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2020 Training & Development Trends for Frontline Healthcare Associates

As we enter this exciting new decade, what are the “can’t miss” tactics that healthcare Learning and Development (L&D) Directors should not miss out on? One “trend” probably isn’t the takeaway here, the key insight is that training opportunities will occur seamlessly in the flow of work. Compartmentalized trainings, like reading a manual, are being phased out. On-the-job training with immediate application is the way the associate adult learning world is moving. With every associate now connected via devices, technology, and push notifications, employee training has followed suit. L&D initiatives drive more holistic and integrated training opportunities, with targeted micro-learning experiences leading the way.

What are the top training and development trends for frontline healthcare associates in 2020 and into this new decade?

The Definition of a Leader is Changing; Core Soft Skill Training is a Renewed Focus

The ‘Leadership’ definition is broadening in U.S. health systems, and the traditional org chart doesn’t capture what a leader is. Systems are considering individuals to be leaders based on impact, not just on authority. This makes sense for frontline healthcare workers, as these associates are the face of your organization to your patients. A leader for these roles is a top-performer in their specific role. As the definition of leader has changed, core skills are a renewed focus. There is now greater demand for development programs which teach communication skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and customer service, all of which aim to improve long-term employee value and productivity.

Movement from Boss to Coach Changes Learning Interactions

Top-Down management is pivoting toward Partnership-Coaching management. “Because I’m the boss” is becoming a relic. Today, effective managers realize that coaching is the way to motivate and engage their team. Managers want employees who will perform and grow, and this happens when managers are partners who enable. In the book The Heart of Coaching, by Thomas G. Crane, transformational coaching is discussed. This author discusses how manager-coaches should be clear in communication, challenge employees by looking for positive ways to stretch and develop skills, and build collaboration on the team. As managers make this transition to coaching, this will change the employee L&D experience. Manager/coaches will look for ways to tie any corporate training to every day applications, and build 1×1 “teachable moments” to reinforce L&D. Training and development won’t be top-down, just like management won’t be top-down. Training will be an opportunity for associates to interact and receive positive coaching instead of an HR driven mandate.
For more on this topic, see our related article, “Frontline Employees: Coaching For Success.”

Adaptive Learning via Analytics – It’s not just for Clinical Roles any more

Adaptive Learning is a way to enable personalized learning to scale. No student learns at the same rate. Adaptive learning works by assessing learner performance and activity in real time, then using analytics to personalize content to reinforce concepts that target each learner’s strengths and weaknesses. Most often this will result in knowledge retention, increased confidence, decreased frustration, and improved results. Adaptive learning is most used in industries that rely on manual labor and experience high levels of employee turnover such as the healthcare, retail, transportation, and hospitality fields.

In hospitals, adaptive learning technology is used to train staff in essential functions such as the on-boarding process, customer service standards, and role specific training. Adaptive learning can meet employees at their own level, regardless of unique backgrounds or geographically separated locations. Adaptive learning helps employees get up to speed quickly and acquire the skills needed to make immediate impacts in alignment with health system goals. At this time adaptive learning is typically only offered within clinical roles. The New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, creates adaptive learning courses for physicians to maintain certification and receive continuing medical education. But in this new decade, adaptive learning could help transform corporate recruitment and employee development on the front-lines. For example, instead of requiring Certified Nurse Assistants or Health Aides take a 120-hour training, systems could offer micro-accreditation to make training for these hard-to-fill roles more appealing to adult learners.

There is a Need to Train Associates for New Digital Interaction Jobs

With changes in technology, and younger consumers preferring digital interaction, hospitals will be challenged to prepare Frontline workers for jobs which don’t even exist yet – think Administrative or Medical Records roles that involve Social Media outreach and interaction. Digital interaction will also change Medical Assistants and Technician roles that deal with Teledoc customers, or keep health records organized, especially as care moves away from large hospitals to quick-care and community- based health centers. As hospitals become more invested in social media and engaging patients online, entry-level workers will need to be trained on how to provide positive customer experiences in a virtual setting. If your system hasn’t started a social media strategy yet, this will probably soon change, especially as patients begin to shop for healthcare the way they shop for cars or electrician services—by searching the Internet, looking for quality metrics and patient reviews, and comparing prices.

Another digital trend is Chatbots, and it might replace some administrative type roles. But that doesn’t mean Frontline workers in these positions will necessarily be replaced. It means they will have to be trained to meet the new demands of the technology. In the new decade, imagine associates learning to analyze data from patient wearables, associates teaching patients how to use wearables at home, and moderating Telehealth forums to interject and provide patient care when the chatbot is unable to resolve a question or issue. These are just a few examples of how digital interactions will drive future training and development needs for health systems in 2020 and into the decade.

