In any business, employee training is critical to success, and home health care is no different. A well-trained workforce is the key to ensuring that not only do your clients receive the best care possible, but also that your team stays engaged and excited about working for you, which typically translates into more employee loyalty, higher productivity, and improved quality.
However, despite the importance of training to the overall success of home health agencies, a recent report has found some gaps in training programs, underscoring the need to improve training programs in order to gain the maximum benefit from the investment. Among the chief findings in the 2017 State of Staff Development and Training report issued by Relias Learning, which offers education and training programs to the healthcare industry, is that many organizations do not follow up on their training in order to determine whether it’s being applied on the job; according to the data, only about 25 percent of companies actually do training assessments to measure effectiveness. Without this follow-up, they note, it’s impossible to determine the effectiveness of the training and whether additional training is required. Still, even without follow-up assessments, the Relias report indicates that training remains a major priority for home health agencies.
Key Report Findings
While the Relias report indicates that increased follow-up is a weakness of many training programs, there are many positive effects of staff training efforts. Among some of the key findings of the report:
- Organizations that place a priority on training and education tend to see better results in terms of chief organizational goals and priorities.
- 90 percent believe that training is key to the licensing and certification needs of their staffs
- 78 percent of organizations say that training ensures better compliance with external regulations (i.e., CMS requirements)
- 72 percent of organizations say that training helps ensures clinical practice standardization
- 71 percent say that training helps improve clinical competencies
- 67 percent say that training improves service outcomes AND reduces organizational risk
Interestingly, not all the home health leaders surveyed believe that training is vital to employee recruitment and retention efforts. Only 45 percent said that training has helped with recruitment, and 58 percent note that it improves overall retention. Yet this is contradictory to other research, which indicates that employees do value training and education, and it does have a measurable effect on employee retention. According to a Gallup poll, employees who are given opportunities to develop their skills are twice as likely to remain with a company throughout their career than those who don’t. Given that turnover is a significant issue in home health care, it’s worth considering the impact that ongoing training can have on employee satisfaction and engagement with their jobs.
Improving Your Training Efforts
Clearly, training is important, but how do you improve your agency’s training programs? Many agency’s point to shortages of both staff and time when it comes to training, and are thus forced to focus most of their training efforts toward onboarding. While that is certainly important, effective training is not a “one and done” proposition. It must be ongoing, with staff receiving continuous education and development opportunities in order to continue delivering the best possible care.
Implementing technological solutions is one way to improve training.
Consider using a digital onboarding process, for example, for new employees by giving them access to an online portal where they can complete necessary paperwork and review training materials such as your company handbook, processes and procedures. That way, you can spend more time on his or her first day covering the details and providing more in-depth training in home health systems and other tools.
However, online training doesn’t have to stop with new employees. Digital learning systems that allow employees to complete training on their own schedules and from anywhere tend to show higher levels of engagement than other forms of training. However, the companies that have the most success with training also offer regular in-person sessions to cover new technologies, changes to rules and regulations, and other topics, ensuring that the entire staff is up-to-speed and has the same information.
Keep in mind that some of your employees may wish to expand their skill sets outside of work, and will enroll in independent training and certification programs. While you may not have the budget to cover all the costs of such programs, offering some type of support and reward for these efforts can help keep your employees happy and on the path of continuous improvement. Other options to improve training might include mentorship programs, coaching, or group classes focused on specific issues, all of which can help your agency meet its goals and provide better service.
In addition to providing your team with adequate training, you also need to provide tools that allow them to do their jobs more efficiently — like state-of-the-art home health systems and software. To learn more about how Complia Health’s software can help your business run more efficiently and provide the best quality care, contact us today to try our demo.