Invest in Your Leaders… Or Lose Them

by Ed Grelle
AAIM Employers’ Association

Professionals from all walks of life, in all types of roles, have always focused on keeping up their technical skills with regular training. In many cases, this type of training is mandated by the government or other national, regional or local organizations. Many refer to this as continuing education, and it is often a standard part of maintaining your current role within your business.

Healthcare organizations, for example, do an excellent job of training their staff on key clinical and technical skills so they can deliver the highest-quality healthcare for their patients—and best results to their organizations. Regardless of department or institution, these professional positions often require a certain amount of training or continuing education in order to maintain their licenses. Some roles in these environments—including physicians, nurses and various technologists—have very strict responsibilities in the area of continuing education.

The majority of this training is focused on new trends and applications to improve the outcomes for patients and the facility—so much so that the patient experience is measured by each facility through surveys. Calculated and published, these findings are very valuable to these organizations because the results can—and do—impact their reimbursement from government agencies.

Because this type of training can require a substantial amount of time, organizations often overlook other training needed by staff members to continuously improve themselves in skills that are not clinically or technically focused. I am referring to management and leadership skills. As in other businesses, many personnel are promoted to management because of their demonstrated clinical or technical skills, yet never provided the leadership skills needed to effectively manage people in these new roles. Instead, it is often left up to what many call “on-the-job” training. In addition, not everyone who excels clinically or technically will make great managers of people—we have all seen examples of this throughout our careers.

Along with these factors, I would add one more consideration into the equation: a shrinking pool of candidates. While this is occurring across all types of businesses, the healthcare industry faces a significant uphill climb when it comes to recruiting new talent. Fact: The number of new enrollments in the field of nursing, as well as physicians and positions requiring other clinical skills (like radiology, etc.) is declining. Combined with the pressures of maintaining the technical training required in each field, it makes these roles highly sought-after.

An institution’s ability to retain quality talent is a top priority—and healthcare institutions are no different. Therefore, many organizations are now adding management and leadership training skills to their programs, not only to develop their internal talent, but once they get them there, to continue to develop their skills in order to retain them.

If you haven’t considered both sides of the training continuum, now is an opportunity to save your organization substantial costs by reducing turnover and the loss of intellectual property that would take months, perhaps even years, to replace. Your investment in developing talent holistically can reap tremendous rewards immediately. Remember that your employees are your greatest asset—so invest in them! iBi

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