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Success Story

CSIG Depends on the Relias Platform Through Change and Growth

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Before 2020, Common Sail Investment Group (CSIG) conducted all its senior living staff training and education in person in different locations. Then COVID-19 restrictions arrived, and the Learning and Development (L&D) team had to pivot sharply to schedule virtual sessions. Team members could easily access virtual classes, take supplemental courses assigned, and receive certifications of completion.

CSIG, a privately owned and operated holding company, has subsidiaries providing senior health care and nursing services — including independent living, enhanced living, assisted living, and memory care. Common Sail companies also provide home health care and hospice services.

Before COVID-19, the clinical department ran all med-based training in person. When pandemic restrictions hit, “It changed our entire learning team,” said Holly Shirk, Senior Learning Specialist for CSIG Learning and Development. Then, an eight-hour in-person class became a two-hour virtual session. “We were able to cover the same content virtually in less time,”
she said. The company also found a vehicle to share a consistent message with employees through enhancing onboarding and orientation training.

“If a course says it will meet requirements in a state, it does…our staff knows and trusts Relias content.”
— Holly Shirk,
Senior Learning Specialist for CSIG Learning and Development


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Making the transition to virtual learning

Not only did the Relias Platform allow CSIG to manage compliance training and continuing education in a new virtual environment, but it also was cost-effective and time-saving. Previously, the L&D team would schedule five to eight sessions of one course per week in different locations, accommodating a limited number of people for each session.

Now, CSIG can offer one virtual class per week for each course reaching everyone across eight states, no matter where they are.

The virtual education platform supported CSIG’s rapid growth over the last 18 months. In a short period, the L&D team went from working with employees in one state to covering education and compliance for staff across 100 communities in eight states, and the company is still growing.

With COVID restrictions less of a barrier to learning, the L&D team could begin implementing a more blended approach to learning. Shirk finds it helpful to offer and track live training sessions through the Relias Platform. “It makes it easy to know who will attend and who completes each session,” she said.

The approach appears to be working well, as CSIG has received an impressive 71 industry awards. Starting with hiring and onboarding, CSIG uses Relias’ education throughout an employee’s tenure. After onboarding, employees are assigned personalized training paths specific to the requirements of their facility and state. After that, employees engage in ongoing training, take compliance courses, and complete CEU requirements that support career growth and maintain licensing. “Our goal is to train everyone to the highest standard,” Shirk said.

Completions and outstanding requirements are tracked and stored in the Relias Platform, so employees and the organization can easily access the information.

Shirk said she depends on Relias to do all the tracking and provide about 80% of the educational content required. CSIG also uses the Relias Platform to offer videos from live events for people who cannot attend in person.

The strong client support team at Relias is important, Shirk said, as the L&D team tailors learning to role-based needs and tracks compliance for staff at geographically dispersed locations.

Counting on client support

Shirk has been using Relias for nearly ten years now and feels very confident about her skills. But when there’s a glitch, or she has questions, she doesn’t hesitate to contact Relias’ client support. According to Shirk, the Relias client support team always knows how to help solve problems to get things back on track.

This relationship played a role during a CSIG acquisition. One of the new CSIG companies used a different provider for training and education, and Shirk said she convinced leaders that Relias was the better system. In particular, Shirk said the client support from Relias sealed the deal.

Another selling feature that convinced the new company to switch to Relias was its comprehensive content and compliance support. “The other provider charges its clients for updated content,” Shirk stated. Additionally, as the company grows across multiple steps, leaning on Relias’ compliance content will greatly benefit. “An invaluable feature of the Relias Platform is that courses are updated without special requests or extra charges,” she said.

Customizing programs based on unique requirements

A CSIG home health and hospice organization, CorsoCare, started using the Relias Platform in January 2022 and quickly became the largest user within CSIG. According to Shirk, CorsoCare has a unique and extensive orientation program for new employees because of its licensing regulations. The Relias Platform has simplified how the learning team can assign training and track compliance for CorsoCare staff.

Young woman using a laptop at home


Hiring and onboarding at CSIG

Relias is a strong selling point to new employees, especially with the option to complete required CEUs through the platform. Another bonus is how everything is neatly tracked for them.

New hires go through onboarding training and then have auto-assignments based on the state they work in and their roles in patient care. “I honestly don’t know how anyone does it without [the automated assignments] option,” which simplifies onboarding new staff, Shirk said.

L&D team members have found that the best way to keep employees engaged is to mix modalities, and Relias gives them that flexibility. Shirk said that providing staff with some short virtual training and some brief in-person training works best. For CSIG’s new-hire orientation, videos run five minutes or less.

Even if it takes 10 quick blocks of content to cover one topic, Shirk finds that employees learn better than when participating in one long session. “The shorter, the better,” she said.

Shirk explained how Relias has played a significant role in CSIG’s ability to grow. Three or four years ago, the L&D team had 14 communities to serve; by Q2 2022, it had 78 communities. At the end of 2022, Relias will support 100 communities with compliance training. The platform also helps track 10 companywide learning opportunities, with some happening simultaneously. In 2023, Relias will also help support CSIG’s new career progression program, Leaders Learning Book Club, and the new Train the Trainer Program.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion training

With all that growth, employee needs have become more varied. CSIG leaders take diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) very seriously, Shirk said. Through the Relias Platform, they address equity in training and career growth opportunities.

Shirk shared an example in which a team member for whom English is a second language said they needed to hear and see the words for each course, and Relias was able to provide transcripts to accommodate the employee’s need. According to Shirk, situations like this are coming up more often, and CSIG is working hard to be sensitive to the needs of a diverse staff.

CSIG’s tagline, “You belong, you matter,” speaks to the company’s approach to DEI. “Everyone’s background matters, and everyone’s background brings something positive to the organization,” Shirk said.

Planning for the future and sharing success

Looking to the future, the L&D team is creating a program for professional development that will further enhance employees’ experiences by supporting their engagement and growth. The training, which includes virtual and on-demand classes and in-person training, takes 14 to 18 months to complete.

Shirk said they couldn’t do this without the Relias Platform helping track progress and offering more choices to employees who live in multiple states and face varying requirements.

Recommending Relias to other organizations is easy, said Shirk. She shared that she tells other healthcare professionals they can save time and money using Relias. “Not only is the content good and dependable,” said Shirk, “if a course says it will meet requirements in a state, but it also does…our staff knows and trusts Relias content.”

Measurable Outcomes

+ The Relias Platform has simplified how CSIG assigns training and tracks compliance.

+ Automated assignments and virtual learning options have supported CSIG’s fast growth.

+ If a Relias course says it meets a requirement, CSIG can count on it.

+ Relias' client support is the top reason for CSIG’s loyalty.

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