Mmmm. Breathe deep. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? No, not the pumpkin lattes or sprigs of spruce and pine. It’s more like stale coffee and the gentle clicking of keys on the computer.
Yes! ‘Tis the season for evaluating training programs and checking everything twice to make sure you’re on CMS’ and The Joint Commission’s nice lists.
To get you in the spirit, we’ve put together a three-part blog series, 12 Days of Compliance, to keep your organization on track through the rest of the year and on into 2021.
Part 1: Engage Your Employees
A huge part of keeping your organization compliant is making sure your staff is doing the same: completing their annual mandatories, utilizing the most current practices, following policies and procedures and so on.
But with a shrinking pool of candidates and high turnover rates, competition is fierce to find and retain your employees.
Fostering employee engagement can increase retention and help keep your organization in compliance. Read below to learn four ways to engage your employees and check compliance off your list.
12. It’s Game Time
How do you motivate your staff to complete their training on time—especially when you’re trying to keep up with compliance? It’s not doughnuts. It’s gaming—gaming elements, that is.
The “gaming” in gaming elements can be misleading when used in the workplace, but don’t be fooled. It’s a valuable tool that can improve performance and compliance.
Now, we’re not talking about going full-on Mario or Settlers of Catan. But what we are suggesting is incorporating aspects that motivate behavior responses similar to when you’re playing a game.
Features like leaderboards and points can encourage friendly competition and empower staff to become active participants in their learning.
For example, staff members earn points when completing courses. They earn more if courses are completed early, if they complete more than one course, or if they receive high exam scores.
When you incentivize learning, your staff members complete their training because they want to, not because they have to. Gaming elements increase staff engagement, which results in improved knowledge retention, performance and compliance.
While equally delightful, we’re not talking about the candy. We’re focused on two other M’s: micro-learning and mobile-optimization. Why? Because convenient access to training is more important than ever.
Time is precious and finding a time for everyone to come into the office for a live training is difficult. Your staff still may miss the live training event—for which instructors are specially paid and hired—and will have to find similar trainings off-site to remain compliant. This costs both the employee and employer time and money.
Providing online courses that are available 24/7 allows access anywhere at any time. Videotaping or recording live training events and uploading them to a learning management system prevents you from having to send employees off-site or schedule another training.
While this addresses accessibility, there’s still often another challenge associated with training.
Your staff is required to complete regular training, but how much of what they learn do they remember? Studies show that the answer to that question is concerning—we forget nearly 70 percent of what we learn in the first 24 hours.
Bridge the gap between completing required training and applying concepts to care delivery with mobile-optimized micro-learning: quick refreshers on training for your staff to access at the point of care. Short modules and quizzes will help your staff:
- Retain knowledge from their required trainings.
- Focus on the skills that are most critical to care for their specific patients.
- Access education and support when they need it.
These quick refreshers benefit your employees, those you care for, and your bottom line.
Your front-line staff is constantly on the go—whether from room to room within a facility or even from home to home, caring for individuals with a wide variety of needs. They’re not always right in front of a computer.
Micro-learning and courses with mobile optimization provide them with the support they need to provide the care your clients require and keep your organization compliant.
10. Get Personal
Our society as a whole likes for things to be customized to our personal preferences. It makes each of us feel inherently special— “this item is prepared to suit me.”
Think about it—people customize their clothing, cars, and meal plans. So why don’t we apply this to training? In today’s world, the one-size-fits-all approach is going out of style.
It’s time we personalize training.
Consider your staff for a moment. You might have millennials looking to start their career, RNs with decades of experience, or a seasoned acute clinician that is new to the post-acute care space. Each of them have different educational needs.
Why would you provide them all with the same exact training plan?
The seasoned staff members may just need a refresher on the latest practice, whereas someone with less experience might need in-depth instruction on trach care. Tailor their education to their needs.
Utilize knowledge assessments to identify what areas are proficient and what areas need attention.
From there, create tailored training plans or assign specific courses to remediate any gaps in knowledge. This personalized approach makes the staff member feel valued and allows them to put all their cognitive energy into learning this specified information.
Because they are more engaged with this tailored education, it creates a better chance for successful processing and recall later. This method also helps to establish a baseline competency by which you can measure and track progress over time.
Not only will you be meeting current regulatory requirements, your employees will be grateful that they don’t have to sit through information they already know, and you’ll save time and money in the process.
9. Did You Get the Memo?
Picture it: You’re happily sipping coffee, knocking out some work, when all of a sudden…WHAM! Breaking news hits. A new state regulation has just been passed and goes into effect within the week. Your calm morning has just turned hectic.
Like lightning, you are executing a to-do list:
- Information gathered? Check!
- Plan created? Check!
- Approval gained? Check!
- Management informed? Check!
- Policies updated? Check!
You’ve got it all covered! Except one tiny detail…you have to inform your entire staff of the updated policies and have each person attest to seeing it.
Your feeling of accomplishment fades and panic starts to seep in.
How within a week’s time will you be able to inform ALL of your staff? Not all of them have a corporate email account, or even a personal email.
The best-made plans are laid to waste if there’s not effective communication from the top down within an accessible channel.
With so many changes to the post-acute landscape in the past couple of years, it’s critical that your teams be aware and informed of changes, both to the organization and their roles.
This change management tactic can prevent feelings of anxiety and uncertainty that can negatively fuel the fire of resentment, turnover and burnout.
Be sure your organization has a fool-proof system in place to inform all employees of changes and a way to easily update, distribute and confirm witness to changes in policies and procedures.
Printing out memos and hanging them on every available surface is not a sustainable way to do this.
Online platforms offer a great alternative.
Learning management systems with built-in announcement features can reduce time and costs of printouts and ensure that employees—even ones without corporate email addresses—can receive the information.
Similarly, digital policies and procedures are easier to update and distribute, especially within the same platform used to deliver announcements.
Keep your corporate compliance in check with an accessible mode of communication.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated with new content.