For most of my life, I made fabulous New Year’s resolutions.
Work out regularly.
Learn how to knit.
And for most of my life, my enthusiastic implementation of my resolutions lasted all of one day.
Or . . . half a day.
(I’ve never been the most motivated person who’s ever lived.)
Then one year, I decided to get serious about this whole New-Year-New-Me self-improvement thing.
I made a list of the areas of my life that I wanted to change or improve.
Then I created action steps for each of those areas.
I left a little bit of reasonable wiggle room, which takes an element of self-awareness and assessment—as well as a willingness to reassess throughout the year.
With the exception of one (which I’ve consciously put on the back burner for now), I can say that I’ve completed my 2016 resolutions.
To meet your goals this year, your organization may want to do a similar assessment of your 2016 data. Our Critical Incident Reporting Tool
can be a big help.
- How many physical interventions occurred?
- How many service users were injured in a physical intervention?
- How many staff injuries were there?
- What was the 2016 staff turnover rate?
- How many modified work days did staff take (due to a crisis-related injury)?
- How often did staff attend formal trainings?
- How often did they attend rehearsals and drills?
Additionally, consider assessing some admittedly harder-to-measure data points:
- How many crises were staff able to verbally de-escalate?
- How many missed opportunities (crises that—given the information you have—could have likely been de-escalated verbally) were there?
- How many (and how often are) staff traumatized by their experiences in a crisis?
- How many unreported staff injuries were there? (Injuries that staff felt were “too minor” to report, such as bruising, soreness, etc.)
- How many service users were (re-)traumatized by a crisis?
Once your organization has done a thorough assessment, then the prioritization process begins.
Reducing staff and service user injuries is a good place to start, which means that looking at the frequency of staff training can be a good place to start.
How often have staff received training in the past? Is this in line with current legislation, regulation
, or best practice?
A logical solution for many organizations is to increase their training frequency.
So how can you make this work and maximize your training dollars?
- Do a cost-benefit analysis. Look at how much training costs versus how much those worker comp claims cost, for example.
- Look for available grants. Many are out there (here are some), and are relatively unknown, which means that an organization that applies probably has a good chance of being awarded some grant money they can use for training.
- Assess the training that’s currently being done. If you use CPI training, are you using Foundation Course workbooks for refreshers? If so, maybe that can be reconsidered, especially because the refresher workbooks go deeper into applying the program to many kinds of situations. (Instructors, be sure to log in to see all the workbooks available to you.)
- How many staff are being trained? We suggest that ALL levels of staff have some form of workplace violence training. This may sound like a lot at face value, but increased training leads to improved communication, which leads to a decrease in crisis moments and in staff fear and anxiety—because staff then have the appropriate tools to help them both assess situations and respond to them earlier.
- Are all staff skilled at prevention and de-escalation? When staff feel more confident and competent at their jobs, workplace morale tends to increase, which leads to a decrease in staff turnover. Hiring staff is expensive. When you need to do less of that, then often funds can be reallocated to the training budget to ensure that staff’s skills remain at a high level.
Then comes the fun part: Action steps!
The key to action steps is that they need to be simple and easy enough to actually implement. Here are a few examples:
- We’ll add one training per department for the year.
- We’ll open the training up to all staff (even if it’s mandatory for a few).
- Once a week a Certified Instructor will lead a 10-minute practice drill. (Note regarding drills: In my trainings, I do a “transition drill” and time how long it takes—usually 1 to 1.5 minutes, and the group gets at least 20 repetitions of practice in. I purposely time it to show that drills don’t have to take a long time.)
Be sure to work in some wiggle room.
Keep in mind that when action steps are too rigid, it’s easy to feel like a failure and lose enthusiasm.
Sometimes priorities get shifted and it’s out of our control, and that’s OK.
It’s also an opportunity for the Certified Instructor(s) and organization leaders to truly champion the training program and ensure that they don’t fall too far behind on those action steps.
Or, work to adjust the action steps. Maybe you can start smaller . . . or go bigger. It all depends on what you’ve resolved to do to keep your staff and servicer users emotionally and physically safer in the new year.
Reward success—even the small successes!
People need to know when they’re doing a good job.
As you achieve benchmarks—even small steps toward your ultimate goals—celebrate them.
All of us are more likely to keep working toward positive change when we feel like we’re supported and rewarded for our hard work. It’s easy to lose passion and drive without continuous attention to the successes you actualize.
Be prepared for small steps backward or unanticipated barriers, but work through them, celebrate again, and keep moving forward.
Happy New Year!