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Why Do We Still Blame Employees, When Training And Processes Are The Problems?

By Tramico Herman

As a leader working with many organizations across the country, I realized they all had one thing in common: concluding prematurely that most operational gaps are caused by staff mistakes and not following protocol.

But what if the protocol is inadequate and does not fulfill the intended purpose? How can you hold your team accountable if they aren’t sufficiently trained?

Leading health plan care management programs have many moving parts and a fair share of complexities. Recalling all the players is a challenge in itself. It’s nothing short of exhausting to develop processes that require frequent updating, and integrate them with the workflows of care managers, utilization reviewers, care management assistants, utilization intake specialists, benefits specialists, exercise physiologists, dieticians, social workers, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, team leads, managers, project managers and directors.

Information is a source of learning. But unless the information is organized, it is a burden, not a benefit. To properly deliver information to team members it’s critical that you create standardization for compliance adoption, use leading practice methodologies, draft policies and procedures, map workflows, facilitate onboarding, and have ongoing training.

It is also imperative to develop a governance plan that identifies stakeholders in charge of operations and assigns specific roles and responsibilities to engineer execution, process improvement and risk management. This is best illustrated through an organizational chart symbolizing your organization’s chain of command.

Ineffective communication is a trend often experienced from the top down and the bottom up. It leads to errors in operational delivery, and leaves the staff feeling confused, devalued and frustrated. And with all those feelings comes decreased production. As part of any training plan, clear and frequent communication must be the first order of business to prepare your organization, especially the operations team, for what’s coming. They need to receive customized messaging about changes, business needs and goals.

I cannot express enough the importance of adequate training and communication; they comprise the foundation of any organization. How can team members be expected to perform roles and responsibilities without proper guidance? If you want to function like a quality-based center of excellence, it starts with the leadership team. The training blueprint you develop with others and provide to your team will help all of you reach organizational goals sprinkled with integrity and pride.

Benefits of Providing Effective Role Training And Communication

  • Promotes clear role delineation. The staff will have no problem executing their responsibilities because you understand “a day in the life” of their role and help design sufficient workflows aligned with company metrics.

  • Builds team confidence and increased job satisfaction. There’s nothing like being empowered because you know what to do and how to do it.

  • Supports standardization, making models and processes repeatable, which reduces duplication of work that could have led to lost time and productivity.

Consequences of Not Providing Effective Role Training And Communication

  • Team role confusion. Team members will feel incompetent and ashamed, inspiring turnover. That will then lead to significant expenditures related to hiring and training new staff to replace those who left your organization dissatisfied.

  • Lack of standardization. You will have a broken system that is convoluted and fragmented, and a toxic work environment where it is impossible to exude dedication and value.

  • Frequent mistakes. This will lead to member safety issues, compliance problems with penalties (e.g., suspension/termination of business), and poor reputation.

How To Provide Effective Role Training And Communication

  • Work with a team of project managers, training experts, consultants, and human resource leaders to brainstorm and build a training plan. Incorporate your industry expertise with a focus on compliance standards, leading practice-training methodologies, staff feedback during whiteboarding sessions, and the latest technology tools.

  • Make sure you have a heavy vetting process (prior to training going live). Comb through the training to identify gaps and tweak it until it’s at the level of satisfaction to truly evolve team members and result in change adoption, as well as meet your organization's metrics and goals.

  • Continue to monitor training, document and share lessons learned, and modify as needed.

Take ownership and accountability for training. Don’t blindly pass this piece of work to others. Training and transparent communication are the key to running an organization. Enjoy experiencing seamless process flow, high productivity, happy work teams and member satisfaction, all while serving a greater purpose than yourself.

About Tramico Herman

Tramico Herman (www.tramicoherman.com) is author of The Crux Of Care Management: Steps to Managed Care and Patient-Centric Service Excellence for Leaders and is known as a compassionate health-care executive and transformational leader in care management and health-care disparities. She began her nursing career leading medical-surgical and intensive care units, then transitioned to healthcare administration with a focus on care management. Herman advanced to leadership roles while developing strategies for processes improvements, reducing employee turnover and supporting recruitment and quality compliance with executive leaders. She holds an MBA in project management and became an executive consultant for various Fortune 100 health plans and providers.