Why bother with training in medical tourism?


“Improving the patient experience” is a phrase that is increasingly on the minds of health care leaders around the world.  Whether compelled by legislation like HCAPS in the United States or by increased competition for the most desirable international medical travelers, delivering health care services beyond solid clinical outcomes is the wave of the future. 

According to the results of the “Patient Experience Survey” designed and administered by the HealthLeaders Media Council, 84% of the US health leaders surveyed reported that improving the patient experience is one of their top three priorities, 58% say they have not made specific patient experience investments or cannot specify what the investment was.  Clearly, patients are not happy with their health care experiences but health care leaders are not sure what to do about it.

What happens if you don’t train employees and they stay?

The question remains: How does a medical tourism organization improve the patient experience?  One answer to this question is to invest in training employees, create a training plan, and use the training budget wisely.

Training staff to deliver a better patient experience is an important part of the solution readily available medical tourism businesses.  Organizations can get better at choosing the training that will deliver the results they need if they can get past out-dated thinking about the role of training. What reasons does your give organization offer for not training people? Perhaps these examples sound familiar.

Reasons or Excuses?

There are many reasons why employers don't train their employees.  Here are five of the most common excuses employers give for failing to invest in their single most valuable asset - employees.

1.  It costs too much.

With the variety of training options available to healthcare providers and medical tourism businesses, from affordable on-line courses and webinars to tailored, custom designed programs, there is a solution for every size budget.  Enhancing the knowledge and skills of employees makes them more efficient and productive, improving the bottom line.  Training can improve relationships with your customers, building loyalty, enhancing reputation and growing sales.  Create a line item in your budget for training and then find training solutions to fit your budget.

2. Why train people? They are just going to leave.

Organizations that experience high turnover justify their unwillingness to train claiming that the investment will be wasted when people quit. This self-fulfilling prophesy allows turnover to remain high without developing an intelligent and thoughtful plan to staunch the bleeding. 

If you treat employees like interchangeable parts - fungible commodities - you have conveyed the message that those employees are not important to your organization. 

Transform your message and invest in the people who are the face of your company.  Successful companies like Starbucks and Microsoft invest millions of dollars in staff training including orientation, customer service skills and technical skills.  Research shows that training has a positive impact on retention, improves employee morale and confidence.  The success of companies that invest in training confirms that their investment is paying off handsomely.

3. Trained people will want more money.

Maybe employees whose skills and knowledge have increased will want more money but shouldn't they be creating more money for your organization to be able to reward them?  Some people will stay with your organization and others will leave. 

Don't you want to have employees who are enjoying their work, developing their careers with you rather than staying dumb enough to do the minimum? Tie training to increased productivity or responsibility so that you can reward and keep the best employees.

4. Training takes time away from being productive.

Training can be scheduled to minimize disruption in the work day and employers can decide whether it is better to send staff off-site for two full days or schedule 4 hours per week for four weeks.  Everyone's skills get rusty and knowledge becomes outdated quickly.  Investing in training may involve short term pain for long term gain.  Invest now to avoid the drop in quality and productivity that comes from failing to keep skills and knowledge current.

5.  Employees see training as "just one more thing to do".

Research demonstrates several benefits of training.  First, employees are more likely to leave a job that doesn't provide training or challenge them.  In other words, investing in your employees through training increases their loyalty toward their employer and reduces the likelihood that they will leave.  A recent study of young US workers showed that they are "twice as likely to be influenced by the amount of training provided than by money".  

Smart organizations use training as a recruitment tool, looking for individuals who are interested in learning and acquiring the skills to advance in their careers. Employees want to improve their skills and enjoy their work. Training can help them achieve those personal goals that will, in turn, benefit your organization.

And here’s another reason that is becoming a serious issue…

6. Employees don't need to know about our social media policy.

Perhaps this excuse is a new reason to not train employees.  Maybe your organization does not even have a social media policy. 

Failing to have a social media policy and then failing to train employees about the impact of social media on your organization is a ticking time bomb.  Take a look at the examples of Bank of America or Nestle about social media damaging brand reputation, leaking confidential information and intellectual property among other disasters. 

A recent study reported that 60% of companies never train their employees about their social media policies.  While a social media issue may not have hit your organization yet, it is only a matter of time before an employee who does not understand the rules does something to damage your organization.

Convinced that training is an investment worthy of your time and consideration?  In the words of corporate guru, Zig Ziglar, "What's worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them".


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