Home  |   Subscribe  |   Resources  |   Reprints  |   Writers' Guidelines


Survey: Pandemic Bolsters Health Care’s Focus on Diversity-Related Issues

Study also underscores importance of adaptable, online training initiatives

The fast-changing and urgent nature of the pandemic, not surprisingly, has underscored the importance of adaptable and online health care training for everything from infection control to crisis planning. The pandemic also appears to have bolstered a stronger understanding of the need for training to support diversity-related initiatives, as well as staff wellness and self-care.

Those are among key findings of the 2021 State of Healthcare Training and Staff Development Report, released by Relias, a global software company that specializes in education and training solutions for more than 11,000 health care and human service organizations.

The report, based on a survey of 1,290 professionals across health care sectors, found that 62% of responding organizations have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in place, and that 90% of them support those initiatives with training. Only 40%, however, require managers to participate in training programs.

“The good news is health care providers are increasingly focused on DEI-related issues, and many organizations recognize the need for formal training and staff discussions to understand diversity-related issues,” says Maria Samot, senior vice president of content for Relias. “Building a firm foundation for this understanding provides a base for growth. But progress still needs to be made in elevating this training to the executive level.”

In addition to diversity-related issues, the survey found that staff development is increasingly expanding beyond clinical skills to focus on wellness and self-care—key issues for health care workers dealing with the stress and unparalleled challenges presented by the pandemic.

Fifty-seven percent of participants cited employee wellness and self-care among the top pandemic-related training needs, led only by infection control (71%) and pandemic planning and response (60%).

The survey also found the following:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) indicate that staff development and training have a significant or major impact on top business goals. But just as many respondents (68%) still don’t highly appreciate the financial benefits.
  • Less than one-third of respondents (32%) say they have tapped into the power of data and analytics tools to inform staff training assignments.
  • Nearly one-quarter of respondents (21%) cited gaps in communication as a top weakness in training, while 14% identified issues in meeting shifting needs. Verbatim comments from respondents include “lack of discussion/support around changed work environment” and “time for training due to staffing crisis.”

In order to recognize the impact of training on business goals, leaders must implement an effective way to track training and outcomes and link them together, Samot says. The survey indicated that only about one-third of respondents are measuring the impact of staff education by linking it to service outcomes. On the plus side, 58% are using staff performance as a measure of training impact.

“Remember the old adage: What gets measured gets done,” Samot continues. “If you don’t have a dedicated training budget, as well as an automated way to track your training and monitor your client outcomes, you’re missing opportunities to show the value of staff development.”

Beyond the bottom line, Samot says, “Giving your staff professional development opportunities demonstrates the commitment you have to their personal growth and competency—this is a powerful way to drive employee engagement.”

Source: Relias