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Becoming a Sunday Times Best Company
Kristie Faulkner of Whitecross Vets spoke about the benefits of the scheme at BSAVA Congress
Kristie Faulkner speaks at BSAVA Congress

The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies scheme is designed to measure the success of team engagement within companies and is based on eight key workplace factors. Kristie Faulkner of Whitecross Vets spoke at BSAVA Congress (5-8 May) about her experience of the scheme.

The scheme looks at how well a company achieves in the following areas:
  • leadership
  • culture
  • management
  • the Company ethos
  • personal growth
  • the team ethos
  • wellbeing
  • a fair deal
Personal questionnaires on all these topics are given to all staff and are not seen by anyone else in the company.

Kristie spoke about the benefits of the scheme, saying that you really find out how your teams feel about so many issues. You learn about yourselves as managers, teamwork improves, new talent is attracted to the practice and it is good for PR, she said.

From the scheme, Whitecross Vets learned they were working the right way because of the high scores they achieved. However, they discovered that their front of house teams felt they did not receive a fair deal and their nurses wished for more training and development. Buying into the scheme provides a good opportunity for feedback and listening in numerous areas and it inspires improvement.

The group has been in the scheme for six years and has grown from eight to 18 practices over that time. Whitecross has built on what they have learnt from the scheme each year with improvements in communication, such as their in-house magazine and their weekly catch up email to all team members.

Their aim is to create a culture of fun and hard work. They have their own annual congress, provide CPD trips abroad, days off for birthdays and PETernity days for those who acquire new pets. Improved CPD allowances have also been introduced with learning for all the team. Team spirit is seen as very important, so team activities are greatly encouraged.

They have addressed team wellbeing, providing counselling, better working rotas and longer holidays and improved pensions and other benefits for their staff. They also encourage team members to 'give something back' by allowing them five 'donation' days a year when they can carry out voluntary work.

Kristie told the delegates that taking part in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies scheme has really helped Whitecross Vets to see not just where they were doing well, but where they needed to improve. As long as the need for improvement is taken on board, Kristie said she would recommend taking part in the scheme to all medium to large practices.

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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
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Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”