Microlearning

Although microlearning certainly is not new, this trend in associate development will continue and get stronger in the coming decade. Microlearning breaks down new skills and concepts into small individual chunks to be consumed, one topic at a time. These learning modules can be completed while an employee continues in their professional role, allowing associates to incorporate new information into existing work routines almost immediately. Health systems often do not find it feasible, nor affordable, to pull staff cohorts from their day-to-day operations and send them to participate in a training program. Microlearning modules can be assimilated during mere minutes of an associates’ day by using mobile platforms and interactive technology to deliver learning in small bursts. Microlearning is especially well-suited to the information-gathering style of millennials, who are used to rapidly scanning and can have shorter attention spans. And gamification elements in microlearning can show associates how they stack up against peers and allow them to earn badges, which is also appealing to younger learners.

While microlearning is not new, the trend is a realization that traditional LMS microlearning is no longer enough to meet employees’ expectations. A one-size-fits-all, 20-minute course on “Leadership” for any role in the hospital no longer works. Content needs to be based on a specific employees’ role and portray situations and experiences which an employee could see on the next shift. For more information on this topic, see our related article, “Microlearning: What is it, and why should it be used?”

Are you familiar with CLiMB?

CLiMB is an online library of focused microlearnings that provide actionable training for frontline employees, on key concepts such as basic professionalism, communication, using time wisely, and providing exceptional customer service. Practice activities use real-world scenarios from healthcare-specific settings and focus on the entry-level job positions of the targeted learner. CLiMB also provides support tools for teachable coaching moments between managers and direct reports. Feel free to contact us HERE to learn more.

Sources

“Trends in Training and Development,” American Management Association
“Moving from Boss to Coach,” American Management Association, September 13, 2019
“Healthcare providers are teaming with chatbots to assist patients,” Modern Healthcare
“What Should We Expect For The Future of Corporate Training in 2020?” Edge Point Learning, Corey Bleich
“Digital Tools For the Future of Healthcare Providers,” Fingent: Shaping the Future, Tony Joseph, April 26, 2019

Increase Productivity and Retention of Entry-Level Employees

Businesses from many industries including retail, hospitality, and agriculture struggle with turnover and consistent productivity, most notably with frontline lower-paid associates. These industries understand the difficulties of keeping employee productivity at a high and turnover at a low. Actual costs to replace an entry-level worker in healthcare runs into thousands of dollars.

Can anything be done about it? Especially during times of full employment in many metro areas, what can hospitals do to slow down attrition of entry-level employees, while also increasing productivity?

Here are 6 actions to take to help avoid the turnover problems facing many industries today:

Training & Development

Low-wage employees who most need to increase job skills and build upward mobility are also the least likely to be offered formal training programs.

Training can help employees be more engaged, committed, and satisfied with their jobs and achieve bottom-line results for their employers. Providing training that is directly applicable to actual roles helps associates be more effective at work and achieve a better quality of life off the job.

There are numerous ways companies can support a culture of employee training and development: individual coaching, workshops, courses, seminars, shadowing or mentoring, or even just increasing employee responsibilities to show trust. Growing employee job skills will allow associates to improve their efficiency and productivity.

For more, read our related article, “4 Large Organizations That Are Hyper Focused On Entry-Level Employee Training.”

Measure ROI

What gets measured, gets managed. Be sure to track retention metrics and team productivity and track entry-level associates who move upward in your organization. If possible, report these metrics (and hopefully improvements) to senior leadership.

TriHealth, one of the largest healthcare providers in southern Ohio, produced one of the most thorough entry-level workforce ROI studies we have seen to date. This ROI plan measures employee training and development ROI. TriHealth tracked employee longevity, upward career movement trends, and recruitment savings over the course of 5-years. TriHealth saw a savings of almost a quarter million dollars when all metrics were considered. To read more about this study, click here: “Investing in the Future of the Healthcare Workforce: An Analysis of the Business Impact of Select Employee Development Programs at TriHealth.”

Help Employees Build a Personal Development Plan

In partnership with team managers, or possibly an internal mentor, encourage your low paid associates to plan for upward mobility. This includes showing them what opportunities are available in a large organization and how to navigate HR systems. Within this plan, have employees weave in development opportunities offered by the organization, or even outside the organization, with certification courses. This personal plan should improve skills for current roles, as well as help associates acquire new skills for future roles.

Get Higher-Quality Work by Improving Morale

At the end of the day, happy, engaged employees work harder and better. Those who dislike their jobs and feel disenfranchised may go through the motions, but burnout (then probably turnover) is inevitable. When open lines of communication and employee appreciation are baked into the employee experience, the result is higher quality work.

Mercy, headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri takes entry-level employee morale very seriously. This organization even has an internal “Lowest Paid Co-Workers” committee which is led by the CEO. To open lines of communication with employees, Mercy shows each employee how their role contributes to organization success. Mercy also takes associate development, mentoring, and community partnerships very seriously, which also fosters morale.

