January 2015



Phone (908) 823-4607- info@veterinarybusinessadvisors.com

Bullying in the Workplace... Is It Really A Big Deal?



At a company-wide meeting, a supervisor uses sarcastic humor that makes an employee's contribution seem less worthy, even though he went above and beyond on a particular project. Meanwhile, a manager "forgets" to point out a promotion opportunity to qualified employees in the hopes that a favored staff member would get the edge - while a long time employee publicly and harshly criticizes the work of an up-and-coming newer team member.


Each of these are examples of workplace bullying.


Bullying, as defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute, is "repeated, health-harming mistreatment" of one or multiple targets, with abusive conduct that is "threatening, humiliating, or intimidating." It can also include work interference and/or verbal abuse. The Institute's 2014 survey discovered that 27% of workers have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work, with bosses serving as the majority (but not the sole) source of bullying. In perhaps the most startling statistic, 72% of employers are reported as denying, discounting, encouraging, rationalizing, or defending bullying. The Institute also states that bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination at work.

How big of a deal is bullying really?  Let's find out! 



Why Do You Need An Employee Manual?


Is it ok to have "cookie cutter" employment policies that don't necessarily fit your practice? What's wrong with just borrowing someone else's employee handbook and distributing it to your staff as your own? Why should you spend the money to customize your policies? If you're a small practice, do you really need a Handbook? How often should you review your policies to make sure they are legally compliant?


These are all good questions that practice owners and managers must ask themselves as they assess the effectiveness of their employee handbooks. Employee policies should be clear, concise, and reflect how you want to treat your employees. Some policies are essential and should be included in every practice's Handbook. For instance, an Equal Employment Opportunity policy that prohibits harassment and discrimination will help assure your staff that these unlawful activities will not be tolerated while also providing an affirmative defense against complaints from disgruntled employees. However, many practices unnecessarily include policies they don't need just because they saw them in someone else's handbook. For instance, including information about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may not be necessary if your practice doesn't have enough employees for the Act to be applicable. However, once you include it in your Handbook, it becomes your policy.


Is it better to have some policies than not to have any at all? Well, that depends. Poorly crafted employment policies, or policies that don't reflect what you do in your particular practice, can actually do much more harm than good. Whether your practice employs 3 or 300, it's a good idea to review your policies annually to make sure they accurately reflect the uniqueness of your practice. If you don't have a handbook yet, what are you waiting for?

In This Issue
How To Deal With Clients Who Want To Fill Prescriptions At Internet Pharmacies



Drug revenues typically account for 15 to 30 percent of a practice's revenue. So, when a client asks you for a prescription, rather than purchasing medicine directly from you, it's likely that they're shopping at an Internet or Big Box pharmacy, which will cut into your bottom line.

To fight back against this trend, there are several strategies to consider, including:

  • Talk to your clients about convenience. When they get medications directly from you, there isn't a wait for delivery. Plus, you can talk about the benefits and side effects of the medication, along with tips for administration. Most human pharmacists have no experience with pet medications and can't educate pet owners on administration and/or interactions with other drugs.
  • Look for opportunities for your staff to promote products that clients should purchase regularly, such as those used to combat heartworm; have your staff focus on the high standards of care that your office promotes whenever they have these discussions.
  • Compare your prices with those offered at big box stores and on the Internet; perhaps you offer two free flea medications with every six purchased. If so, you are probably offering a better deal than your discount competitors and, if so, you should definitely let clients know.
  • Consider lowering your prices to keep the sale. After all, it's better to get a lower profit than no profit at all.
  • Consider absorbing the cost of prescriptions into your consultation fees.
  • Promote your products and services by email, via signs posted in your office and so forth.
  • Emphasize your high standards of care and your expertise whenever an opportunity arises.


However you choose to address the situation, don't expect this topic to fade away any time soon. In fact, lawmakers are considering the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, HR 1406, which would require veterinarians to write out a prescription whether they would disperse the product or not, and to give clients a written notification that they can fill the prescription elsewhere.


Thank you for being a client and/or colleague of Veterinary Business Advisors.  In order to better serve you, would you be so kind as to complete our anonymous client survey.


Our survey has a comment section, which we would appreciate if you could provide specific feedback,  We appreciate your valuable time.  We look forward to working with you in 2015!  Have a safe and wonderful new year
 Copyright 2015
2015 - Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc.
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