It's a dirty job

It's a dirty job

Motivate team members to keep your practice clean with creative competitions.
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Oct 01, 2008
By dvm360.com staff


Photo courtesy of Donna Bauman
Ottawa Animal Hospital in Holland, Mich., prides itself on cleanliness. "We frequently hear from clients how spotless our practice is and how it doesn't smell like an animal hospital," says Donna Bauman, CVPM, practice manager. But maintaining a pristine practice isn't always easy or fun. So to motivate team members to keep up the hospital's squeaky-clean reputation, Bauman got creative. She instituted The Fly Hunt and The Race for Fur.

"Summer in Michigan brings flies," she says. "So to stop them from annoying clients and wandering into sterile areas of our practice, I started a fly catching contest. The team member who catches the most gets $1 per fly they catch." Bauman proudly tracks team members' progress. "When they catch a fly, they glue it to the poster board under their name," she says. "This goofy and maybe gross contest had my staff laughing at first, but now they're very aware of the flies—and, of course, now the flies are also aware." The final count for the last winner: 17 flies.

The Race for Fur is another contest that's not for the squeamish, but it keeps inhospitable hairballs out of sight. Each team member gets a jar. The first employee to fill the jar with hairballs wins a free lunch. "Before, during the middle of a busy day, the furthest things from my team's mind were hairballs laying around, but not now," Bauman says. "I just heard a technician assistant say 'Boo-Yah' as he put a large hairball in his jar."