When a national healthcare accreditation organization conducted its annual review at Inspira Health in late November, it determined that Crothall Healthcare’s associate training program was “outstanding” and “one of the best in the nation.” The official from DNV GL Healthcare, the accreditation organization, also recommended that other hospital departments in the hospital emulate this training program.
The review was a shining endorsement for Crothall. “Recognition that we have a top-notch associate onboarding program is a significant victory of us,” says Jennifer Klach, senior Learning and Development (L&D) consultant at Compass One Healthcare. “We are proud that new associates are able to quickly learn a new job and make patient’s lives better in very quick order.”
While new associates have always participated in an onboarding program, Klach and her L&D team have performed a major renovation to help it become more impactful. More than 14,000 new associates were onboarded in 2020 with the new training program at more than 500 US hospitals.
The Revamp – A Major Undertaking
Shortly after joining Compass nearly five years ago, Klach reviewed the company’s onboarding training materials and laid out a plan to update them. She took an onboarding program that relied exclusively on notebooks and large packets of printed information and created a comprehensive online instruction program.
Now, every new associate watches a series of videos on different aspects of their job. After each section, they take an online quiz to demonstrate their knowledge before moving to the next section. The online training is setting up the new employees to be successful as quickly as possible.
“Just a few years ago, training was offered on paper only and it wasn’t tailored to one’s role,” Klach says. “Now, we provide audio and visual learning. To no one’s surprise, people learning a new job can better understand their new roles when they can see how it’s done.”
In addition, the training curriculum was revised to provide specific training for each different role within Crothall. For example, a new housekeeper joining the Environmental Services (EVS) team receives a different onboarding training course then a new floor technician, making it more meaningful for everyone.
“Some new associates were required to learn everything about their department, which doesn’t make sense from a learner’s perspective,” she says. “Why learn about something you’ll never do?”
Here’s a good example. A new housekeeper now learns Crothall High Profile Cleaning inclusive of the methodical 10-step cleaning process through videos before being paired with a seasoned housekeeper to watch a demonstration.
The videos demonstrate important tasks, including the proper use of cleaning chemicals, wearing of personal protective equipment, the steps to take when cleaning a room and how to interact with the patient and guests.
For Crothall directors, the benefits are tangible. Ryan White, the EVS director for two Inspira hospitals and a large multi-specialty health center, oversees approximately 120 front-line staff and managers. He sees the difference the new onboarding curriculum is making.
“Our learning platform has the feel of a mini-college course,” White says. “Before the changes, the new associates were reading large packets of printed information. It was cumbersome and there was no live-action, no interaction with visuals. Now, they are more engaged.”
Taylor Giles, EVS Director for Inspira’s newest hospital and a large multi-specialty health center, says the new curriculum design has also provided the new associates with more knowledge and challenged them to better understand the information.
“The online quizzes in each section are a multiple-choice test,” he says. Before, the quizzes were true/false, which may not have tested a person’s knowledge quite as much. The interactive learning is more challenging, but also more enjoyable for the associates.”
In addition, an online dashboard allows White and Giles to track each new associate’s progress. Once a new associate completes an online module, they are certified if they receive a passing score; this data is funneled into the dashboard. A director can easily check the dashboard and determine when the new associate is ready for the next phase of their training.
The new training program has also been updated to use in an associate’s annual refresher course.
While online instruction is part of the onboarding process, the ease of use helps new associates better understand their jobs.
“A new associate has to learn and understand a lot of information and take on several new physical tasks during their first few days on the job,” White says. “Helping them be successful while also giving them a better understanding of how their job has an impact on each patient helps all of us perform better.”