Three ways to streamline your veterinary practice’s HR systems

Working in veterinary practice has immensely rewarding moments, but it’s also damn hard work. So anything that can lighten the load of running a practice is worth looking at. You’re dealing with staff who are passionate about what they do. That’s why they got into veterinary care, and it’s why you’re here too. In the meantime, though, it’s down to you to make sure everybody gets paid.We’ll share with you three areas where veterinary practices can streamline HR systems — and make life easier for people like you, looking after it all.

1. Eliminate time-creep

Your vet assistant leaves work at 4.55 but, on her timesheet, she claims she worked right up till 5.00. That’s time-creep. On its own, the difference is tiny. It almost seems not worth worrying about. But over time, and across your whole practice, those tiny amounts can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. How many other places in your practice could you put that money to better use?

To prevent time-creep, start with a time-clocking system. Right now, time-clocking isn’t common in veterinary practice. However, other healthcare sectors, like pharmacies, use devices such as finger-print scanners to capture exactly when staff start and finish. With time-clocking, you’re not relying on people to remember when they started and finished.

Even with time-clocking, timesheet management can still be a headache. You have to check the time-clocking data against the spreadsheets. That gets labour-intensive; especially when you’ve already worked a nine hour day.

To save time, and increase accuracy, automate your timesheets to capture data straight from the time-clocking device. No room for time-creep, and no need to spend hours checking over mountains of timesheets.

2. Catch exceptions to your HR policies

You’ve got the HR policies all written up in a folder, in the office. Answers to questions like ‘when is overtime permitted?’ are all there for people to read. When you’re running a busy practice, though, those policies often stay right where they are, on the shelf. Beth, a vet nurse, puts in a claim for an extra hour’s overtime. Do you have the time to check whether she got the approval set out in the policy?

That’s where staff management software can help. The software integrates HR business rules into the timesheet management workflow. So when Beth’s timesheet comes up for approval, you’ll see a flag that she’s worked overtime. You can set the default to only pay standard hours, with room to approve exceptional cases. And these exceptions can be tracked and reported on, for clear visibility and accountability right up the line.

3. Interpret the award correctly

Surgeons and practice managers. Nurses and receptionists. Attendants and assistants. The Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award is one of the more complex industry awards out there. And that means there are plenty of areas where you could slip up and risk underpaying staff.

Here are just a few scenarios:

  • Not updating the pay rates for junior staff as they get older
  • Not increasing someone’s pay when they fill in for a more senior staff member, such as Beth (a level 3 Vet Nurse) filling in for Janice (a level 4).
  • Not applying multipliers correctly. This is especially difficult where several multipliers are in play. How confident are you that your systems would handle those cases correctly, such as Beth’s shift falling on a public holiday?

One solution is integrating award management into your HR systems. Here’s how it works. Your software solution holds accurate award data for all your employees. With the data from your timesheets (captured via timeclocking), your payroll solution runs the hours through all the multipliers. So the right amount ends up in your staff members’ bank accounts. And you don’t have to spend time going back over pay-runs.

If your workforce management system includes an integrated payroll solution, you can also auto-generate pay slips and super slips. Slips are emailed straight to staff – and available online. So the award each staff member is on – and answers to a stack of other routine questions – is right there for them to read on the slip.

Don’t forget — there’s also the option to outsource your payroll altogether if you don’t have the time, energy or skills to keep handling it yourself.

It all adds up to giving you more time to do the work you care about. And more time to recharge in between.

How can your practice streamline its HR systems?

To learn more about ways your vet practice can streamline its HR processes and systems, to save time and money and make it all easy, register your interest for our free vet clinic specific webinar – email us at