How to Deliver Performance Reviews for Dog Daycare and Dog Boarding Staff

Unlocking Employee Potential

For small business owners, it’s a common question to ask, “How do I deliver performance reviews for dog daycare attendants or other pet care staff?” In pet care businesses, nurturing talent and maximizing employee potential are paramount to continued success. While many business owners see this as a daunting task and choose to only complete employee performance reviews once per year, the top performing dog daycare and dog boarding facilities utilize this tool as a framework to continue to build upon employee education, improve performance, drive personal growth, and recognize the contribution of each team member every quarter.

Below, we are going to delve into why every dog daycare and dog boarding business, regardless of size, should embrace the practice of quarterly performance reviews and the transformational benefits they bring to both employees and the business.

Where do I Conduct Performance Reviews?

In dog daycare facilities, one of the key factors in performance reviews is finding a place where you can chat openly with your team members without distraction. That can be a real challenge in many facilities that are optimizing space to deliver services; if that sounds like your facility, then you should consider doing the performance review offsite.

Introduction

One important factor in conducting a performance review is to set the stage and help the pet care staff understand the purpose of the conversation and what they should expect as part of the process. Regardless of the performance review’s details, make sure you start the conversation by thanking the staff for their hard work and dedication to the dogs in your daycare and boarding facility.

As you prepare for the performance evaluation, below are several questions you should be asking yourself regarding employee performance:

  1. Dog Handling Skills
    • How effectively do they manage dogs of different sizes, breeds, and temperaments?
    • Have there been any incidents or challenges related to dog handling? If yes, how were they resolved?
    • How do they ensure the safety and well-being of the dogs under their care?
  2. Daycare Operations
    • How well do they follow daycare policies and procedures?
    • Are they proactive in maintaining a clean and organized environment?
    • How do they contribute to creating a positive and engaging atmosphere for dogs and pet owners?
  3. Communication
    • How effectively do they communicate with pet owners regarding their pets’ behavior, health, and activities?
    • Have there been any instances where their communication skills positively impacted customer satisfaction?
    • How do they collaborate and communicate with colleagues and supervisors?
  4. Problem-Solving and Adaptability
    • Can you provide examples of situations where they demonstrated quick thinking and problem-solving skills in managing unexpected events or challenges?
    • How do they handle difficult or aggressive behavior in dogs?
    • Have they shown adaptability in learning new skills or taking on additional responsibilities?
  5. Teamwork and Collaboration
    • How well do they work as part of a team with other daycare attendants?
    • Have they contributed positively to team dynamics and morale?
    • Do they support and assist coworkers during busy periods or when needed?
  6. Customer Service
    • How do they interact with pet owners? Are they courteous, knowledgeable, and responsive to customer needs and inquiries?
    • Have any instances of exceptional customer service stood out?
    • How do they handle feedback or complaints from pet owners?
  7. Continuous Learning and Improvement
    • Are they open to feedback and suggestions for improvement?
    • Have they participated in any training programs or workshops related to dog care and handling?
    • How do they demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and professional development?
  8. Overall Performance and Contribution
    • Based on their performance in the review period, how would you rate their overall contribution to the success of the dog daycare facility?
    • What are their strengths that significantly benefit daycare?
    • Are there any areas where they need further development or support?

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Job Responsibilities

It is very important to show up prepared. It would be ideal if you brought along a task list that breaks down the responsibilities for each staff member (dog daycare attendant, reservation specialist, boarding attendant, etc.): daily tasks, weekly tasks, biweekly tasks, and monthly tasks. If this does not exist currently, then that is the first thing that you should do to help your staff understand what it means to be successful in the role you hired them for in your dog daycare facility.

  • Supervising and interacting with daycare dogs safely and engagingly.
  • Following dog daycare and dog boarding protocols for documenting and delivering feedings, medications, incidents, injuries, and how they handle emergencies.
  • Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning in all areas where dogs are boarding or playing in dog daycare.
  • Continuing education to become better at reading dogs’ body language, interacting with customers dropping off their dogs for daycare and boarding, answering the phones and telling the company story, and making personalized recommendations to ensure that every pet has the best experience while also driving profits for your pet care business.

In addition to recapping staff responsibilities and providing a grade for their performance of those responsibilities (A, B, C, D, F), it’s also important to identify, based on their growth, how those responsibilities will change in the future.

