I truly believe that a veterinary practice’s greatest asset is its health care team. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate them on a regular basis. Practices that continue to thrive, year after year, are the practices in which the owners and managers have done an awesome job showing genuine appreciation for their team’s hard work, loyalty and commitment. In tough economic times, some practices have had to put an indefinite moratorium on pay increases or may not be able to extend increases as they and their team members have been accustomed to in past years. I still believe it’s critical to acknowledge team members for their efforts. Here is a cost-efficient way to simultaneously reward your employees and boost team morale.

It’s a program called “Good Job” Bucks. The primary goal of this program is to encourage all employees to acknowledge their peers when they go beyond the call of duty in their day-to-day operations. It not only allows owners and managers to acknowledge their team but encourages team members to recognize their peers, supervisors, managers, and owner(s).

We recommend that you introduce this concept at a team meeting. During the meeting, ask your team for feedback regarding reward items that would be of value to them. Use their suggestions to create a budget for the “gift” ideas. Disclaimer: Be sure to consult your accountant as there may be some taxable income issues as it relates to employee gifts within one calendar year. It’s also a great idea to approach your vendors for help to sponsor this program. Instead of providing a lunch, maybe they would sponsor gift cards toward your program. Let them know that you will announce, during the team meetings, which items they have sponsored in their companies’ name. On your employee recognition list, you can always indicate gift sponsors as well.

Once your program has begun, issue “Good Job” Bucks to employees by placing five Bucks in each paycheck envelope. Ideally, they would receive ten “Good Job” Bucks per month on average (if you pay your employees bi-weekly). This provides a nice opportunity for employees to issue and receive “Good Job” Bucks between pay periods. It reminds and encourages everyone to acknowledge and appreciate each other on a daily basis. Instruct employees to be observant of when a fellow team member demonstrates excellent team playing skills or attitude, does something over and beyond when it comes to patient and/or client care, or contributes something special to the practice or team – that’s when they can award their peer, manager, owner or an associate veterinarian with a “Good Job” Buck.

You should establish some rules… such as: Team members cannot give a “Good Job” Buck to someone because their hair looks pretty”. The acknowledgement and Buck need to be of significance. As manager, you can veto a Buck if you feel that it is unworthy. They are to fill out the “Good Job” Bucks with the following information: To, From, Date, and Reason for giving the Buck. Allow employees to collect “Good Job” Bucks for a six-month period and then they can redeem them according to your employee recognition award list. You can present their gifts during your team meeting and share some of the “Good Job” Buck comments, publicly celebrating and acknowledging your team members. Then start the program for another six-month period. You can make the Bucks a different color for each six-month period to stay organized and eliminate using Bucks from another award period.

This is great team building technique and incorporates praise for every team member. Consider adding the “Good Job” Bucks program to your employee benefits program. It has been a win-win situation for many practices and their teams.

Here is an example of a Rewards Redemption List

Here is an example of a “Good Job” Buck

Monica Dixon Perry, CVPM
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