Teach Managers/Supervisors How to Better Communicate

Most entry-level associates (or most all associates at any organization level) don’t leave organizations, they leave bad managers. Poor communication skills usually go hand-in-hand with bad managers. Teach your managers basic team communication techniques, like focusing on the future instead of rehashing past issues. This demonstrates a manager’s commitment to moving forward and helping find positive solutions. This doesn’t mean ignoring past team member failure is good either, but instead, teach a positive way to discuss it. For example, teach managers to start 1×1 or team performance discussions with what positive things are happening. Modeling positive, open communication sets a precedent for all team members from top down.  In early 2020 I hope we can get some articles going from ATM’s use of CLiMB.  This would be a perfect place to link to an article about improving manager coaching skills.

Workplace morale depends on employees respecting their leadership. If employees do respect their leaders, they will be more enthusiastic about their work. Supervisors need to act the way they expect their employees to act.

Increase Praise and Recognition

If an employee does something that merits praise and recognition, don’t let the opportunity to give praise pass by. Recognition can actually be an even better motivator than money. Be specific in praise given, and be sensitive to the individual. Some enjoy public praise while some prefer a private word. Get managers on board with organization efforts to give recognition.

 

BONUS: CLiMB® supports entry-level healthcare workforce development. The CLiMB online library of focused microlearnings provides actionable training customized to frontline healthcare employee settings. CLiMB focuses on key concepts such as basic professionalism, communication, using time wisely, and providing exceptional customer service. It allows associates to practice activities pulled from real world scenarios.   The CLiMB total support package also includes exercises to strengthen supervisor coaching skills  and a framework for employees to build personal development plans. To learn more about CLiMB, CLICK HERE and Catalyst Learning will follow up with you.

 

SOURCES:

“Improve the Efficiency of Your Employees: 10 Proven Tips for Small Businesses,” Hub Productivity and FreshBooks blog

“Increase Productivity and Retention of Entry-Level Employees,” Business Know How, April 22, 2018, Patricia Schaefer

“Top 10 Ways to Improve Employee Efficiency,” Your People Inc., Alexandra Hicks

“5 steps to creating career development plans that work,” Insperity Training & Performance

Google’s Best Managers Excel at Coaching?!

In 2002, Google took a bold step and got rid of its engineering managers. According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, the idea was to allow its engineers, who didn’t see the value of managers, to focus on the tech and “not communicating with bosses or supervising other workers’ progress.”

The short-lived experiment wasn’t successful. Founder Larry Page was inundated with problems and questions from the company’s engineers that had nothing to do with technology; issues a manager typically addresses.

Page and co-founder Sergey Brin quickly saw the value of managers, but realized they needed their employees to see it as well. As a company founded on data and analytics, it decided to bring in a team of experts to prove it “with the same empirical discipline Google applied to its business operations.”

The team’s initial research found the proof they needed. Statistical evaluations showed that “high-scoring managers” had lower turnover. They also found “a tight connection between managers quality and workers happiness.”

The next step was finding out what made a “good” manager. Based on their data, they uncovered “eight key behaviors demonstrated by the company’s most effective managers.” Number one? Being a good coach.

The full list of behaviors:

He or she…
1. Is a good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage
3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Is productive and results-oriented
5. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
6. Helps with career development
7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team

The problem, according to a related HBR article, is that managers often lack the time and skills to be more effective coaches. “Yet 70% of employee learning and development happens on the job, not through formal training programs,” the author notes. “So if line managers aren’t supportive and actively involved, employee growth is stunted. So is engagement and retention.”

How to drive the change

Not all companies have the resources available to Google to study effective management, but they can apply the results. Healthcare organizations in which managers are trained on (and expected to use) these behaviors and skills can gain a competitive edge when it comes to hiring and retaining workers. It’s particularly important when it comes to frontline employees, where turnover is high and engagement can be low.

In an article on “The Balance Careers,” executive coach Dan McCarthy notes that “Coaching is the skill and art of helping someone improve their performance and reach their full potential.” He emphasizes that it takes practice, but “it’s an investment in people that has a higher return than just about any other management skill.”

When managers become more competent coaches, McCarthy explains that everyone reaps the benefits. “People learn, they develop, performance improves, people are more satisfied and engaged, and organizations are more successful.”

At Google, the information drawn from its multi-year research was used to help identify ways in which managers could improve. A manager who didn’t score well on coaching “might get a recommendation to take a class on how to deliver personalized, balanced feedback.”

Offering courses that help managers build the coaching skills they need is a sound investment in your employees and organization. Even short sessions can help managers significantly improve their skills. The experts on the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council (FCC) also recommend formal training, but they encourage managers to develop their own coaching skills.