Performance Evaluation

It’s best to approach a performance evaluation with bookends of strengths and areas of opportunity. By starting with positive feedback, you are going to reinforce the fact that you appreciate their hard work and have seen value in the time they have spent working for your pet care business. It’s best to be very specific regarding their daily duties and provide grading for their completion of those tasks. If you are using dog daycare software, it’s important to be able to pull data out of the daycare software to show real metrics.

  • Process daycare attendants follow to deliver a daycare evaluation and review feedback with the pet owner at pick-up.
  • Ability to convert dog daycare evaluations into daycare package purchases.
  • Ability to answer phone calls and convert new leads into daycare and boarding appointments.
  • Ability to book dog boarding appointments that include enrichment and departure grooming services (driving average revenue per pet).
  • Ability to handle dogs of different sizes, breeds, and temperaments in dog daycare playgroups.
  • Knowing the dogs’ personalities and creating safe dog daycare playgroups.
  • Running daycare playgroups with engaging games, training tasks, and the timeliness of cleaning up after the dogs quickly.
  • Communication skills with pet owners during check-in and check-out processes.
  • Documentation of feeding, medications, incidents, and injuries for dog daycare and dog boarding services.

Strengths

Below are some examples of strengths, relating those strengths to the value they provide for the customers, the pet care business, and the overall team culture/environment.

  • You build an exceptional rapport with the dogs, leading to happy and well-behaved guests.
  • Great communication and collaboration with co-workers add to a fantastic company culture and stronger relationships.
  • A willingness to step up and help get things completed without being asked. The teamwork approach makes it so that we have a cohesive group of staff, and it sets a great example for others to help as you do.
  • Great phone skills and hitting specific metrics.

Areas for Improvement

Depending on how each dog daycare employee receives constructive feedback, this can be a sensitive topic that needs to be approached gently. Let staff know that you recognize what they do well in the areas they need to improve and provide a recommendation on specific tasks with specific examples of how you would like them to perform differently. Below are examples of areas and feedback you can provide directly to staff.

  • Time management during the busy drop-off and pick-up times for dog daycare and dog boarding appointments.
  • How are the staff cleaning different dog boarding and dog daycare areas of the facility?
  • How they greet staff during the check-in and/or pick-up.
  • How they answer the phone and make personalized recommendations for enrichment and/or departure services for both dog daycare and dog boarding services.
  • How staff interacts and works with other employees.
  • How staff complete tasks without being asked.

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Goal Setting

What gets measured gets measured, and when you are using the right process and dog daycare software, you can get shorter feedback loops to review on a weekly or biweekly basis. The benefit of reviewing goals often is that you can make small tweaks along the way that will improve results and provide the staff members with the ability to make suggestions so they can be the best version of themselves.

One key approach to goal setting is to work in collaboration when setting them. You may have an idea of what you are thinking and should share but you should seek feedback to see if the staff believes the goal is realistic and achievable. When staff feel they are part of the goal setting, they are more likely to do everything in their power to achieve that goal.

Each goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Below are some common goals that dog daycare staff should be responsible for.

  • Continuing education is a big part of becoming a better daycare and boarding attendant at a dog daycare facility. Several different programs are very applicable; PackPro, Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs, and PACCC certifications.
  • Taking on leadership roles in managing the run transfer optimization, creating staff schedules, or being responsible for creating safe playgroups for daycare.
  • For appointments that are booked, 90% of boarding dogs are hitting to include enrichment and departure grooming services.
  • Driving X customer reviews each month.
  • Taking a leadership role on a project (social media videos/posts, new service roll-out, marketing calendars, etc.).
  • Conversion of 90% of dog daycare evaluations into a package purchase.

Feedback and Discussion

After you have shared all your observations and feedback on what has been done very well, what can be improved, and agreed upon goals for the next quarter, it’s very important to open the conversion for the employee to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas related to the employee’s personal development. A thoughtful employee should 100% have thoughts, and if they just say “ok,” that would potentially be a red flag that they aren’t thinking about how they can continue to be a top-performing employee.

This structured approach will help ensure the performance review is comprehensive, constructive, and focused on both recognizing achievements and supporting the employee’s ongoing personal development.

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