Are your people really working for your practice?

Posted on February 06, 2018 by Helen Frewin

Practice blogDo you sometimes look at the behaviour of your team and wonder if they are really working for the practice? Are some of these people just in a job to pay the bills and lacking commitment to really make a difference to the business? You are not alone, this is a challenge every manager faces. So, what can you do about it?

We all want to get the most from our teams, so they are working at the best, engaged and fully contributing. Good people management is not a one-off task; it needs to be an approach you take and a consideration in all the conversations you have. It doesn’t need to be onerous, but it does need some purposeful reflection and action.

Good management

And when it’s not working, performance management and eventually replacing people is no evil act – it’s good management and often even does the other person a favour.

Understanding what motivates people is essential when we are trying to get the best out of individuals. Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money, or they rely on the carrot-and-stick approach. One of our favourite authors and speakers is Daniel Pink who suggests a different way.

Pink explores a possible mismatch between what psychologists understand and what business does, and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines three possible elements of motivation: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. In situations where people are paid fairly, this trio drives, engages, and stimulates us to do our best work.

  • Autonomy - or the desire to be self-directed
  • Mastery - or the itch to keep improving at something that’s important to us; and
  • Purpose - the sense that what we do produces something transcendent or serves something meaningful beyond ourselves.

By bearing these behavioural drivers in mind during the recruitment process, you can better align your business goals with a candidate’s needs and passions, weed out those candidates who are ‘simply looking to get paid,’ and keep the right people in a position to thrive.

In the end, it’s a win-win, because not only does it make for motivated employees who are more engaged and innovative, but it also drives better productivity for your practice, meaning higher customer satisfaction and greater profits.

Find out more about Pink's research.


Blue chip companies set the bar high for recruitment. They want the best people to deliver the best performance. Personality profiling, assessment centres and telephone screening are used because they are robust and objective methods of truly getting to know a candidate and guiding great interview questions.

With the wealth of research available showing that interviews alone are a rather ineffective selection method, made worse by more and more guidance available for candidates on how to answer interview questions – recruiters simply need to use a more robust process in order to select the best candidates.

Learn more

There is of course much more to be said on how exactly to put these principles into practice. In the one-day workshop on Thursday 1 March we will look at practical tools and tips for recruiting, retaining and replacing people – so that you can make sure people are really working for your practice.

Helen Frewin

Written by Helen Frewin

MSc CPsychol, Talent Director, Totem Consulting

Helen has been working with and advising businesses on recruitment, people performance, leadership and change her entire career. Having worked across all sorts of industries over the past 15 years, including work directly supporting veterinary practice managers and partners, Helen’s time is now spent advising blue chip firms like Kantar, Dixons Carphone, BNP Paribas and Yum! Brands - on all matters relating to people management. Helen has spoken at various BVA events before, as well as the London Vet Show and College of Animal Welfare. She is known for her engaging style and practical content.