As I write this blog, it’s late September, also known as awards application season for talent development professionals. In fact, Chief Learning Officer’s Learning Elite, Training Magazine’s Top 125, and ATD’s BEST Awards currently have impending deadlines.
Having been involved for more than a decade as both an applicant and a reviewer for many awards, I am continually struck by the lack of representation from healthcare organizations. With help from ATD’s Community of Practice in Healthcare team, as well as from folks working in communications, awards, and higher ed at ATD, I decided to research my belief that healthcare is underrepresented, compared to other industries.
In reviewing the list of ATD’s BEST winners since the award’s inception, I discover that only about 10 percent of all winning organizations are in healthcare.
Why is there a small percentage of healthcare organizations listed as ATD BEST winners? With some exceptions, including my former employer and current client, nine-time BEST winner University Health System (full disclosure), healthcare is noticeably absent from the list.
Conducting a bit of field research at talent development events through the years, I have heard these theories postulated by colleagues:
- Healthcare is a relatively new player in talent development professional circles. ATD’s Community of Practice started in 2013, whereas other industries, such as, financial services and hospitality have been around for a while longer.
- Healthcare talent development staff are too busy. (Just ask us.) Supporting a 24/7/365 operation can be relentless on schedules, leaving little time to take on an extra 40-plus hours to complete an award application.
- Healthcare is often viewed as a soft skills field, characterized by caring behaviors, which are perceived to be difficult to measure.
- There is the attitude: “We’re in the business of saving lives, not competing for something as frivolous as winning awards.”
It’s time for you to weigh in with your thoughts on this disparity. Do any of these theories provoke a response from you? What has your experience been? How can we encourage more award applications and winners? Now that value-based care is part of our daily lives, we have greater access to the data we need to link learning to business results.
Personally, I’d love to see healthcare showing off our best practices more often. Benchmarking, feedback from judges, ideas for improvement, and networking with award winners are just some of the advantages to jumping into the competition. Indeed, I challenge healthcare talent development professionals to get busy and start showing up on the lists of exceptional learning organizations!