What is the ORGANIZATIONAL DIAGNOSIS AND DESIGN TOOLKIT?
In 2021, the VHMA embarked on a pivotal step toward helping our members address the significant workforce issues they face. The initiative was launched with the VHMA Critical Issues Summit on Workforce in December of 2021, a two-day, focused gathering which brought together 59 thought leaders and veterinary service stakeholders. Summit attendees included veterinarians, technicians, managers, consultants, and industry leaders. The central focus of the summit was to identify how veterinary practices can retain a skilled workforce.
Through a deep dive into data on the state of the workforce, workforce conditions, and trends in the veterinary and other healthcare industries, we realized one thing is certain: the veterinary profession is not alone in its workforce attraction and retention challenges. Every industry across the globe is facing similar concerns and unknowns. Unfortunately, no one has found a simple solution to these rapidly evolving workplace challenges; there is no “easy button.” Although it may be of some comfort that these challenges stretch across all industries, veterinary professionals must focus on many tactics and strategies to boost their practices while prioritizing new and evolving employee and customer demands.
The data shows that hospitals must prioritize employee well-being and job flexibility. Additionally, veterinary professionals must learn to utilize staff better, creating happier employees and more efficient practices. Fortunately, the industry has already started responding by producing and analyzing data, educating professionals, and developing tools and resources that practices can utilize.
While tools and resources are extraordinarily helpful, veterinary management professionals must also embrace and adopt new ways of thinking about their practices, teams, and clients.
Understanding how our organizations work (versus how they could or should work) is one significant gap in the current industry, leading to potentially the most powerful opportunity. Because of the shifts in the marketplace, veterinary professionals must re-examine their practice management and operational models by determining the best way to offer and optimize their services. This emanates from the customer value proposition and determining how work is done. By focusing on how our organizations work (or don’t work), we can solve many current issues—such as job dissatisfaction and burnout—and reduce team member attrition.
This brings us to the Organization Systems Model (OSM). Using the OSM introduced in this toolkit, VHMA can help practice leaders solve workforce issues that have never been appropriately addressed in the past and improve their services for a better client experience and improved healthcare outcomes for pets.
The OSM provides a systematic approach to identifying the root cause of an organization’s issues so that solutions have a greater impact. Its strength is in its flexibility. It can be applied to both macro and micro challenges.
It’s time to think strategically about the challenges facing our veterinary practices. This is why the OSM introduces a new way of examining existing problems in order to generate better solutions.