Forbes Coaching Council (FCC)

Based on their experience helping companies such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson and Mattel integrate coaching into their management framework, the FCC experts share their collective coaching wisdom with Forbes’ readers. Their suggestions include:

1. Know your employees and help them succeed
Several of the experts emphasized the importance of this. “Show interest in an employee’s life and how it affects their performance,” suggests one. Another says ensuring the success of every employee should be a top priority for every effective manager.

2. Practice active listening
“As a manager, you can practice this skill by simply being quiet and letting your associate talk without agenda or interruption,” advises one expert. “Resist filling an awkward silence — that’s where the gold is.”
The key is to stay focused on the person, and not the ever-present distractions of calls, texts, or emails. One coach recommends heading outside for one-on-one discussions.

3. Don’t tell, ask
Allowing employees to have input and make suggestions helps them develop critical thinking skills and builds confidence. A question such as “Why is that the best solution” is a better approach than telling employees what to do. It “allows the employees to take ownership of their ideas and think through the outcomes.”

Another expert recommends asking some questions regularly. “What’s going on with you right now? What’s going well? What’s not going well?” He solicits their input on what happens next and asks one last question.”Finally, what can I do to set you up for success?”

Research shows, and the experts agree, that successfully managing frontline employees isn’t based on telling them what to do. It’s about providing guidance and support, and removing the barriers that prevent them from doing their jobs well. Managers that excel in coaching employees instead of micromanaging them tend to have better performers, and that makes the organization stronger overall.

Sources:

“How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management.” Harvard Business Review. David A. Garvin
https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-google-sold-its-engineers-on-management

“You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You’re Not a Good Coach” Harvard Business Review. Monique Valcour

https://hbr.org/2014/07/you-cant-be-a-great-manager-if-youre-not-a-good-coach

“10 Ways To Lead Like A Coach.” Forbes. April 6, 2018. Forbes Coaches Council.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/04/06/10-ways-to-lead-like-a-coach/#67eba85d30fa

“How Managers Can Become Effective Coaches of Employees.” The Balance Careers. December 14, 2018. Dan McCarthy.

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-managers-can-become-awesome-coaches-2275926

Becoming an Advocate for your Frontline Workers

Becoming an Advocate for Your Frontline Workers

Since the 1990s, healthcare jobs have been steadily ticking up, while former powerhouse employers such as the manufacturing industry were trending down. An article in The Atlantic, “Health Care Just Became the U.S.’s Largest Employer,” highlighted this growth, noting that healthcare outpaced both manufacturing and retail industries in 2017.

It’s a position that the healthcare sector is projected to hold for the next decade. This anticipated growth is driven in part by an aging population that will require more health-related services, a topic that healthcare has been discussing for decades. Now, with data supporting this growth in healthcare industry jobs coming from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) and other entities, the impact of an aging population driving the need for more healthcare workers is part of the general conversation, garnering coverage in main-stream media.

According to the BLS, healthcare jobs will grow more than any other industry from 2016 through 2026. The Atlantic article points to similar data from FRED, and further notes that the growth has been driven by non-clinical roles. And that’s not expected to change in the coming years. While you may have strategies in place to hire and retain nurses, doctors and other clinical professionals, do you have one in place for your frontline workers?

If not, you may find your organization isn’t able to be competitive in a jobs marketplace that’s wide open for hourly workers. In addition to competing with other healthcare organizations to fill positions, you’ll be competing with other industries such as retail or food service. Many businesses already have strategies in place to find and keep workers, offering higher wages, career paths, education assistance, and other benefits.

 

Finding and Keeping the “Right” Candidates

Across numerous service-related industries, the challenge is twofold: Getting employees to stay, and finding them in the first place. An article from the Society for Human Resource Management cites a PeopleMatter survey showing that finding enough high-quality job candidates is the #1 problem, but that the #2 industry workforce problem is turnover.

The article goes on to explain that when new people come onboard, the process “should do more than take care of paperwork; it should help new employees experience your unique culture, see how their work matters, know what’s expected of them, and help them picture a long-term career path with you.”

In fact, that approach is important well beyond the first few days or weeks of employment. Employees should consistently know that what they’re doing now is important and that if they aspire to grow within their organizations they are able to do so.

A long-term solution won’t be found in placing more recruitment ads or a new marketing campaign. It comes from a systemic approach that evaluates the entire frontline employee experience and creates a workforce development strategy that addresses the issues leading to high turnover and overall job dissatisfaction.

 

An Investment in Frontline Employees Is an Investment in Your Organization

Missouri-based Mercy, University Health System (Texas), U.C. Davis Health (California), and Yale New Haven Hospital (Connecticut) serve different types of communities and populations, but they have two things in common. They have all received national recognition for the healthcare services they provide and for making significant investments in the skills and careers of frontline workers, with each one recognized as 2017 CareerSTAT Frontline Health Care Worker Champions or Emerging Champions.

