How to develop a training plan for the medical tourism experience?

 

Create a training plan

There are many reasons why employers don't train their employees. The common excuses put forward in Part 1 of this article demonstrate "What happens if you don't train employees and they stay", debunking so-called reasons for not investing in employee training. Convinced that training is important to the success of delivering a better patient experience?

Now let's look at the next step - developing a training plan.

Benefits of developing a training plan for your medical tourism business

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there".

To reach your destination and meet identified business goals such as creating a better patient experience, a training plan is the first step on the journey to success.

Developing a training plan gives employers the opportunity to:

  •     Solve business issues like poor customer service or faulty service error recovery
  •     Enlist employees to find new ways to generate revenues or reduce expenses
  •     Strengthen employees' skills or minimize weaknesses to enhance productivity
  •     Budget appropriately

Employees benefit from a training plan by:

  •     Communicating to staff that they are valued
  •     Getting employees to think about their careers rather than "just a job"
  •     Identifying short-term and long-term career goals
  •     Creating action plans to meet those goals

With these benefits and advantages in mind, you are ready to develop a training plan.

Preparing for training to generate desired results

The process to plan for effective training contains five steps:

1.  Identify needs: Focus training on your most pressing business problems.  Is high turnover in one department causing service delivery problems and causing recruitment costs to sky rocket?  Are the numbers of lost leads rising? Are complaints increasing in a particular department? Securing the services of an organization to mystery shop your organization may help identify problem areas.  So can the results of satisfaction surveys or employee evaluations. Delving into these issues is a great place to start when designing a training program.

2.  Develop training:  A little bit of research can identify the best combination of systems and tools to deliver the results needed.  People learn in many different ways so a combination of training methods generally delivers the best results.  Explore the various options including on-line training, instructor lead or on-site training, and on-the-job training using in-house trainers or mentors.  Our consultants can advise you as to the best training options for your particular business issue.

3.  Deliver training:  Next comes the delivery of the training itself. Create a training schedule and put the training sessions on the calendar to deliver the message throughout the organization that training is important.  Business owners should participate in the training to lead from the top as well as to be familiar with what employees are learning.  By participating in the training, senior management can better evaluate the quality of the training itself.  Ask participants to complete post-training evaluations or request other types of feedback to ensure that the training is meeting the needs of your organization and each employee.

4.  Measure results:  Has the training achieved the goals established before the training?  Measurement may need to be made more than once or over time to ensure that the skills and knowledge have been absorbed, retained and implemented on the job.  Refresher interventions or additional training may be needed to create the desired change. In addition to specific business and performance goals, some general results that can be measured include:

  •     Increased team building
  •     Deceased supervision
  •     Increased employee performance
  •     Increased leadership throughout the organization
  •     Increased revenue
  •     Deceased expenses
  •     Decreased turnover

5.  Evaluate: After a reasonable period of time, evaluate the impact of the training.  Did it meet the pre-training goals?  Is further training needed?  Did the training methods suit the organization's culture? If the training addressed the business challenge, then repeat the process for the next pressing issue while ensuring that performance has not reverted to previous bad habits.  Tweaking and revising training programs is part of the process of determining what works best for your organization.  Skills and knowledge building requires commitment over the long term as most business problems cannot be solved overnight even with the best training program.

Now that you have the tools to create a training plan, let's look at ways to maximize your training budget.

Tips to maximize your training budget

There are a variety of services and products to meet the needs of any budget, large or small.  Here are a few ideas and suggestions to assist you with the development of a training plan.

Low or no-cost options

Organizations can offer informal training to employees through an in-house mentoring or coaching program. Generally this technique works in smaller organizations where employees wear many hats and new hires can be matching to senior staff for on-the-job training. Regular meetings between the trainer and trainee should be arranged to exchange feedback.  Involving a third party in the process can provide guidance and keep the process moving forward.

On-line courses are an affordable alternative to on-site training.  Organizing groups of employees to complete the on-line training within a designated period of time and then holding discussion groups to share information is an effective way to use a virtual instructor to provide content while guided group discussions bring the content to the work place.  This same technique can be used for webinars.

Inviting local experts from colleges or businesses to speak at lunch time or other meeting times provides access to expertise and offers an opportunity for questions to be answered.  This format is helpful in evaluating the skills of that speaker to determine if he or she is a good fit to deliver formal training.

Read the article, "Tips to Maximize the Investment in On-Line Learning", available at www.MedicalTourismTraining.com in the “Resources” section for more ideas.

Mid-range to custom designed training

Most organizations are able to budget for a combination of on-site and on-line training.  On-site trainers can be from outside your organization to deliver specialized content and to train-the-trainers.  In-house trainers can then learn the content and share it with new employees as well as assist employees with implementing the skills and knowledge needed at the work place.

Generally the most effective training in terms of knowledge retention and behavior change consists of on-site training that is reinforced with on-line courses.  Content delivered with the opportunity to ask questions and to demonstrate competencies during and after training sessions can be paired with on-line learning.  On-line training can be purchased "off the shelf" or specifically designed for the needs of a particular employer.

Either way, giving employees the opportunity to access content at their convenience from home or at work, maximizes their learning opportunities.

Larger organizations or organizations with more generous training budgets can have training programs custom designed with content and delivery services unique to their needs. These training programs are integrated into every aspect of the organization's services from orientation to technical training to customer service skills.  This option offers the biggest potential return on investment to be reaped from the individualized programs.

Investing in developing a training plan will put you on the road to success and help you select the training solutions that will have the most impact on your organization.  

  •     View Part 1 of “Delivering a better medical tourism experience”: Why bother with training?

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