Building on Strong Foundations at the Priory Group

by | Jun 4, 2013 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change

For the past eight years, Foundations for Growth (FfG), a blended corporate learning programme, has empowered specialist care provider Priory to deliver comprehensive and effective staff training, and to achieve outstanding business benefits.

We are revisiting this programme 8 years on to see how the Priory Group has built on those foundations and the difference that the programme has made to both staff and to the organisation.

Some background

Foundations for Growth was created in 2005 in response to pressing business needs. A period of rapid expansion through acquisition had placed intense pressure on training resources at Priory. Priory’s leadership wanted to harness the power of e-learning to create a scalable and accessible platform for learning. Importantly, they were aware of the significant barriers to implementing learning technologies in a people-focussed working environment with low levels of PC literacy and limited technical infrastructure.

However, a strong focus on stakeholder needs, communication and change management resulted in outstanding take-up. With its 50 e-learning modules covering a wide range of mandatory and specialist training requirements, it is now an embedded part of Priory culture, used day-in day-out by all staff. Since the highly successful launch, Foundations for Growth has been continually developed and enhanced in response to stakeholder feedback and changing business needs.

Building business performance

Foundations for Growth has been pivotal in successful integration following a period of small and large scale acquisitions. In 2011 Priory Group acquired Craegmoor healthcare increasing the establishment from 6,000 to 14,000 employees. FfG is truly scalable and flexible allowing access to learning opportunities to all employees immediately.

Building individual performance

It has always been a priority to engage staff by meeting the individual needs of staff, ensuring that their learning equips them for both their current role and future career progression within the business. FfG now offers:

  • Route by role–functionality to support regulatory audit requirements and enhanced regulatory reporting for individual roles
  • Support of individual qualifications through streamlining  the management and assessment of Apprenticeships
  • A continuous professional development management and budgeting tool that helps individuals to make applications for learning from their personal learning record to support their CPD
  • Early onboarding opportunities for new starters and bank staff who can now commence their learning before they join if they wish, giving them a unique insight to the organisation’s culture
  • New media such as podcasts to educate staff on patient service experiences
  • Even more efficiency across the business – once external training has been approved for one site, it becomes visable to all other sites so that their employees can participate through their own local access if there are free places
  • An on-line appraisal system was launched in December 2012, which is linked to the organisation’s aims and purpose, providing the opportunity to link behaviour to appraisal by introducing 180 feedback. This appraisal system is linked to managers’ Quality Performance Indicators, Key Performance Indicators, the colleague opinion survey and of course 180 feedback
  • The on-line appraisal system will be further developed this year to include performance and potential measures to link with reward, talent management and succession planning

The FfG learning management system tool is now firmly established as a core business tool at Priory and is now an integrated part of the corporate intranet, which is at the heart of corporate communication. 70% of employees do not have access to the intranet but do have access to FfG, so a news feed links directly with the intranet.

Delivering bottom line results

Since October 2005, Foundations for Growth has delivered huge business impact for Priory. FfG has become a fundamental part of the corporate strategy and been instrumental in achieving tangible performance
improvements, huge cost savings and facilitating business growth.

And FfG continues to deliver results:

  • Clinical Risk Assessment training programme, providing a consistent and comprehensive introduction to CRA across all healthcare sites, was evaluated measured by audits of patient observation practice, and record-keeping at Priory’s clinical sites. In all cases, improved practice was demonstrated following the launch of the e-learning
  • Working with their pharamaceutical suppliers, they have successfully integrated their e-learning modules into the LMS
  • The annual colleague opinion survey is now delivered in house via FfG.  The move to delivery of this survey to FfG increased the response rate by 20%. 97% of respondents completed their survey online in 2013
  • Re-investment of savings into other learning interventions

The blended learning approach is delivering savings in time and money (typically a 3 – 5 day programme is being reduced by 2 days). FfG has saved Priory £6.9million in 2012 alone.

The value of FfG extends beyond learning and development. The quality, flexibility and scalability of learning is an important driver of business growth at Priory. It is an integral element of the bids that the group submits to public sector organisations to secure new clients. FfG has also enabled business growth and opening of new care facilities by, supporting the rapid training of new staff over a period of 2 – 3 weeks rather than the traditional  3 – 4 months.

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