These organizations are clearly and strategically focused on their frontline employees and the reason is simple: Healthcare organizations that effectively become advocates for frontline workers are experiencing better outcomes for their employees. And this has a positive effect on organization and the patients they serve.

So what does an employee success story look like for a frontline employee? Elaine Thomas began her career in healthcare at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) in 1996 as a certified nurse assistant. After working in EAMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility for 10 years, and with encouragement from her manager, Elaine entered the SAW® program in 2006.

Soon after graduation, she accepted a promotion as an education department secretary. Elaine sustained her career ambition and desire to develop professionally. She became a basic life support instructor and took developmental leadership training classes offered by EAMC. In 2018, Elaine was again promoted, this time to education coordinator. Elaine regularly attends recruitment events and is a champion of EAMC’s development opportunities with the frontline staff.

Elaine’s success is based on three pillars: her desire to advance, the support of her manager, and the employee programs and training offered by her organization. Together, they made a solid foundation for her success, but take one away and her goal of career advancement might not have become a reality.

The not-so-hidden truth about effective frontline employee strategies is that they benefit both the employer and the employee, today and in the future. For organizations struggling to find “quality” hourly workers, the answer may not be in expanding recruitment efforts. Instead, hiring for organizational fit and providing basic skills training to help employees succeed in their current jobs can help a healthcare system fill those positions. Additional career training and support, along with other frontline worker strategies, allows employees the opportunity for career growth in the organization.

The end result is that frontline employees aren’t moving on, they’re moving up.

 

Sources:

“Health Care Just Became the U.S.’s Largest Employer.” January 9, 2018. Derek Thompson. The Atlantichttps://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/health-care-america-jobs/550079/

“Employment by major industry sector.” Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/employment-by-major-industry-sector.htm

“Employers Struggle to Hire Hourly Workers as Turnover Rises.” July 31, 2015. Roy Maurer. Society for Human Resource Management

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/hire-hourly-workers-turnover-rises.aspx

“6 Scary Numbers for Your Organization’s C-Suite.” October 30, 2018. Ryan Pendell. Gallup

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/244100/scary-numbers-organization-suite.aspx

National Fund For Workforce Solutions, https://nationalfund.org/

Want To Keep Frontline Employees? Think Like Trader Joe’s!

No matter what products they sell, many businesses in the retail industry know that success depends heavily on the frontline workers they hire to staff their stores. Typically the lowest paid employees in an organization, they play an inversely important role in driving sales and customer satisfaction.

The problem is the high turnover rate for entry level jobs, which can range from 30 to 60%. Not only does this impact the company’s bottom line, it can be demoralizing for other employees to view their company as a revolving door through which employees rapidly enter and leave.

This is an issue that extends well beyond the retail industry. In fact, if you gathered all of your frontline workers in one room, research outlined in a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article suggests that nearly half are planning to leave their jobs in a year, and less than one quarter are highly satisfied with their jobs.

To help understand what factors affect high turnover rates and how companies can address this costly issue, consulting firm FSG and Hart Research Associates surveyed 1,200 entry level workers in numerous industries, including retail and healthcare, and spoke with a dozen companies that have improved retention rates of frontline workers.

The HBR article outlined key areas that increased frontline worker dissatisfaction:

1. Unfair treatment by managers or supervisors

2. No clear career path within the company and no support for continuing education

3. No benefits, such as health insurance or paid time off

4. Not making enough money combined with a

5. Lack of schedule flexibility, and few or no opportunities to work more hours

In addition, FSG and Hart Research Associates found disparities for the frontline worker based on race and gender. Women and minorities were more likely to have negative experiences with their managers and saw fewer opportunities for career growth.

So how do organizations address the situation? By thinking like retailers like Trader Joe’s and the Gap, companies employing strategies designed to not only boost retention but also increase employee engagement and create a talent pipeline.

“It’s simple, really. We believe that doing the right thing, as it relates to all Trader Joe’s stakeholders—Crew, Customers, Vendors—is the right thing to do. And it starts with our Crew.”

Trader Joe’s combines several strategies to retain employees, including higher hourly wages and a hire from within policy in stores, but it perhaps is most effective in communicating that information directly to potential employees in the Career section of its website.

The main page outlines key benefits, including health insurance and the monthly cost. It also emphasizes the opportunity for growth by highlighting the fact that nearly 80% of supervisors are promoted from within and 100% of its store managers are promoted from supervisory roles. On the page to search for opportunities by state, the hourly pay range for each store employee opening is listed for each location.

From their first introduction to the company, job applicants can easily see what the company has to offer them and the potential for moving up in the company. The outcome? A turnover rate that’s below 15%.

At Mercy, the country’s fifth-largest Catholic healthcare system, frontline healthcare employee development is at the core of business strategy. To reach its goals, Mercy operates a Lowest Paid Worker Committee to bring together senior leaders to develop and implement strategies to improve wages and opportunity for frontline workers. Lynn Britton, Mercy’s President and CEO, leads the Lowest Paid Worker Committee.

