Relias Survey: Training Linked to Competence and Culture

Comprehensive study highlights successes and opportunities in healthcare education and workforce solutions


The newly released Relias 2023 State of Healthcare Training and Staff Development Report found links between the work culture in healthcare organizations and diversity, equity, and inclusion training, with 35% of respondents whose organizations had diversity training noting culture improvement over the last year. The healthcare industry survey is conducted every two years by Relias, the trusted education and workforce enablement partner to more than 11,000 healthcare and human services organizations and 4.5 million caregivers.

Managers surveyed identified the most beneficial aspects of their staff education as increasing staff competencies (46%), ensuring compliance (42%), and improving staff performance outcomes (39%). The report is based on a 2023 survey of 3,908 leaders and individual contributors in healthcare and human services.

Staffing and retention issues have been plaguing the healthcare industry for years. In 2022, 29% of nursing professionals considered leaving the industry.

“It’s not surprising to see leaders’ concerns about competency, care quality, and staff retention rise to the top in our healthcare survey,” said Vince Baiera, BSN, Partner for Post-Acute Care Solutions at Relias. “The vital call to action is to open more dialogue between leaders and staff to find solutions that fit their organization and using technology to create efficiencies when doing so.”

Healthcare staff surveyed indicated they valued an inclusive and supportive culture, which was linked to diversity training.

“Cultivating a culture of learning and focusing on respectful dialogue can create a cycle of growth and retention that benefits all staff and leads to persistent and noticeable improvements,” said Rola Aamar, Partner for Behavioral Health Solutions at Relias. “Relias’ training solutions assist with all aspects of management, including individualized performance assessments to streamline onboarding and DEIB-focused educational resources to ensure an inclusive environment that promotes employee wellbeing.”

The survey report further explores areas where more efforts are needed to improve staff education, among five detailed findings and takeaways. Industry analysis from this year’s report includes:

  • Opportunities for leaders to identify the payoffs from staff education: All respondents indicated that “increasing staff competencies” is the biggest motivator for their development and training programs. Only 8% of leadership measures the connection between employee training and cost savings, revealing a missed opportunity to improve both by prioritizing learning and development (L&D) programs. L&D teams can leverage data to demonstrate the tangible impact these programs have on employee engagement, retention, cost savings, and patient experience to increase the buy-in of senior leadership for budget needs.
  • Staff members notice cultural shifts when diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are priorities: Approximately one third of participants said their organization’s culture had improved in the last year (managers 33%, individual contributors 29%); the majority reported DEIB stayed about the same (managers 64%, individual contributors 68%); and a small percentage of respondents said it had worsened (managers 3%, individual contributors 3%). Implementing companywide education, open and frequent communication, and acting on DEIB issues are effective methods for leadership to facilitate a collaborative and inclusive environment.
  • Demand for training programs to enhance outcomes continues to increase: While managers want to improve staff development and training specifically to address staff competencies, care quality, and employee retention, individual contributors want more continuing education and professional development options. Organizations that provide more educational opportunities while also supporting enhanced competency achieve both skill advancement and improved care quality.
  • Data is an important pre-hire and post-hire tool for improving retention and growth: Most managers and individual contributors revealed their organizations use skills assessments (62% of managers, 67% of individual contributors) and knowledge assessments (58% of managers, 62% of individual contributors) during the screening process for potential new employees. As the healthcare industry grapples with workforce concerns, learning and development teams can help address hiring and retention challenges by integrating pre-hire and competency assessments with targeted learning.
  • Learning management platforms must prioritize accessibility along with high-quality content to ease workloads and enhance learning: Managers rated online courses (62%) and flexible scheduling (51%) as the highest priority determinants in choosing a learning management platform or system, citing upgraded accessibility and eased administrative burden as driving reasons.

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