What Would Shawn Do? Helping Your Staff Make a Good Impression

Q:

My team often shows up to work looking like something the cat dragged in. Our four-legged visitors tend to look and smell better than my staff does. Help!

A:

Working with animals isn’t glamorous. Quite often it means sporting pee- or poo-stained scrubs and being covered in pet hair. But you have to pay attention to appearance, because clients use it to form an impression of you and your business.

Within seconds of meeting you, a client will make a number of assumptions, including the level of your self-esteem, confidence, organization skills, soundness of judgment, attention to detail, creativity, and reliability.

Here are some tips to manage your practice’s image, increase your team’s confidence, and give them a psychological edge:

  • relaxingCreate a written appearance and dress code. Tie it to the business’s mission and core values.
  • Train the team on what constitutes professional appearance, etiquette, and social graces in your practice.
  • Spell out what the consequences will be for not adhering to the appearance standards, and enforce them. Watch my video about how to handle violations.
  • Create contests for fitness improvement or best-dressed employee. Give a makeover or other image-related prize that fits your practice’s culture. The goal is to increase team satisfaction and buy-in to the image standards.

More Resources

In this video, I talk about proper posture for a veterinary-service setting.
In this video, I discuss how to talk to employees about a personal hygiene issue.
In this video, I discuss proper attire for practice managers.
Veterinary Growth Partners members should take the online course called “First Impressions: Image Management for the Veterinary Team.”
Good luck!

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