“We invest in the development of frontline workers to help them realize their talents and to support their professional and financial advancement.” – Lynn Britton

Mercy tracks and reports participation in their employee advancement programs yearly, monitoring scholarship programs, tuition advance programs, Catalyst Learning Company’s School at Work® (SAW) program graduations, and transportation programs. Mercy measures business impact, citing that 32.5% of School at Work® graduates have advanced into new roles and 9% have enrolled in higher education.

The Gap is another leader in entry-level worker retention. Gap Inc. has focused its efforts on programs such as Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) to help women in the global apparel industry. P.A.C.E. helps women develop life skills through technical training and support. In addition, the company’s “This Way Ahead” initiative provides on-the-job training and life skills development for young people in low-income areas, which benefits the communities in general and helps the company maintain a talent pipeline.

In January of 2019, for the second year in a row, Gap Inc. was included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and recognized as a company with a commitment “to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality.”

Healthcare organizations with similar strategies can achieve the same success in employee engagement and retention. In an article highlighting the top-rated hospital workplaces, job site Indeed.com included employee quotes explaining why their hospital was included on the list. The article noted that “room for professional growth, supportive management and positive attitudes among coworkers” were some of the common themes found in employee feedback. Number one ranked Massachusetts General Hospital was mentioned for all three.

In addition to increasing the hourly rates your organization offers, you can translate successful retail strategies for frontline employees into your organization in four ways:

1. Train supervisors with the soft skills needed to manage frontline employees

2. Offer learning opportunities to help frontline employees develop the skills they need to succeed in their current position

3. Provide career pathways to those entry-level employees who aspire to excel

4. Recognize employees for their good work throughout the year and not just during an annual performance review.

The bottom line is that frontline employees not only want to be paid well for the work they do, they want to be treated fairly and know that there are possibilities for their personal and professional growth. And it doesn’t matter what industry they’re working in.

Following the lead of retail companies can help your healthcare organization hire and retain employees that are engaged with your company, and understand the importance of the work they do regardless of position or pay. In the healthcare setting, every employee plays an important part in patient satisfaction, whether it’s the doctor providing the direct care or the person serving meals in the cafeteria.

Tech Trends With Implications For Healthcare Talent Development In 2019

By Ted Smith, Deputy Director, Envirome Institute, School of Medicine, University of Louisville

 

Technology enhances and affects nearly every part of our lives, and adult corporate learning is no exception. Some learning and development (L&D) technology may already be implemented in your health system, as it can assist with clinical and non-clinical learning alike. While both care delivery and labor are moving away from a centralized hospital setting to a geographically separated health system, the need for digital tools to drive learning and development for adult workers is ever increasing. Organizations are seeking training that is inexpensive, industry relevant, and can be delivered with minimal interruption to productivity. What are differences between types of training/L&D? In other words, what are technology trends with implications for healthcare development in 2019?

Adaptive Learning
Adaptive Learning is a way to enable personalized learning to scale. No student learns at the same rate. Adaptive learning works by assessing learner performance and activity in real time, then using analytics to personalize content to reinforce concepts that target each learner’s strengths and weaknesses. Most often this will result in knowledge retention, increased confidence, decreased frustration, and improved results. Adaptive learning is most used in industries that rely on manual labor and experience high levels of employee turnover such as the healthcare, retail, transportation, and hospitality fields.

In hospitals, adaptive learning technology is used to train staff in essential functions such as the on-boarding process, customer service standards, and role specific training. Adaptive learning can meet employees at their own level, regardless of unique backgrounds or geographically separated locations. Adaptive learning helps employees get up to speed quickly and acquire the skill needed to make immediate impacts in alignment with health system goals. At this time adaptive learning is typically only offered within clinical roles at acute care hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, creates adaptive learning courses for physicians to maintain certification and receive continuing medical education. Adaptive learning in hospitals could someday help transform corporate recruitment and employee development on the front-lines. Instead of requiring Certified Nurse Assistants or Health Aides take a 120-hour training for instance, systems could offer micro-accreditation to make training for these hard-to-fill roles more appealing to adult learners.

Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are moderately different, but we are lumping the two together here for simplicity. To clarify, ‘Virtual Reality’ refers to an entirely digital environment, while ‘Augmented Reality’ is a mix of virtual objects superimposed onto the real world.

The uses for augmented reality (AR) training would be to explain, enhance, or tell a story based around existing data or information. By overlaying information on top of pre-existing data, HR can create a training experience that elevates the way that people learn. AR is becoming an alternative technology for training programs, allowing users to learn and practice skills in realistic settings.

