Why Documenting Poor Employee Performance in Your Veterinary Practice is Crucial
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a veterinary practice that never has to deal with poor employee performance. Underperforming employees can be huge problems in a variety of ways: They can damage your practice, hurt morale, and ultimately expose your veterinary practice to legal liability.
This is why it is absolutely critical that your practice has the tools in place to ensure that you know how to manage these issues. Fortunately, with items like cloud-based document storage and employee performance tools, you can keep track of your employee performance, record violations and help your employees find ways to improve their performance and better serve your veterinary practice and its clients (and pets).
What is an Employee Performance Issue?
Employee performance issues can take many forms. It may mean a failure to adequately perform job-related responsibilities, a lack of work ethic, struggles related to training and/or learning a new role, an inappropriate attitude with other employees or clients, or more. Indeed, these issues can be too numerous to define with every specific example.
However, an employee performance issue should be properly documented and recorded. This is why you need features like HR for Health's employee performance module, which can be used to track issues, note when an incident occurs, and upload any other supporting documentation. You can also use our templates or customize your own to conduct performance reviews, and create an employee handbook that clearly lays out what your expectations are of your employees and what consequences may be for employees who underperform.
Finally, it is important that you regularly provide employee assessments that address employee performance issues. These regular reviews can be used to address minor problems before they become major ones and ensure that your team knows that you are supporting them, while also monitoring their behavior.
Why You Need to Document Underperforming Employees in Your Veterinary Practice
The truth is that documenting poor employee performance is necessary for a variety of reasons.
First, doing so will raise the standard for all employee expectations. There is no question that you owe each employee that you are monitoring the dignity and privacy that comes with a confidential discussion of their performance issues. However, the odds are good that your employee may confide in others that they are having issues. Another likely scenario is that your employee will begin to improve their behavior. This raises the bar for all other employees at your veterinary practice and ensures that poor employee performance has a method of being addressed.
If an underperforming employee knows that they have a way forward and the opportunity to get better, they may be more open to seeking feedback on how to do just that. This creates a pathway in which poor employee performance can be remedied.
Improved employee performance means more than just someone doing better at work. It also means that customers will experience a better visit with their pet. This will leave them happier and more likely to return to your practice.
Finally, documenting these issues protects you from legal claims or litigation. Unfortunately, an employee error may result in a serious injury to either your employee or the animals. You could be held legally responsible if evidence emerges that you knew about these issues but did nothing to address them. Thankfully, documenting issues and creating a performance improvement plan can prove that you are attempting to fix these issues. This may provide you with a level of legal protection.
What is Your HR Policy for Underperforming Team Members?
As noted above, every veterinary practice will have underperforming team members at some point in its history. What matters is how these issues can be prevented, how they can be documented, and how they can be addressed.
The reason for underperformance is critical to understand. Does it come from a lack of knowledge about an employee's role? Did their onboarding or orientation not take the way it should have? If this is the case, what can you do to address these issues in the future? Alternatively, is the person just not capable of meeting job expectations, and what can be done to address these issues?
An HR Policy should be laid out in your veterinary practice’s employee handbook. It should not prescribe specific punishments for performance issues, since it’s important for you to have a level of discretion depending on the circumstances of different situations. Instead, it should lay out what job expectations are and the potential consequences for poor performance. You must then rigorously adhere to whatever policy you set out. Doing so will prevent any issues of discrimination and stop you from getting sued.
What You Need to Know
Poor employee performance comes with the turf. It is a part of every healthcare practice, including veterinary. Thankfully, by appropriately documenting issues and developing systems that can prevent these issues from festering, you can stop underperformance in its tracks and work to better protect yourself, your practice, and the rest of your team members.
How HR for Health Can Help
At the end of the day, your veterinary practice needs comprehensive performance management tools. This includes document storage, performance review modules, violation trackers, and more. Thankfully, at HR for Health, we have all of this and more.
Looking for more information? Contact HR for Health today, and let us schedule you with a free, fifteen-minute, no-obligation call. Learn more about how we can help your practice grow and thrive!