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4 Tips to Creating a Learning Culture in Healthcare - And Not Be the 'Michael Scott' of Your Team

Steve Dobberowsky

Director, Strategy and Value Service, Cornerstone

Costs of recruiting solutions for top medical industry talent are rising dramatically for healthcare organizations, and it may be too much to bear: the average cost of a new hire in healthcare is $5,611, and overall acquisition costs for healthcare rose 16 percent.[1]

So with external recruiting becoming more cost-un­friendly by the day, how can administrators ensure their workforce has the right capabilities to provide top notch patient care? They can invest in learning opportunities for their team!

The Truth Behind Training

Managers may counter by highlighting what they already offer: We do lots of instructor-led classroom training! We take our cues from Michael Scott from "The Office." Plus we have books in the staff break room!

Those are nice to have, but they don’t connect with today’s learners. Listening to yet another outside consultant delivers all the ’wow’ factor of an 8:00am high school class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And if you want your team to spend their free time reading, then you’d better also provide the beach, good weather, and a blended pink drink with matching umbrella.

So how can health and safety training experts provide an innovative learning environment that is impactful and innovative? It’s simple – make learning personalized to the needs of your team! Today’s workers are more unique and different than prior generations, but with the widespread availability of next-gen performance management technologies, you can address their training needs more easily than ever.

Tips for an Impactful Learning Culture That Resonates With Your Workforce

  1. Provide content they can use. Modern learners want training modules that are media-rich, interactive, and social-enabled. Mix videos with text to address the various learning styles your staff prefers. Allow learners to rate, share, and discuss content – this drives engagement and participation, while also helping admins identify which employees have leadership skills.Employees should be able to access (or be assigned) modules that address skill gaps, add to their competencies, or even prep them for future roles.
  2. Make training accessible 24/7. Ever notice how people are glued to their phones? Don’t fight that! Instead, blend your team’s tech savviness with your learning initiatives. Provide employee training software that is available 24/7, and also mobile device-friendly; this enables workers to develop their skills when it’s most convenient for them. Limiting your growth initiatives to classroom learning or scheduled, formal opportunities slows the rate at which employees can develop their competencies. On the admin side, those ’traditional’ methods aren’t always budget-friendly, and integrating learning technologies into your training culture is a low cost solution.
  3. Foster a culture of collaborative learning. Learning is more effective, and retention is higher, when employees take on the role of both the student AND the teacher. This enables everyone to show off and demonstrate their best skills, and learn from others in a more informal, stress-free environment. Your team can exchange invaluable knowledge, share best practices, and trade the key healthcare tips you can only learn from experience. These collaborative discussions also play a positive role during employee performance evaluations, even if you’re not a huge fan of SCRUBS. How critical is collaborative learning? In a 2013 Bersin study, 87 percent said sharing knowledge with their team is "very important" or "essential" to learning in the workplace.[2]
  4. Deliver measurable results to execs. Ok, so this one isn’t a ’tip,’ but it’s a critical element to the compliance training and skills development process. You’ll need executive buy-in before starting a training initiative, and if you want that green light to stay green, then you need to:
  • Establish metrics for success
  • Show how your strategy will hit those metrics
  • Deliver results that show you achieved employee growth on a smaller budget

Today’s workforce is passionate, but to fully capitalize on their career goals, you’ll need to offer training sessions that address their needs. They want usable content that is quickly accessible, and the more you can leverage innovative technologies, including mobile devices, the faster they’ll learn (and at a lower cost to admins!). Learning should also be collaborative, so ditch pricey consultants and stop eating travel costs; you’d be surprised how much knowledge is already in your organization. You just need to provide a platform where it can be shared. Last, show cost-conscious execs your strategy to get their approval.

Want to learn more on Collaborative Learning in Healthcare? Join Sanford Health and Modern Healthcare on our 06/07 webinar.


[1] Talent Acquisition Factbook 2015: Benchmarks and Trends in Spending, Staffing and Key Recruiting Metrics, Bersin by Deloitte / Jennifer Krider, Karen O’Leonard, & Robin Erickson, PhD, April 20151. PwC – 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, Healthcare Industry

[2] Bersin, Learning in the Workplace, 2013

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