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Performance management – the cornerstone of a successful business

09 Mar 2021 | Richard Casey


Do you think performance management is just something you do when a team member is under-performing? Richard Casey, President of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG) tells us why it is much more than that, and why he thinks it’s one of the most important responsibilities of any manager.

Performance management – the cornerstone of a successful business Image

If you think performance management is just something you do when a team member is under-performing, think again. It is much more than that and, I’d argue, it’s one of the most important responsibilities of any manager.

The Chartered Management Institute says that performance management is ‘an integrated approach to helping an organisation to achieve its aims and objectives by monitoring and improving the performance of individuals, departments and the organisation as a whole’.

In a nutshell, if you want to achieve peak performance, it’s essential to constantly measure and monitor staff and business performance to ensure both are firmly on track – and to take quick action if they veer off course.

So, how do you do it?


First of all, take some time to decide where you want to be one, two or three years down the track.  Then start with your practice objectives because all of your team’s objectives should be aligned to these. For example, if you’re aiming to increase your practices revenue over the next three years, each team member should have an objective that contributes to this. Perhaps the reception team could be objectivised to promote sales of over-the-counter products or your nurse clinics goaled to secure health plan sign ups.

Once you’ve agreed them, set out the objectives for the practice, teams and individuals. You’ll likely have heard of SMART objectives, but some leaders are choosing to adopt PURE and / or CLEAR objectives depending on the work at hand. You can find out more about these HERE.


How often do you hear the phrase ‘I think there has been an increase in these types of cases?’ Objectives are useless unless you can measure them, for instance, by pulling a report from the practice management system (PMS). Being able to measure accurately allows you to move from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’. This data could also help you spot emerging trends that are important, both for your team and for the business as a whole.


Your preparation will mean nothing if you don’t communicate your objectives to those who contribute to them. From a practice perspective, make sure the whole team understands the end goal.  Explain what you need them to do differently to enable you to measure progress. This could be as simple as adjusting the approach to data input on the PMS.

On an individual basis, set up one to one meetings to discuss their personal objectives and the support they need to achieve them. The operative word here is discuss!


Diarise regular meetings with staff members to monitor their progress and discuss development areas. If they would find it useful, a mentor from within the business may be able to offer useful help and advice day-to-day.

When you’re giving feedback remember ‘EEC’. Focus on the ‘evidence’ or ‘examples’, the ‘effect’ it is having whether positive or negative and ask for the ‘change’ required. This could be to maintain performance, to develop it further or to improve it to a required standard.


Objectives should always have a final review point agreed upfront – perhaps a year down the line.  At this stage you should be able to take the data you’ve been measuring and consider feedback from a range of stakeholders to review an individual’s performance in the round.  You can then make a decision re the next set of objectives, bearing in mind the overall performance of the business.

Performance management matters, both for the individuals concerned and for the business. Make it a priority!


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