Client interview with Teri Hansford, Staff Development Manager at Las Animas County Rehabilitation Center
The Las Animas County Rehabilitation Center (LACRC), which opened in 1971 and later joined resources with Southern Colorado Developmental Disabilities Services (SCDDS) in 1987, employs more than 150 people who provide services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote person centered choices, independence and community inclusion. Although Las Animas County is the largest county in the state of Colorado, it is a very rural area and the people they serve are widely spread out. LACRC sought a partnership with Relias to:
- Save money and time
- Improve documentation efficiency
- Achieve faster onboarding
- Improve overall organizational performance
Having worn many hats at LACRC since 1992, Teri Hansford, Staff Development Manager, recalled having to stand for 8 to 12 hours, twice per month, conducting live onboarding training. “It takes a lot of work,” Teri said; however, the other challenge was in getting everyone to attend. Some were unable to, others would have to leave early, but all would have to reschedule to remain compliant. To keep track of this, multiple copies of sign-in sheets were needed to document who attended which part of which session on which date. Not only was this confusing, it was also time consuming and, in turn, expensive. Teri would often have to postpone training for a couple of weeks until there were enough attendees for it to be cost effective.
Other challenges stemmed from ensuring LACRC was prepared for constant regulatory changes and that the required changes were effectively implemented. Over the years, regulatory changes have added a much larger need for accurate documentation, added responsibilities and more training. Teri added, “We’ve gone from just providing care and supervision to everything—even nurses. We have to expect so much more from our staff.” This naturally leads to turnover issues, not to mention the expense of overtime hours.
Implementing the Relias Learning Management System (RLMS) was fast and simple. “About a week is all it took. The staff love it and there is very little setup required; I can set it up one time and leave it,” Teri said.
On average, LACRC hires 3 people per month. Each staff member has to complete approximately 20 hours of training. If someone is paid $10 per hour per training, that equals 60 hours per month, which is an average savings of $600 per month, or $7,200 per year. This does not include dollars saved from time spent on live training, nor does it include money saved from reducing the need for overtime pay.
Since using the RLMS, she spends a mere 30 minutes getting new hires started in the system. She can also rest assured knowing the RLMS has every training course required by their auditors. While staff complete their training, Teri uses her newfound time to address other priorities, and because of the system’s robust automation features, she is automatically notified when training courses are completed. “Because everything is in one place, there are no longer concerns about attendance or costs. It doesn’t matter anymore if there is one person or four people,” she said.
“Because everything is in one place, there are no longer concerns about attendance or costs. It doesn’t matter anymore if I’m training one person or four people.”
Engagement, Retention and Performance
For LACRC, discovering that the RLMS isn’t only for new hire training was an added benefit. If Teri notices someone struggling as a new manager, she enrolls them in a curriculum containing courses on management skills, HR best practices, and leadership development.
She would normally spend this time one on one, but using the RLMS for this purpose alone has saved her a lot of time. Being able to offer opportunities for professional development also increases employee engagement.
Teri also noted their decrease in turnover. “We don’t have as much turnover anymore in residential group home positions. We haven’t terminated anyone based on performance issues. Because of the reduced turnover, we don’t have to spend time constantly training replacements.”
“Because of the reduced turnover, we don’t have to spend time constantly training replacements.”
Teri noticed that staff pay much closer attention to what they are learning in online courses compared to when she conducted live training and, therefore, feels staff are better trained and are better equipped to perform their jobs better.
Added Benefits: Recruiting Incentive and Peace of Mind
Many of the people hired at LACRC do not have prior industry experience. Because of that, a big concern during interviews is whether or not training will be provided. Teri said, “It can be scary for them. When I explain that we have an online training program with Relias and that we’ll teach them everything they need to know, they’re relieved.”
Peace of mind is another benefit. Earlier in the year, Teri’s division held training seminars on “personcentered planning” in different cities throughout Colorado. As hard as Teri tried, she was only able to get 75% of staff to attend and was concerned about the rest of the staff. To her surprise, she logged in to the RLMS and noticed that a “person-centered planning” course had recently been added. She was excited and relieved to tell her Director that the problem was resolved. “They are so on it,” she said.
When asked for advice to others who might be considering Relias, Teri offered, “At least try it for a period of time. Talk to other customers. You’d be foolish not to. If you’re short on staff or money—it’s like having a trainer in your office at your beck and call.”