Democracy at Work: Does Every Vote Matter?
242 years ago our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, laying out the foundation for a new government by the people and for the people—a democracy. Today we honor that by heading to the polls to make our voices heard and elect our country’s leaders.
True democracy is a lofty ideal we aim for to run our government, but what about for our workplaces? If democracy is such a great way to do things on a large scale, why not a small one? Why is it that many business still hold on to a top down management scheme? Why do they still believe one or two people know what’s best for the whole business?
Is your workplace like that, or is it a democracy? Does every staff members’ concerns get heard? Do their ideas get listened to and implemented? Here are 3 great reasons to make sure every team member’s vote matters.
It Attracts and Retains Great Employees
Veterinary medicine is a values based field. While we all want to get paid, salary is only a small portion of what our team members need and want from their jobs. People want to feel empowered and valued at work. They want to be appreciated and to know that they are making a real difference. The best employees—hard working, self-motivated, smart—are going to be attracted to the kind of workplace that will treat them like respected members of a team.
And when employees’ ideas are welcomed and implemented, they feel connected to the practice and are more likely to stay. Reduced employee turnover is essential in keeping a practice efficient and productive. And for clients, seeing the same faces every time they come will help keep them loyal to the practice.
It Helps Generate Great Ideas to Grow the Practice
Practice Owners and Office Managers have a lot on their plates. They can’t be everywhere and they can’t see everything. The front desk staff has the most interaction with clients. They hear every compliment and complaint first. Kennel staff are the first to see if something isn’t working in the back. Technicians are in a great position to see how the different parts of the hospital are working together. And being on the front lines every day, they often come up with great ideas to make things work better.
Maybe a client service representative sees how much clients appreciate their pet being acknowledged as soon as they walk in and comes up with a great idea for a welcome board with the names of all the pets’ who have appointments that day. Or a technician comes up with a new history intake form to make sure nothing gets missed. Will they feel empowered to suggest it?
Not every idea is going to be right for every practice, but if management hasn’t been open to employee ideas in the past, people won’t bother bringing them up and you could miss out on something your clients will really appreciate.
It Boosts Productivity
When teams make decisions together, everyone is more likely to be on board.
For example, letting technicians be involved in the discussion about which flea and tick preventative to carry can make them more confident in the product that’s ultimately chosen. When they’re telling clients about flea and tick preventative, that confidence will come across and they will be better able to convince clients of the importance of a monthly preventative.
And when staff have ideas, they’re excited to make them succeed. Say someone in the kennel comes up with a plan to make a “discharge” report for boarding animals. It’ll include pictures and maybe a story about something cute the pet did during their stay and the clients will get a copy when they pick their pet up. Management thinks it’s great and has them develop a template and puts them in charge of taking pictures of boarding pets.
Since that person came up with the idea, they’re going to be extra motivated to make sure it’s a success. Suddenly, their job isn’t just about cleaning up poop—it’s about making clients feel comfortable going on vacation and leaving their pets. It’s meaningful and provides them with a sense of job satisfaction they didn’t have before. Knowing their job matters will make them more excited to do it.
So this election day, make sure every vote counts—at the polls, and in the office.