Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your New Hire Training
Author: John Strosnider, Epic Instructional Designer
You have just finished training a group of new hires and the training was a resounding success. It must have been! The trainees were engaged throughout class. They asked relevant questions. They all passed the proficiency on the first try. They left smiling and thanking you profusely. They gave you top marks on the end of class evaluation. Isn’t that the very definition of a successful class?
Perhaps. It is important to make a distinction here between the experience of being trained and the effectiveness of the training itself. An end of class evaluation—as important as it is—can only evaluate the experience of being trained. It cannot evaluate whether the trainee has been properly prepared for their job. And, passing the proficiency only demonstrates that the student can pass the proficiency.
We won’t know if the new hire can use Epic effectively until they have to document on-the-job. By then, class is over and access has been granted. So, how do we evaluate if the time spent in class was worth it? And, perhaps more importantly, how can we know what to improve in the training to make it even more effective?
“How do we evaluate if the time spent in class was worth it?”
I propose that you implement a follow-up with each trainee sometime between two and four weeks after training. In an ideal world, this follow-up would be an in-person interview where you can not only ask the questions I propose below, but also probe deeper based on their answers. However, this may not be possible especially in understaffed departments. Therefore, a short survey may be the best you can manage. When done well it can provide a wealth of information.
The process of following-up starts well before class. For this process to be effective, you need to get the support of the managers. Let them know that a critical part of the training process is getting feedback to improve the training even more. This benefits them by making sure their people are as well prepared to use Epic as they can be given the amount of time you have to train them. Be sure they are willing to give their people time to either meet with you or complete the survey.
You should introduce the survey at the beginning of class. Include in your agenda the fact that they will get a survey and be expected to fill it out. Let the students know when to expect it and how long they will have to fill it out. Remind them again right before taking the proficiency. After class, send each trainee a follow-up email congratulating them on passing and reminding them of all the help resources they have available to them. Include another reminder in this email about the upcoming survey.
What should the survey ask? I propose the following four questions:
- What portion of the training prepared you best to document in Epic? This question will tell you what is working about your training.
- What workflow, if any, was missing from the training? Over the course of multiple surveys, you will start to see patterns. If the same workflows are mentioned here over and over, you may need to add them to the training.
- What workflow, if any, was unnecessary? Again, patterns here will help you trim the fat from your training.
- What, if anything, were you told that turned out to be wrong? Answers here will most likely turn up bad habits that are being passed on. There may be an opportunity for refresher training, or you may actually find something in your training that needs to change.
Note, I don’t recommend you use these results to evaluate your trainers. At two to four weeks post-training, there is too much that may get distorted in the students’ minds to be useful for this purpose. Continue to use the end-of-class evaluations and periodic observations or teach backs.
Implementing a feedback loop—either via an emailed survey, or via in-person interviews—will steadily improve your training curriculum. Better training means a better ROI for the time invested. In addition, for direct patient-care roles, it may even improve patient safety.
If you do not currently implement any such post-class follow-up surveys, it’s not too late. Get started today and you may be surprised at what you find out.