3 Quick Steps to Avoid a Stagnant Technology Staff

April 21, 2014
3 Comments

Sit down with any Healthcare Information Systems employee and ask them about their training programs. The most common answer you get is, “What training program?” For an industry that has so many changes technically and operationally, we allow our staff to become stagnant.

 Our system and application analysts are busy heads down working current issues and putting out fires. However, they rarely have the opportunity to go to any formal training on new updates on their technology areas or learn how they can improve their skill sets and improve client support.

From a cost benefit perspective investing in technical training is not only inexpensive, but yields high returns in terms of customer satisfaction and employee retention. Here are three steps to provide your staff with training opportunities:  

  1. For most training you can contract with local support companies to provide refresher training to the staff. This would include CITRIX, MS Servers, CISCO, CACHE’ and other general data support functions.
  2. Another quick win is to contract with Computer Based Training (CBT) companies. Tie your annual performance goals to the completion of x amount of modules within your CBT. This way you are not paying for something employees “don’t have enough time” to do, and you find out which employees are vested in professional development.
  3. For application training most vendors offer webinars, conferences, user conferences and actual module training. Additional training can be coordinated from the vendor to have a vendor support staff fly down for a one or two day on-site training. These are technical training intended for IT not the end user.  

Keep in mind that depending on the size of your organization, the training time required will vary. But one advantage of contracting a vendor to fly-in support staff to provide training is that they can use actual cases that you have open with them as training examples. You get the added benefit of shrinking the application support queue.

When I had vendor staff provide on-site training, it often resulted in establishing a relationship with them. Things that the vendor had not thought of or they just became so far removed from the end user they had forgotten what you’re up against on a daily basis.

 Training strategies have a ripple effect across your organization. You can sharpen your “tools,” you can update in-house technology knowledge and you can improve your vendor support relationship. But at the end of the day you can break out of the cycle of training stagnation.

 

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Comments

Three steps for training

Pete,
Excellent article with practical suggestions for offering more training opportunities. I’m a particular fan of webinars and online training courses that are offered for free or at low cost by vendors or professional organizations. This is true not only for technical training, but for professional development courses as well. The key is to not only document the expectations, but also allocate time in work schedules that enables this self-learning to take place.

Three steps for training

David, you are dead on. Many organizations "allow" training, but on your own time. They fail to see the value for the organization or how it will directly transfer to improved customer satisfaction. I agree with you that technical training should be carved out during work hours. It will be much more useful than IT people having to sit through "infection Control" lectures.
OK, I am going to duck down before all the RN's start throwing rotten tomatoes.

Three steps for training

Pete, just be sure those rotten tomatoes aren’t covered with bacteria! I’ll have to disagree on the infection control lectures. At my last stint in a hospital, I had everyone on my staff, myself included, receive hands-on infection control training, even though only two of the staff had regular contact with patients. Because we were a small team, anyone could find themselves in a patient room helping out due to being short-staffed or in an emergency situation. I thought it was important that they know what those color coded symbols on the door meant, and how to properly use the personal protective equipment. Better an hour of inconvenience than months (or a lifetime) of dealing with a hospital-acquired infection!