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Finding 5

Finding 5

2021 State of Healthcare Training and Staff Development Report

Finding 5:

Lack of communication (21%) and inability to match shifting needs (14%) are perceived as weak spots in healthcare organizations’ training and staff development programs.

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Communication Is Critical

Communication repeatedly showed up in the data. Survey respondents’ verbatim comments illustrate the varied views and highlight frustrations as their organizations tried to meet shifting needs:

  • “Lack of discussion/support around changed work environment, lack of social interactions with coworkers and team building opportunities to maintain relationships and commitment to organization, and very high turnover as a result.”
  • “Tends to be last minute announcements.”
  • “Trainings had to be modified due to COVID restrictions, which had an impact on staff skills.”
  • “Lack of buy-in from executives on the need to spend time, therefore money, on extra trainings during the madness of COVID-19.”
  • “Technology lag to meet needs, availability.”


Key Takeaway:

Find ways to support your busy staff members by communicating consistently about training and development — and even more. Take time to explain the why behind the what, share expectations, and listen to concerns.


Training weaknesses

Notably, acute and pre-acute care respondents indicated that inadequate training was the second weak spot after communication. As the insights for Finding 3 reveal, 51% of acute and pre-acute care respondents perceived a decrease in training during the pandemic.


Communication and Connections to Support Training

Busy professionals often need a variety of communication streams to ensure they’re staying abreast of news and role requirements. Using only one form of communication is seldom effective for reaching all team members.

As an empowering leader, you may take the approach that all your team members are responsible adults and should be able to attend to their own training requirements. As a strategic leader, you likely also recognize that your clinicians and staff must put their primary, client-focused responsibilities first.

Communication — reminders, encouragement, and more — can help support your staff as they balance competing expectations. The verbatim comments seem to indicate that employees desire advance notice of deadlines and want opportunities to feel included as members of a collaborative team.


Communication Tools in Healthcare

To support your staff and recognize the importance of communicating expectations and development options, leaders are finding that organization-wide digital platforms can help bridge communication gaps.

In fact, use of a learning management system (LMS) for tracking training rose from 47% in our March 2020 survey to 57% in this year’s survey. The follow-up COVID-19 survey we conducted in June 2020 indicated that 24% of respondents had adopted an LMS during the pandemic.

At the administrative level, such learning platforms allow automated alerts about training deadlines. In the interest of better communication, you can use your interpersonal skills to include humorous notes and images in your reminders. At the motivational level, you can share the reason this training is important to staff members’ job responsibilities and their interactions with clients (the why behind the what).

For example, you could use systemwide learner notifications to promote employee wellness resources such as good sleep hygiene, self-care, and healthy eating.

Taking the communication a step further, you could share how required training and optional staff development offerings have actually benefitted specific colleagues and can support others’ personal and professional job-related needs. Perhaps you can identify staff members willing to share their own success stories linked to their training.

“In my experience, professional development offerings, including emerging leader and clinical ladder programs for nurses can improve staff engagement and retention.”

— Trish Richardson,

MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN, Director, Post-Acute Care Solutions, Relias,

“These programs also provide your organization a stronger recruitment message and competitive advantage in today’s tight labor market,” Richardson observes.

Furthermore, if you tie staff development and retention back to business objectives such as improved service outcomes, you will have evidence to support training budget requests and your reputation for high quality care.

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