initiative for a specialty and 24/7 emergency client to change the negative attitudes they had been dealing with from some clients. A few simple tools were put in place to set expectations and show appreciation at the same time. Here is what we’ve implemented:

  • Upon arrival, a pet owner will receive the necessary paperwork to complete, a bottle of water, a KIND bar, and a small, nicely-designed handout (below) that asks them to please be patient, understanding, kind, and safe as the team is doing their best to accommodate.
  • Upon discharge, in addition to the appropriate summary paperwork, a pet owner receives a flyer that reinforces the practice’s appreciation for their business, how hard the team is working, their thoughts about reopening the doors, and the importance of the health and safety for everyone.
  • Our BE KIND campaign continues on their social media channels as well.
  • We hope to share the results of the impact of this campaign in future posts.
VSEC Be kind campaign - social

Again, these are simple, inexpensive, and effective tools that set expectations, show appreciation, and clearly communicate the clinic’s priorities.

I hope that this post has been helpful. Thank you again for asking.

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.” – Winnie the Pooh


Dr. Noah Lot

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Categories: Dr. Noah Lot Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2020 Tags: , , ,