Employee development in healthcare is essential for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to stay abreast of new developments in technology or to improve upon professional skills, leaders in healthcare must make continuous learning a priority. Doing so can boost productivity and will almost certainly lead to improved health outcomes for the patients served. Additionally, these investments increase the opportunity for staff to take on new and expanded roles, decreasing duplication in hiring. Below are examples of ways to foster an environment of continued professional growth.
Evaluating an employee’s performance on a regular basis is important because it enables the company to track each employees skills set and target areas that require improvement. However, this must be done in a way that’s authentic and helpful. It cannot become a process that is viewed as punitive or bureaucratic. At worst these processes are facilitated simply to complete an internal or external requirement and viewed as a chore by both supervisors and supervisees. When done well, evaluations are great tools for guiding employees in healthcare to improved performance and to feel that their supervisors are invested in their individual growth. Any area deemed less than satisfactory should be facilitated with targeted training, rather than treated as the individual’s responsibility to remedy independently.
Hiring from within is another great way to encourage employee development. Some organizations automatically start the hiring process externally, which isn’t necessarily the best practice. Sometimes it can cause existing employees to feel disregarded. It can also increase rates of employee turnover, as employees receive the message that the company is not invested in retaining staff. The way to solve this issue is by making it known that current employees are encouraged to apply. Further, consulting with supervisors regarding prospective internal candidates can yield results HR might overlook. Even if a current employee is not always chosen, these tactics will support the image that there’s room for advancement when the application process is open. Some employees will focus on improving their skills when necessary, to earn a promotion.
Cross-training is a practice that wasn’t used widely until recent years. Now, it’s more common for employers to train employees on functions that are in a completely separate department. It’s beneficial because everyone involved will expand their capabilities through training. It can also enable employees to get a new perspective on processes and procedures, and can help increase understanding about optimizing workflow on an interdepartmental level.
Mentoring is an incredibly powerful tool that should not be undervalued. It enables employees to learn from each other, and exchange knowledge on a wide range of topics. Not only does this assist in continuity when employees retire or move to new positions, it also ensures that senior employees become knowledgeable about advances that they may not have received training in, and encourages a more supportive and team based workplace. Mentoring is a great learning tool because it can facilitate the development of both hard and soft skills.
Employee development in healthcare must be an ongoing practice that’s valued and promoted at all levels. It’s beneficial to everyone involved.