Christian Living Communities Benefits From Flexibility of Relias Online Learning

Like other healthcare organizations during the pandemic, Christian Living Communities (CLC) saw an increase in staff turnover, which made it critical to have systems in place to train and onboard new team members quickly without cutting corners on learning.

“The Relias Platform provided a solution to that challenge,” said Amy Alarcon, Director of Human Resources for CLC.

Founded in 1972, CLC is an award-winning, faith-based nonprofit organization headquartered in Colorado that provides engaging retirement lifestyles and dignified care for older adults. Services include independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, adult day services, and in-home care.

Onboarding team members in multiple locations

In 2019, CLC began moving its training format from in-person to online using the Relias Platform. As the organization expanded, learning and development leaders were finding it difficult to schedule employees across multiple locations for in-person training sessions.

Online training using the Relias Platform reduced CLC’s general orientation and onboarding time by 60% – from five to two hours.

CLC implemented online orientations in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. The flexible learning platform helped the organization continue to hire and onboard team members rapidly and smoothly.

CLC continues to use Relias for training not only clinical staff but also sales staff and other teams. “There’s a general orientation that everyone receives, but then there’s a track based on their role,” said Alarcon. After the organization’s basics, learners move into training specific to their teams, with specialized onboarding for clinical workers, leaders, and sales and marketing.

“Relias is so easy to use. It’s a great platform to utilize for busy team members and busy leaders. The support we receive from our client success manager has just been phenomenal.”
— Amy Alarcon, Director of Human Resources, Christian Living Communities

Supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging

Onboarding is the beginning of employee engagement. The work continues with ongoing learning opportunities.

“We’re really focused on creating a culture of belonging in our organization,” said Alarcon. “Team members, residents, family members — everyone should be able to walk into the community and feel included and supported.”

CLC’s learning and development team has put together an inclusion training program called “We Belong.” Offered through the Relias Platform, the program includes training for leaders and team members involved with residents. So far, the program has focused on learning and discussions related to LGBTQ experiences, ageism, and the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Each quarter the CLC community addresses new DEI topics, and leaders seek input from community members about future topics.

The Relias digital platform has helped CLC’s DEI program be more inclusive of team members who cannot attend training in real-time. The platform also ensures consistent education, providing the same training to every learner.

Providing the tools for CLC to reach learning goals

When asked about learning and development priorities, Alarcon said her team wants to reach 75% training completion, continue supporting the organization’s DEI initiatives, and continually improve employee retention through training and education.

Alarcon and her team have found that Relias can help them achieve these goals.

“Learners appreciate the breadth of course content,” said Alarcon. She added that the refreshed content helps with engagement when employees have to repeat compliance training each year.

With the Relias content, learners get new information that doesn’t feel repetitive. She estimates that about one-third of the content they use is directly from Relias, and other content is customized and delivered via the Relias Platform.

Appreciation for ease of use and automated reporting

The ease of use of the Relias dashboard is important to achieving training goals, Alarcon said, not only for her but for the whole staff. She especially appreciates the automated assignments and reporting features, noting that the learning software she previously used was clunky and not engaging.

Alarcon said it’s refreshing that many of CLC’s newer leaders used Relias in previous roles and are already familiar with the platform. When they’re not, the platform is so user-friendly that they can quickly jump in to support their teams and run reports.

“Relias is so easy to use. It’s a great platform to utilize for busy team members and busy leaders,” she said.

How did CLC track training and measure success before Relias? According to Alarcon, it was “a lot of paper kept in someone’s desk.” By using the Relias digital platform, leaders are able to track training progress, report on completions, and more.

“The support we receive from our client success manager has just been phenomenal. If I want to do something complex, I know I can call her and say, ‘How can we make this work?’” said Alarcon. “She usually knows right off the bat, or she’ll research everything and get back to me. That level of support is just priceless for me.”

Providing incentives for learning

Soon after joining CLC, Alarcon started a training calendar to keep everyone informed about what was coming and set expectations. It makes it easy for people to follow along and keep up with monthly training assignments and compliance requirements. “They know what’s coming up,” said Alarcon.

By creating a monthly dashboard on the Relias Platform, leaders can check on progress and provide friendly competition between teams who see each other’s progress.

The transparency of the metrics helps leaders motivate their teams and keeps everyone accountable. CLC leaders also provide friendly and fun incentives to encourage teams to meet their goals.

CLC recently created a more formal reward for learning, offering an annual Relias Achievement Award, which goes to the team with the top average compliance for the year.

Ensuring consistency and utilizing blended learning

For healthcare workers, it’s difficult to find time  to complete training requirements and accomplish personal learning goals.

“Our team members are so caring and so giving,” said Alarcon. “They want to spend all of their time with our residents, which is amazing. But then finding the time to step away and spend time on themselves can be difficult.” Time became a particularly scarce commodity this past year with COVID burnout and staffing shortages permeating healthcare organizations.

“It’s really hard to find that balance for training and everything else that’s expected of them on the job. Relias really helps with that because we can engage folks in different ways,” said Alarcon.

CLC records in-person training classes so that employees who miss the sessions can access the recorded courses at a time convenient for them. Alarcon said it’s nice to be able to offer blended learning with recordings, webinars, and in-person training. This helps people manage their schedules and still get the training they need  and it ensures consistency across training.

Building a culture of learning

Using the Relias platform, CLC provides annual compliance training and continuing education units (CEUs). Each department has a customized track, and the clinical team gets different training for specific roles, like certified nurse assistants, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. They also have three customized tracks for  leaders to ensure they get the skills and  knowledge they need.

According to Alarcon, being able to talk about  CLC’s learning program, CEU offerings, and education support during the recruiting process  for new team members is “definitely a plus.”

CLC is intentional with professional development for staff and leaders. “We want to make sure we’re using people’s time effectively,” said Alarcon, “so we make sure they get the training that is relevant and helpful to them and their roles.”

Looking to the future, Alarcon wants to take advantage of the license tracker in Relias, which simplifies keeping up with renewal dates. She also wants to initiate a program for high-potential and emerging leaders within the organization, and she’s relying on Relias solutions every step of the way.

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