by Bill Schroeder
I’ve often told a story of when my youngest daughter Lilly ran into her 1st grade teacher at a restaurant in our town. Lilly was utterly amazed that Mrs. Carr was there and could not think or talk about anything but her disbelief for the rest of the evening. From that day forward, Lilly had a special fascination and bond with her, one that excited her about school and all things Mrs. Carr. After great thought, it dawned on me that prior to the encounter, Lilly could not envision her teacher doing anything but working in the classroom. As far as Lilly was concerned, Mrs. Carr slept at her desk.
The reality is that Mrs. Carr failed to humanize herself. Lilly’s views shifted after an accidental encounter that revealed that her teacher was a person that probably dealt with the same things that “normal” families experienced. This was confirmed throughout the year by Lilly’s questions “Do you think Mrs. Carr’s kids get homework?” “Does Mrs. Carr drive?” and when we had a family member pass away, Lilly wondered if “Mrs. Carr ever had something like this happen.”
My point here is that you and your team members could be Mrs. Carr. In an industry that runs on compassion and trust, humanizing your workplace is an important step towards building a better relationship with your clients, and your community.
Why You Should Humanize Your Practice
I’m not suggesting you should spend your days hanging out at the local pizza place trolling for interaction. But I am suggesting that sharing a bit about yourself and your staff’s lives outside of the practice can result in a stronger client bond, increased respect for important things like being on time, and a greater willingness to follow your advice.
By regularly involving the members of the veterinary practice team in the conversations around the practice, you not only humanize them to the pet owners, but also demonstrate to the team member that you value and respect their contributions to the organization. Failing to do so could lead to a feeling of being less than represented or that their opinions are not as valuable.
Tips for Getting Your Team Involved in Humanizing Your Workplace
While most team members will be eager to participate, be prepared for those who don’t feel comfortable. This does not necessarily mean that they are not brand loyal. Voluntary participation will dramatically increase the quality of the content and avoid possible resentment or feelings of intrusion.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Confirm who would like to be involved
- Create a survey that asks participants about why they work in veterinary medicine, as well as things that may be surprising
- Gather images and videos that depict team members in a professional and personal setting
- Interview employees in both blog and video formats
- Incorporate this content in your practice content creation plan and post it on your social media channels
Humanizing Your Workplace Takes Time, but It’s Worth It
Showing your team as the humans they are makes them more approachable and trustworthy to pet owners. It opens doors to deeper communication with your clients, which leads to better care for their pets. If you need more tips on humanizing your workplace and staff or would like to speak with InTouch to see how we can help, call us today at (800) 493-9003.