How To Make Training Investments Really Pay Off

We recently conducted a report of our course HIV/AIDS: Supporting Community Members. The results had us giving each other high fives around the office: 70% said the course gave them the tools they directly needed for work, 90% said they had significantly increased competence in the topic, and one person said they used the course to kick-start a syringe exchange program in their community. Exactly the kinds of results we love to see.

But when we asked how much importance learners’ managers placed on the skills and concepts they picked up, we were less than enthused. More than a third said their managers did little to let them use their new skills.

Uh oh.

Investing in health worker training is a smart move. It sets employers to have loyal, motivated workers who can do more on the job. Companies that invest $1500 or more for training, per employee per year, average 24 percent higher profits than companies with lower yearly training investments, according to HR Magazine. These figures are proof that training serves the organization well and increases the health of the community.

While many employers recognize the value of investing in training, too many neglect this second step. They have to let people use what they’ve learned. Health worker training is of little use when that education ends with the last day of class.

Here’s the secret to making sure investments in training pay off: make it easy for employees to learn, make it easy for them to share that knowledge, and set you and your staff up for success.

  1. Review your organizational goals before you register anyone in training. Your staff may love a course on creating walkable neighborhoods, but it doesn’t matter if your program’s focus is on oral health. (Read 11 Things To Know About Setting Training Program Goals.)
  2. When employees are done with a new training program, ask them to suggest new programs or improvements for existing ones based on their experience. Refer to earlier example of the syringe exchange program, which originated in a course forum discussion between two people at opposite sides of the country.
  3. Ask participants to share the knowledge they just learned. Ask them to prepare a presentation to give to the rest of the care team, or have them summarize some of the most salient resources in an email to your whole organization.

Repeat with every person at every educational opportunity.

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