Healthcare workers have been quick to realize the benefits of AR technologies, mostly for clinical practitioners. Clinical employees must learn a sizable amount of information about anatomy and the way the human body functions. AR applications give learners the ability to visualize and interact with three-dimensional representations of bodies. Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are two pioneer systems using 3D representations of human bodies for clinical learning. A top vendor in this field is VR PatientsTM, a company that builds training for EMS and nursing staff with advanced patient simulations.

Gamification
Gamification learning technology refers to integration of gaming elements in digital learning to craft an engaging learning experience. Gamification is built to encourage learners to apply learning on the job by challenging them with real-life situations in a controlled environment. Gamification usually involves story lines, challenges, rewards, and analytics.

Gamification really is most effective when organization-wide community learning is needed. Gamification tends to spark increased engagement through positive peer pressure and social interaction. In hospital learning for entry-level staff, gamification learning technology includes challenges, instant feedback, points/objective ranking feature, badges, in addition to competition and collaboration.

One example of gamification at a major hospital is the University of California San Francisco Bennioff Children’s Hospital. UCSF Bennioff used gamification to boost job satisfaction and performance. The goals the organization had were an increase staff communication, enable peer recognition, encourage teamwork, and improve patient outcomes. Every hospital staff member received an account in order to be able to recognize the accomplishments of their colleagues. A system kept track of the recognition everyone received for various time periods (e.g. weekly, six months, and so on). Hospital leadership rewarded the staff members who obtained the most recognition for the week. There was also a chatting tool for reaching out to managers and other staff members to encourage communication. Over time, nursing teams developed a friendly competition contest, which rewarded the group with the highest patient satisfaction each week. Patient satisfaction increased from 86% to 97% over the course of only two contests.

Microlearning
Microlearning breaks down new skills and concepts into small individual chunks to be consumed one topic at a time. These learning modules can be completed while an employee continues in their professional role, allowing associates to incorporate new information into existing work routines almost immediately.

Health systems often do not find it feasible nor affordable to pull staff cohorts from their day-to-day operations and send them to participate in a training program. Microlearning modules can be assimilated during mere minutes of an associates’ day by using mobile platforms and interactive technology to deliver learning in small bursts. Microlearning is especially well-suited to the information-gathering style of millennials that are used to rapidly scanning and can have shorter attention spans.

 

BONUS!
Besides tech trends with implications for talent development, what are other tech trends which health system HR teams may see in 2019?

More Rapid Hiring – Organizations are using innovative digital screening tools to cut down hiring time. With Millennials expected to be 60% of the workforce by 2020 and Boomers retiring, organizations need faster hiring processes. Resumes and phone screenings are being pushed aside by end-to-end digital processes. Scores from gamified assessments and personality test fits are a next wave of hiring techniques.

Voice Assistants/Artificial Intelligence – Some may think that because healthcare is so labor intense, that AI won’t affect the labor force, however chatbots may replace some administrative roles. Cooks and information clerks could be replaced by automation. Secretaries can be replaced by artificial intelligence. Voice assistants may some day even perform HR tasks like finding employment candidates.

“What Augmented Reality Training Is And How To Leverage It In Your L&D Process,” eLearning Industry, John-Carlos Lozano, October 9, 2018
“How Hospitals Are Integrating Augmented Reality and Other Tech to Improve the Patient Experience,” MedCity News, Rick Halton, August 2, 2018
www. Virtualeducationsystems.com, VRPatients
“Adaptive Learning: The Future of Corporate Learning,” Precision Frontiers, Ulrik Juul Christensen MD, February 20, 2017
“5 Killer Examples On How Gamification In the Workplace Is Reshaping Corporate Training,” eLearning Industry, Asha Pandey
“UCSF Hospital Uses Gamification to Increase Job Satisfaction and Performance,” Gamification: The Leading Source For Gamification News & Interest, Heong Weng Mak
“Challenges with Adult Learning… Using Microlearning to Effectively Educate.” KTA University, Tiffany Kelly, February 16, 2018
“What Everyone Should Know About Cognitive Computing,” Forbes, Bernard Marr, March 23, 2016

5 Trends That Will Affect Your Entry-Level, Non-Clinical Healthcare Workforce in 2019

1) New Digital Interaction Jobs
With changes in technology, and younger consumers preferring digital interaction, hospitals will be challenged to prepare Frontline workers with jobs that don’t even exist yet – think Administrative or Medical Records roles that involve Social Media outreach and interaction. Digital interaction will also change Medical Assistants and Technician roles that deal with Teledoc customers or keeping health records organized, especially as care moves away from few large hospitals to quick-care and community- based health centers.

As hospitals become more invested in social media and engaging patients online, entry-level workers will need to be trained on how to provide positive customer experiences in a virtual setting. If your system hasn’t started a social media strategy yet, this will probably soon change, especially as patients begin to shop for healthcare the way they shop for cars or electrician services—by searching the Internet, looking for quality metrics and patient reviews, and comparing prices.

