Technology Training Key for Retaining Top Talent

Reducing employee turnover and attracting the right talent is a top business imperative for 27.3 percent of health plan IT leaders today. Every time a company loses an employee, they must spend time and money on job postings, interviews, onboarding, lost productivity, and more. Employee turnover can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. From my experience, the key to retaining top talent is robust, ongoing training.

If a company does not provide adequate training, employees can feel like they’re not qualified for their job because they don’t know what to do; at the same time, they are afraid to ask questions for fear of seeming incompetent.

I’ve seen this time and time again throughout my career.

People begin to ask themselves, “Why am I here?” “Am I in the wrong job?” “Maybe I should go somewhere else.” As a result, companies lose talented employees, and an opportunity to have that person speak up, improve processes, and advocate for your organization.

If an organization hires someone new, there’s only so much someone can learn on their own. The easiest and most effective way to ensure they succeed in their role is through training.

Every health plan is unique. Training helps organizations maintain a skilled workforce, ensure everyone is on the same page, and reduce errors.

When it comes to training, health plans should consider:

  • What are you doing to train your folks on all of the systems that create your ecosystem?
  • Succession planning- If someone left today, would anyone be able to step in the next day and do their job?
  • What processes are in place to ensure you’re regularly updating training programs?
  • How are you communicating with your company that training is available?

Especially today, as we support a blended remote and in-house workforce, employees have less day-to-day interaction with their peers. People might feel extremely alone in this work environment, and training is a productive way to take advantage of the downtime and engage with your teams.

Three Tips For Building Technology Training Programs

Earlier in my career, I handled implementations for a software vendor and noticed a common occurrence among customers that is still prevalent today. The first few years with the software would be great; the company would send everyone to training classes to get all employees up-to-speed on the new technology. Then, by year three or four, that emphasis on training would lose momentum.

Staffing changes, people take on different roles, employees leave, and new hires come in. Ongoing training is crucial for companies to ensure employees have the proper skills and knowledge to use the systems effectively.

For example, I visited a client and saw that a woman processing a claim had stopped and opened an internet browser to determine whether the member had Medicare. Every time a claim would come in for a member over a certain age, she would do this manual process. I showed her where she could see if the member had other insurance in the system, make notes on the member record, and find it in the future. She had no idea this capability existed, and she developed her own workaround for it. This training took little time and completely streamlined the claims processing. This was just one person. Imagine if a company had 15 or 20 people working like this, and how much time and resources are wasted on these workarounds simply because the team does not have proper training?

Our technology provides so many capabilities; I hate to see organizations make a significant investment in these systems and not use them to their fullest.

Here are some training tips that I have gained over the years:

  1. Start training early. Spend two full weeks of in-depth training on all the technical systems in the ecosystem before a new hire jumps into their role. Investing the time in training up-front will pay off in the long run.
  2. Work with vendors. You don’t have to do this alone! Many vendors offer training options and have deep experience in training and education. Reach out to learn about their services or if they will help you build a training program that you can easily update and maintain.
  3. Leverage exit interviews. If an employee leaves, take the opportunity to ask how the company can improve training. This first-person insight is incredibly valuable.

From my experience, the cost of training is always outweighed by the benefits, knowledge, and skills employees receive. When a workforce has adequate training, they will work more efficiently and help the organization achieve its goals.

Inefficient Processes Stifle Creativity and Continuous Improvements

Whether it is value-based benefits, episodes of care, or evolving state and federal regulations—without the right technology, health plans will struggle to keep up with trends and changes in the industry. These challenges only intensify for smaller health plans with limited resources and less margin for error.

To remain competitive in today’s market, health plans must have the ability to stand up new lines of business and benefit plans quickly and efficiently.

For many payers, bringing a new product or benefit to market often requires significant time and resources. For health plans using older core administration systems, configuring a new benefit plan involves the claims department working with the IT department to explain the benefits and what’s covered, conduct testing, identify errors, and find solutions.

This back-and-forth process, which can take months to complete, occurs while members are already utilizing the benefits. Health plans are pressured to get payments out of the door, accurately and efficiently. Still, they cannot process claims against a benefit that is not yet configured in their system, resulting in processing claims incorrectly until the benefit is placed into production.

Health plans must then handle the backlog of incorrect claims. This workload requires IT and claims resources to run a report with hours spent working to identify what was impacted by this benefit plan and running backouts and re-processing the claims to get everything in sync.

With so many steps and so much ground to cover, this cumbersome process often causes IT departments to become bloated. The IT resources are highly-skilled and know the technology well, but they do not necessarily know the business or understand the benefits, leading to more potential errors and inefficiencies.

With the immense time and resources spent on deploying one benefit plan, how can health plans react to shifting consumer behaviors and the evolving healthcare landscape and quickly go-to-market? Health plans need a flexible system that allows them to test and implement those benefit designs in a timely manner so they can focus on making continuous improvements that attract and retain their members and drive success in their business.