New Year’s Goal #3 Job Descriptions

Team training, opportunities for professional development.Over the past few months, while offering online VSPN courses, it appears every topic eventually leads to 1) Mission/Vision/Values and 2) well defined job descriptions. Therefore, Goal #3: reviewing and updating job descriptions.

I am of the opinion job descriptions are “living documents,” growing and changing as the employee grows in their career and development. One size job descriptions does not fit all! A newbie veterinary technician’s duties are different than that of a seasoned veterinary technician. Same goes for receptionist and veterinarians. Once the newbie has a couple of years under their belt, their passions and professional goals will be defined; reflected in their performance reviews and upgraded job description. This document is updated to accurately reflect their passion, education, advanced skill set and dedication to client service.

This past week I read an interesting article written by Dr. Andy Roark, Holiay Bonuses: the Downside, I agree (and have had this opinion for some time), bonuses are not to be given as a “holiday offering” rather bonuses are offered when a team member has determined a personal goal and indentified the benefit to the pet, pet owner, veterinary team and hospital. This is something discussed during performance reviews, monitored and rewards given when the goal is adequately achieved. Then the job description is updated to include the new level of competency and responsibility. Thus, the job descriptions grow and change as the team develops, creating different levels of duties and expectations.

You may be asking, “What about the new hire that is brought on as a general hire?” If you truly are hiring someone for entry level skills, then yes, a generic, entry level job description will suffice. However, if you are looking to hire a credentialed veterinary technician with years of experience and an interest in dentisty, then your job description will reflect those skills, level of achievement, and varied responsibilities. The compensation would also reflect that.

The point is, job descriptions are valuable tools for hiring, performance reviews, establishing expectations of the job and documentation. If a job description is no longer relevant, reinvent it! Another concept, have levels of competency. Listed under the VSPN link you will find varied levels of detailed duties and varied titles to include different degrees of comepetency.

Years back, I was hired as a practice manager. There was no job description, at the beginning. The veterinarians had an idea of what my role would be, however I was in a position to create the outline. I could have, easily, written up the complete job description, however I took another approach and asked the team to create it! Yes, this approach took far longer, included conversations with everyone on the team and was time consuming, however when the final job description was completed, everyone on the team knew exactly what my duties were, what the work load looked like and there was great buy-in for the new title. I was known, originally for my technical skills, however this team exercise clearly stated my duties were management in nature (payroll, scheduling, insurance, hospital maintenance, meetings, oversight of hiring/firing, etc) and everyone knew it.

Along those same lines, pull out your team’s job descriptions and ask each of them to recreate it, relevant to the duties they actually perform. Chances are you will find gaps and overlay in tasks and duties. From there, possibly add responsibilities to fill in the gaps and distribute duties for fewer duplications. Sounds efficient to me.

Some of you may be thinking, “We don’t even have job descriptions, now what?” Know WHEELS are already created! Following are a links to a few books/sites/articles that can help you in creating job descriptions. Again, I suggest your team member’s (including veterinarians) write out their job duties and create job descriptions that are a true reflection of where their time is spent, what they are passionate about and reflective of the education they have (either formally, through CE, credentialing or certification-CVPM as an example).

Feel free to contact me when you have questions about job descriptions, goal setting, performance reviews and updates. Happy to offer suggestions!

Job Descriptions and Training Schedules for the Veterinary Team, AAHA Press, James F. Wilson, DVM, JD, and Karen Gendron, DVM,

Manager’s Monday, Don’t Downplay Job Descriptions, Katherine Dobbs, RVT, PHR, CVPM, Veterinary Economics,

Job Descriptions, VSPN, various levels and practice titles,

Job Description – Customer Service

Job Description – Head Vet Tech A

Job Description – Head Vet Tech B

Job Description – Head Vet Tech C

Job Description – Head Vet Tech D

Job Description – Kennel Assistant

Job Description – Receptionist

Job Description – Veterinary Assistant

Job Description – Veterinary Technician

Cheers, RR

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