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Hot Off the Presses! The Relias 2017 State of Staff Development and Training – A National Perspective for Healthcare Report

 This is the first of a four-part blog series on the 2017 State of Staff Development & Training study. The blog posts will be published consecutively on the first four Wednesdays of October.

For those of you who don’t know, Relias undertakes a national survey every two years to provide you with visibility into how our clients – your peers – position their education strategy, spend, and opportunities, as well as common training delivery and management practices.  We get asked all the time, “How are others doing this?” so we decided to go straight to the horses’ mouth, so to speak!

We discovered a few years ago that existing surveys didn’t really speak to our base or were lumped in with other industries that might skew the findings, so we decided to develop our own!  Our first survey was done in 2015, so this report is our second.  Our response rate doubled in this year’s report – from more than 3000 to nearly 6000 responses – exciting!  And a variety of healthcare viewpoints were gathered – acute care, long term care, health and human services, IDD, ABA – and we can’t forget our friends in public safety. 

The surveys and data collection were made possible by a third party, the Center for Outcome Analysis, and we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work in this. Big shout out to them!

We Relians have been poring through the data to develop this report for you.  You can download the report if you’d like or watch the webinar where we went through many of the data elements contained in the report.

This blog is the first in a series of 4 that I’ll provide over the next few weeks.  In each post, we’ll cover an area of interest in the survey.  So be watching for more info!

Let’s talk about who was selected for their opinion. You can see in the chart below that a range of opinions mattered.  Care givers, department managers, training leads, human resources and the C-suite all provided answers.


First, let’s concentrate on the perceptions of training’s impact on business processes.  Compliance with External Requirements ranked first in the survey.   And if we think about the change we are all dealing with on a daily basis, external requirements are a big driver.

But if we go down through this list, you see nearly all of them are performance-related impacts, which is a very good thing.  Clinical competencies rank second.  And standardizing clinical practice has gone up 5 points, so that seems to show that doing things in the same fashion to yield uniform results is increasingly on the radar.

Staff recruitment is also on the rise, coming up 3% from the 2015 study.  This is significant, and I am very happy to see this increasing.

In my turnover workshops I do around the country, I use a statistic that 59% of potential employees make their decision to come to work for you based on whether or not you are going to provide a good, robust development plan for them.

We are in a very tight hiring market now, as you all know.  Anything you can do to “sweeten” the deal is important.  Make sure your recruiters, whether internal or external, are aligned with you and are selling that in order to get the best people in your door.  You want to be an employer of choice.  If any of you are still fighting a “compliance only” mindset, please help them see that this type of thinking can alienate potential hires.

We have 3 data elements that help us answer our next question concerning training importance.

The first is that 56% of organizations, overall, ranked training as a top priority, which is up 3% from 2015.  Is that any wonder considering how healthcare is changing and how we have to keep people up to speed, engaged and performing?

The next statistic was surprising to me.  It’s the one in the middle with the chart.  It shows that smaller organizations prioritize training the most!  You might think larger organizations with more resources would prioritize more, but honestly, I think this goes to the heart of survival of smaller organizations.   Their competitiveness hinges on how well they can perform to stay alive, so this was encouraging.

The next finding at the very bottom shows only 3.5% ranked training at the bottom of their priorities.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a colleague:

“People are the fuel to meet the pace of change.”

Dr. Marla Gottschalk, Industrial and IO Psychologies,
Author of Building Happier, Healthier Organizations

That has never been more true.

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