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What Returns Can You Expect from In-House Training? A Detailed Look at the Benefits

Clint Maun, CSP

In-house training and seminars may be the ideal way for your staff to benefit from the powerful knowledge and insight of seasoned healthcare experts. Indeed, your organization has much to gain from a tailored session brought directly to employees. Below, we’ll highlight the biggest benefits your healthcare organization stands to gain, how to measure your return on investment and a checklist to help you in your planning efforts.

The Benefits of In-House Training in Healthcare Organizations

Customized to Fit Your Needs
One benefit of in-house training is that courses and programs can be customized to focus on current, relevant issues specific to your organization. From effective staffing to developing efficient operations to meeting patient needs, in-house seminars can address your organization’s most critical challenges. Say your organization is dealing with poor workforce morale and high turnover rates. A quality in-house training program should be able to identify the specific issues and barriers that exist at your organization and outline a program around those items. By the program’s conclusion, you should have a detailed action plan to help you increase morale and reduce turnover. This is very different from an industry-wide seminar, where the speaker provides tips and strategies to the entire audience, which consists of professionals from various organizations.

A Consistent and Lively Message
 An in-house training program provides the means for everyone to hear the same message at the same time in the same place. In addition to focusing on the specific areas in your department, an in-house training program also becomes an effective way of communicating established company goals. A dynamic and engaging speaker can be tremendously effective at conveying the company’s goals and vision. After all, how many times have your company executives stood up and given the same speech, stating the same goals and vision? When it’s presented by an outsider in an exciting and new way, the message is much more likely to hit home.

When employees leave the workplace to attend a seminar, much information and time can be lost. The items they learned can be easily forgotten on the long drive (or flight) home. When they return to work, it may be hard to remember and apply the lessons learned. On the other hand, with in-house seminars, team assignments can be given, providing an immediate opportunity for employees to apply what they have learned. They can hit the ground running.

There is a significant cost advantage to setting up an in-house training program. Ten to twenty individuals can be trained in a focused and extensive course of study for the same or lesser cost as sending two individuals to one short-term industry-wide program. Substantial savings in travel time, work time and expenses make in-house workshops a cost-effective option to meet a healthcare organization’s training needs.

Healthcare is a 24/7 profession; the standard 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t work for everyone. Of course, this makes finding time for training and education a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, in-house training programs offer great flexibility in terms of scheduling. In-house sessions also allow attendance by a wider array of employees, as well as senior management and board directors.

Increased Employee Satisfaction
Being invited to participate in an in-house company training program is an honor and signifies that management recognizes the potential of their employees. In-house workshops provide employees the opportunity to not only learn, practice and improved their skills, but also to bond with their team members.  When co-workers are together in an intense learning program, they have the chance to encourage and challenge each other, which translates into a supportive and team-based work environment. 

A Non-Threatening Environment
 In-house seminars provide a familiar venue, where employees may feel more comfortable and more inclined to participate. Large-scale seminars can be intimidating and difficult to participate in. Further, in a crowded auditorium, it’s often difficult to stay engaged with the speaker and even ask questions. Within company walls, employees can gain theory and practice their leadership skills in a safe and non-threatening environment. They can role-play, hold team meetings, and benefit from one-on-one coaching sessions from the seminar leader(s).

How to Measure Your ROI

To measure the return-on-investment from in-house training, you must first define what you want the training to achieve. The key here is make these items specific and measurable. Goals such as “becoming a better manager” or “to be a better nurse” (while good goals) are too vague and will not allow you to measure the effectiveness of a program.

Before and after training, measurements must be made to determine the effectiveness of the training sessions. If the goal is to improve the productivity of employees in a certain process, a metric must be determined. For example, if you want the training to improve customer service scores, gauge your scores and the level of complaints both before and after the program. If you want to reduce nurse turnover, measure your turnover rates pre- and post-program. If you want to reduce the use of travelers, measure that number pre- and post-program, etc.  It’s also important to perform pre- and post-surveys that address employee attitudes and satisfaction. As discussed earlier, in-house training programs can help boost morale and team cohesiveness. Although you may not be able to attach a concrete number to it in your bottom-line ROI analysis, measuring employee satisfaction can help you gauge the overall effectiveness of the program.

Remember, the main reasons for in-house training should be to improve employee performance as well as the company’s bottom line. By calculating the total costs of training (i.e., consulting fees, program materials, time spent away from work, etc) and comparing it to the improvements made as a result of the training, you can determine your actual ROI.

In-House Training Checklist

To get the most out of any program, it’s important to complete the following:
  • Define your major objectives & goals. What would you like the program to achieve or help with? Reduce turnover? Alleviate staffing problems? Improve survey scores? Clearly define your goals and objectives, so that you can clearly measure the results.
  • Estimate the total cost of the program. This will help you determine your ROI. You will need to consider consultant fees, staff time, rewards for participants, food and beverage, and any other required materials.
  • Secure senior-level support. Your top executives must be committed to this effort as well as the suggestions, strategies and solutions the trainer/consultant proposes. 
  • Evaluate. Take the time to properly evaluate the program, and whether or not it was able to achieve the intended goals. If you want to have additional and new employees attend the program, it’s likely that you’ll need to show the impact it will have to senior management. Any in-house trainer/consultant worth his/her weight should be able to guide you through this process—so ask for help if you need it!
  • Re-evaluate. Evaluation isn’t a one-time deal and then you’re done. To get an accurate picture, it’s important to perform periodic evaluations (i.e., every two or six months). This will help you understand how long it takes to achieve certain goals or how long the desired results last.

With so many benefits to offer, the healthcare industry should undoubtedly consider in-house training as a viable means of developing and motivating personnel, and improving overall operations. From virtually every aspect, in-house training offers one of the most effective ways to deliver learning that really makes a difference.