Does Training REALLY Matter? And Who is Seeing to THAT?

The Relias 2017 State of Staff Development and Training – A National Perspective for Healthcare Report


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

Hi all! As stated above, this is the last blog post in a series of four where we break down our biennial State of Staff Development and Training Report. This blog will focus on who is actually evaluating their training and how they are doing it.

If you want the full report, you can click here. If you’d like to watch the webinar, click here.

Is training really making a difference?

In our last post, I mentioned putting methods into place so that your field outcomes match your organization’s goals. One of those key methods relates to our first question – how many of us are bothering to evaluate whether our training is working or not? (And I don’t mean those smiley sheets after a session, either – don’t get me started!)

So we are spending money, we are training, there is lots of activity, a changing landscape – all of that. But how do we KNOW it’s making a difference?

Survey says….

In this question, we see that there is a small dip from “some methods” over time from 62 to 59. BUT “well developed” methods are up 2 percent. Yahooey!  That means we are finally starting to actually see if what we are doing is making a difference. Hallelujah, that’s what I’m in this for!

You know, education evaluation isn’t easy and it isn’t a skill most of us know how to do. Training transfer – meaning are people doing what you taught them ON THE FLOOR – involves actually gathering data between the learner, the facilitator and the manager.  That also means – wait for it – actually talking to one another – imagine that. ?

And most organizations simply don’t do it. Either they don’t know how or they feel it is too expensive. One we can fix – the “we don’t know how” – and the other one is a harder sell. It costs some labor and is time intensive (I can’t in good conscience tell you it’s not), but your professional reputation may depend on it.

And honestly, our corporate livelihoods are depending on it as well, so we all need to get better at this.

Here are a few things I can offer:

  1. Relias has developed their PATHS™ program that lays out curricula to solve a particular business problem. We have over 10 paths that impact a variety of problems – some clinical, some HR related – like building better managers who can provide good and developmental feedback that keep workers engaged.
  2. We provide consulting services if you need them. Say you have a very high profile training initiative and you want to make sure you are utilizing best practices to design your evaluation strategy. Call us. We can help.
  3. Consider hiring educators with a formal background in education evaluation. See if they have done projects in this regard. Often times we think we can’t afford them, or want to use someone who “falls” into training, but really think about the skillset you want in these positions.
  4. Lastly, investigate any local education colleges you might have close by. You can either send your people to evaluation classes there, or work with them to build an education evaluation project for their master’s or Ph.D. students. Lots of times they will do these things for free!


Is staff development a part of performance evaluations?

Our last question for this blog can be part of a good evaluation strategy as well. This question asks if staff development is a part of existing performance evaluations.

This one surprised me as well. I would not have thought including staff development in performance evaluations was this strong, so I am happy for that.

But let’s look at this from a couple of different lenses.

Most organizations are providing training as a professional development tool, which is great. As we mentioned in a previous blog, new hires want that when they choose to come into your organizations, so it behooves us to offer that.

But let’s look at this another way – one which most organizations don’t do – and that’s to include what they actually accomplished in their training assigned throughout the time period that is being evaluated.

So for example, “How well did you do X that you were trained on in the past evaluation cycle,” or, “What changes did that make in your provision of care,” those type of questions. This adds a layer of accountability and can be done at any level in the organization. One of the strongest ways to bring accountability into training is to teach our line managers how to provide this type of feedback. Use the LMS records and tie those to outcomes to make this more concrete.

And if you do this well, it can be another data element in your evaluation plan.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post – in fact, the whole series! We’ll do this again in another 2 years. That will be our third report, and I can’t wait to see the changes over time. As always, if you need us, call us. We’re not successful unless you are! ’til next time.


Did you miss any of the blog posts in this 4 part series?

Part 1: Overview of the Relias 2017 State of Staff Development and Training – A National Perspective for Healthcare Report

Part 2: Who “Owns” Training? And What Are We Spending?

Part 3: How Are We Training in 2017 and What Are We Still Struggling With?

Jan Wilson

Director of Learning Design and Outcomes, Relias

Director of Learning Designs and Outcomes at Relias, Jan brings over 25 years of technology, human resources and learning expertise to the Relias team. Her experience in senior care spans more than a decade, including serving as a senior executive of learning strategy with one of the country's largest providers. As an organizational development consultant, she has provided strategic planning, process alignment, curriculum development and planning, and learning solutions to a variety of clients in pharma, healthcare and state governments.

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