Training is quite useful to deliver new skill sets to employees. Presentation skills can be used by virtually everyone, for example. Media or crisis training is a little more complex but contains components that will improve anyone’s communication repertoire.
Training sessions such as these are often seen as one-time events: we train, they obtain the skills and go off and use them. Game over.
But not so fast.
At BrowningDudley, we deal with companies who need all sorts of training for different levels of employees in varying industries. Truth is, training is often not a one-time event despite the fact that many—even those with extensive human resource experience—seem to feel the one-and-done training scenario works. In fairness, it does work. Sometimes. But let’s talk about a situation where it does not.
We have begun working with a variety of nursing homes in to improve annual surveys, census and level of care provided in an increasingly competitive industry. We recommended training those employees who actually provided the care in addition to department directors, charge nurses and nursing home administrators. Our reasons were fundamental: those delivering the service must understand the purpose behind the customer service request being made of them. That being said, we knew customer service training was in order, so we helped roll that out throughout the organization.
As we suspected, this was not enough to change the culture in some facilities—many of whom hire waves of people who came to our shores from other lands. And Certified Nursing Aides are not highly paid by anyone’s estimate. Combining the cultural differences between licensed practical nurses (LPNs) from Cameroon, for example, with residents from West Virginia makes an interesting tale but, at times, not a very satisfying one from a customer service point of view. The two sides never seemed to meet in the middle. So, could training help?
We first created a new, internal public relations campaign designed to cement an allegiance between nursing home aides, orderlies and attendants and residents. This again answered the question: Why are We Here? We included incentives and educational components to allow employees to share their culture with others. Our goal was not to eliminate culture for a generically meaningless slogan but use it to enhance the overall goal of delivering improved customer service.
We next incorporated the campaign into previously-delivered customer service training core principles while creating new behaviorally-based, real-time scenarios to accommodate any cultural misunderstanding about what was needed to deliver improved customer service—and patient care in the process. We linked desirable behaviors with incentives contained in the new internal public relations campaign.
One training event would not have covered this plan. The ultimate goal of training is much more than education—especially with adult learners. Make them from another culture and you have a whole new challenge. The purpose of training is to instill behavioral change in those you are investing that will benefit your organization and the employee. There has to be something in it for them. At the aforementioned nursing home, now there is.
We expect great things. And we plan for them.
~ Darrell L. Browning