Another digital trend is Chatbots, and it might replace some administrative type roles. But that doesn’t mean Frontline workers in these positions will necessarily be replaced. Rather, their role will change to meet the new demands of other types of technology – analyzing data from wearables, teaching patients how to use wearables at home, and moderating Telehealth forums to interject and provide patient care when the chatbot is unable to resolve a question or issue.

2) Retail Mindset in Healthcare, and Workforce
A direct impact of patient centered care and “retail” inspiration may require additional interpersonal skill training. These are the soft skills of personal interactions, and ultimately drive health system brand loyalty. Quick care health locations in retail centers are popping up, including shopping malls and Walgreens, and existing hospitals are taking inspiration from the retail environment to improve the customer experience – for example, Frontline staff walking the floor and using iPads for check-in instead of the traditional desk.

A retail mindset will create shifting expectations of how Frontline staff interact with patients; to do this hospitals will use retail best practices to train employees. While broadening the skill set of eligible employees can be a good thing for hospitals, it’s also likely to increase turnover – an unfortunate result of this soft skill “retail” training is more employees could move back and forth between the health and retail industries as skills become more transferable.

We’ve also seen retailers invest in certification programs for their staff. This isn’t surprising as healthcare continues to mimic retail, we would expect to see more streamlined and third-party training and certification programs become prevalent in health systems. In 2019 there could arise an “authority” certification to emerge as the gold standard of certifications. Penn Foster and the National Retail Foundation are working with a $3 Million dollar grant from the Walmart Foundation on creating a retail credentialing program now. Expect a health equivalent to follow this trend.

Retail in health may be more than just a mindset of employees and hospital strategy. Retail concepts may change actual brick-and-mortar building designs. For instance, the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center collaborated with Cannon Design to build a five-story ambulatory care facility inspired by Apple stores and other modern retail outlet designs. The lobby design doesn’t allocate space for a formal check-in or check-out area. Instead, patients are greeted by a staff member with a mobile device for checking them in, helping them to fill out health forms, finding their exam room and scheduling future visits.

3) Virtual Training for Employees
Virtual employee training will affect nearly every job category. As healthcare moves to smaller locations with quick care being a core theme, virtual training and self-taught modules will continue to be a key Upskilling format. Aside from merely showing employees best practices and social skills, digital/virtual training programs will be challenged to come up with authentic ways to evaluate these skills – perhaps through virtual group meetings, virtual role play, or VR interactions.

4) Automation Could Threaten Some Entry-Level Jobs in Healthcare
While frontline roles often require direct patient interaction, some are still subject to being replaced by automation, including cooks and information clerks. Twenty percent of companies have already deployed chatbots in the workplace and 57% are anticipated to do so by 2021. This technology could disrupt traditional hospital customer service jobs. Companies are using chatbots as personal assistants, for on-demand customer support, to mine data, streamline business processes, recover product information and to answer employee questions.

Interrupting entry-level employment situations at hospitals could interfere with traditional career pipelines to manager roles, so have development and succession plans ready, even at this level, in preparation for a more automated work environment.

5) Upskilling and Alternative Job Perks – (They Could be One and the Same)
Higher pay will always have appeal, but some hospitals are getting creative with alternative perks as a way to reduce turnover. For example, employee assistance with loans, free meals, time off, and affordable onsite childcare options can resonate.

As an example of alternative perks, Advocate Healthcare (IL) offers its Advancing Careers Through Education program which provides 100-percent tuition reimbursement for programs in high-demand specialties, such as nursing, respiratory care or health information technology. Another example hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago provides concierge services for daily errands. Plus employees with children on the college hunt can use Lurie Children’s college coaching program, in which a counselor helps families with the school selection, application and financial processes. And Lurie Children’s even offers up to $5,000 for adoption assistance and tuition reimbursement.

Upskilling will be increasingly important as technology/automation replace some jobs at hospitals. To prepare for this, healthcare facilities can take inspiration from AT&T, who reached out to employees in roles that were soon to be obsolete, and advised them to start taking action to learn new skills before roles were eventually eliminated. AT&T offered 100,000 employees in such positions corporate assistance and training to re-direct their employment to more relevant and long term roles.

Healthcare Employment Data 2016-2026, U.S. Bureau of Labor
“Seven Learning and Development Trends to Adopt in 2019,” Forbes September 24, 2018, Cameron Bischop/Forbes Human Resources Council
“University of Minnesota Health Opens Health Clinics and Surgery Centers,” CannonDesign.com
“5 Best Hospitals to Work for in 2018,” Indeed.com and Beckers Hospital Review publication, August 31 2018, Alyssa Rege
“These are the Fastest Growing Healthcare Careers,” May 22 2018, Hospital Recruiting Magazine, Crystal Jones RN
“Employment Training for the Healthcare Industry,” Training Today
“Top 8 Healthcare Predictions for 2018,” Forbes November 13 2018, Reenita Das