When we started our practice with a small team, training wasn’t a problem. But, as we grew, we realized that our traditional mentor-style, staff-led training was problematic. For one, not every staff member shared a similar learning style and they didn’t always respond well to individual training strategies. We were also getting busier, and the team members charged with training were beginning to burn out.
Then, we had an epiphany. The world is hungry for information, and most of us consume that information most effectively through digital platforms and, specifically, videos. How often do you hop on YouTube to learn a new recipe or to fix something in your home? With this idea, we created a self-led, digital, video-based platform that solved our training woes and made learning fun again.
The nuts and bolts
Our training platform started with a facebook group, which worked well for us in the short-term. But again, as we grew, we needed something more sophisticated. We found several companies that offer platforms to help in designing a training program, and chose Trainual as our partner. We created a list of training topics for each hospital position, and our existing staff completed short video how-to’s. We paired the videos with written content, so staff members learn not only how to do something but also—and more importantly—the why behind the activity they are learning. The video and written combination caters to different learning styles, ensuring team members can hear, see, read, and best absorb the content.
After seeing, hearing, and reading about their assigned task or topic, team members complete a short quiz, and then show us what they’ve learned. We’ve found this process quickly solidifies new information, and ensures every new team member receives standardized instruction that upholds our protocols and provides consistently high-quality service and medicine.
Plus, our training videos aren’t only for new staff members—they help teach everyone in the clinic new information. We regularly update our videos or add new ones to address protocol or equipment changes, and we place QR codes that link to specific videos in strategic areas. If someone is unsure about performing a task or using a machine, they can scan the QR code, teach themselves, and acquire a new skill without asking another team member.
Benefits of a digital training platform
Implementing digital training solved many problems for our growing hospital team, and continues to provide us with unanticipated advantages. If you aren’t sure whether a similar platform could help you, consider the following benefits:
- Empowers staff to take control of their own learning
- Frees up existing staff to help on the floor, where they are most needed
- Prevents trainer burnout
- Facilitates quick changes and updates
- Allows the entire team to easily contribute to training development
- Allows uninterrupted vacations, because staff can scan QR codes instead of calling the person on PTO
- Includes analytics that provide feedback on team member progression
- Allows objective assessments during the initial hire probationary period
- Sets up easier cross-training—for example, we reward clinic team members who choose to complete training outside their position
Tips to get started
Designing a training curriculum can seem overwhelming, but involve the whole team, break the task into smaller pieces, and allow your in-house experts to share their knowledge. Here are some tips to get started.
#1: Set a goal
Successful goals should be actionable and achievable, with a solid timeline and deadline in mind. You can always re-assess and extend your deadlines later, but setting your goal and providing staff incentives gives you a head start.
#2: Identify your cheerleaders
Elevate team members who are excited or passionate about developing a new training platform to keep the team motivated and on track.
#3: Make a list of topics for each department
Create a topic list by working through each hospital department or area, from kennels and laundry, through management and HR. Think through and list what your team does each day, week, month, or quarter.
#4: Assign tasks to individuals
Some tasks can be completed only by specific individuals, so they can be automatically assigned. For the rest, use a signup sheet for every team member once they have decided which topics they know best and would like to teach.
#5: Allow time to complete the work
This is the most important part! You won’t achieve your goal if team members don’t have time to complete their training videos. Assign two or three at a time, and set aside an hour each day or a few hours each week when staff can step away from their regular duties.
#6: Celebrate your achievements and commit to ongoing updates
Throw a party, buy the team a meal, give them extra PTO days, or reward them however you’d like for participating and helping to meet the collective goal. Ensure everyone understands that updates and new topics are encouraged, and give them the autonomy to contribute if they identify a knowledge gap.
Training was one of our biggest practice headaches, but our digital video platform has transformed this vital process into one of our biggest successes. Our Digital Empathy website and blog have also revamped our marketing strategy and set us up for continued growth. To learn more about Digital Empathy services, contact the team to get started.