L&D Best Practices: Strategies for Success (May 2021)

A look at Training Top 100ers Compass One Healthcare’s Patient Transportation Foundations program and International SOS’ Level Up program.

Training magazine taps 2021 Training Top 100 winners and Top 100 Hall of Famers to provide their learning and development best practices in each issue. Here, we look at Compass One Healthcare’s Patient Transportation Foundations program and International SOS’ Level Up program.


By Jennifer Klach, Senior Talent and Development Consultantand Jennifer Solomonson, Director of Talent and Development, Compass One Healthcare

A hospital’s Patient Transportation team needs to move patients 24/7 from one location to the next in a timely manner. Patient Flow managers oversee a team of front-line associates who transport patients quickly and safely from the emergency room to surgery and other locations. Compass One Healthcare’s Patient Transportation Foundations is a comprehensive training program that teaches first-time managers how to best maximize their team’s productivity, ensure customer satisfaction, and manage throughput.

Program Details

Compass One Healthcare is a leading provider of patient transportation services, serving more than 90 hospitals with 10.5 million transports annually. The six-month Patient Transportation Foundations training provides new managers with technical and leadership training by combining formal and experiential learning.

The course’s topics include:

  • Staffing and scheduling
  • Improving the patient experience
  • Quality assurance
  • Contract and financial management

Managers must have worked for at least two months in their new positions before taking the course. We want them to be familiar with their hospital’s management team and operations, believing it will help build and apply the strategic thinking skills they learn.

Like many of Compass One Healthcare’s foundational training programs, this course is taught by a certified Foundations leader who has earned the credentials to teach our most highly accredited programs.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, during the last year, new managers have received their training through Webinars and e-learning modules. Formal learning then is reinforced through a series of post-education hands-on activities at the hospital where they work.

Once the learning requirements are completed, new managers demonstrate their competency through a capstone project. They conduct a SWOT analysis of their hospital, develop a 90-day performance plan, and formally present their results to our leadership.

Challenges and Solutions

As first-time leaders, the biggest challenge these managers face is learning how to manage people. Depending on the size of their hospital, they oversee between five and 25 front-line associates. Each manager is charged with training and developing each member of their staff.

In addition to developing a cohesive team, they must learn several other skills, including: how to operate the software programs in their department, meeting all compliance regulations, and helping the assistant director achieve the team’s financial objectives.

Because transporting hospital patients is a laborintensive operation, knowing how to properly staff and schedule a team of transporters is critical. A new manager must know a hospital’s peak times for new patients, so there are enough staff members ready to transport the next patient, especially if there is an emergency medical need.

Ineffective patient throughput can result in increased patient wait times, higher overhead, and clinical costs, as well as an increase in the patient’s average length of stay at the hospital.

While these kinds of operational details are important, both patient experience and patient safety are equally paramount. The manager needs to observe how each staff manager moves patients to their appointments while also making them feel at ease. They also must work with each new associate to help them safely lift a patient from a bed onto a stretcher. If the patient has a poor experience—for example, they are injured while being lifted onto a bed—the hospital holds Compass One accountable.


To determine how they can apply course information to their jobs, each manager must complete a capstone project after their formal training is completed. They are required to conduct a SWOT analysis of their department and create an action plan. Their solutions include information learned from the course, are practical, and can be applied quickly at their hospitals.

The course strategy includes one other distinct element: the involvement of our executive team in helping shape our curriculum. Patient Transportation Division President Greg Osganian recommended that the SWOT analysis be included as part of the capstone project. Because our senior-level leaders know the difference our managers make in the business, they are often willing to help determine content for our curriculum.


Managers who complete Patient Transportation Foundations training must demonstrate their competence in several key areas to ensure hospitals receive the highest level of service. As a result, our client retention rate—the hospitals we serve—has increased to 98 percent from 97 percent.

The company has benefitted financially, too. Year-over-year growth has increased by 5 percent, and there has been a 17 percent increase in revenues in the last two years.

There is also clear evidence that the Foundations course is contributing to improving the quality of our workforce. Within the last year, 11 percent of Patient Flow managers have been promoted to the next level of leadership. And we continue to experience gains in the retention rate for Patient Flow managers. While our goal is to improve retention by 5 percent annually, our current retention for this role has improved by 11 percent.

Individual success stories provide evidence of the program’s effectiveness. Ken Grissett, a Patient Transportation director at a hospital system in Bakersfield, CA, participated in the Foundations course in 2015. The training he received on contracts and meeting financial goals helped him “connect the dots” as a new leader. Ken’s training and leadership skills have enabled him to grow his full-time employees from 22 to 77 and take on a second hospital in the health system.

Finally, the success of Compass One Healthcare’s Patient Transportation unit led our executive team to create a new service called Patient Observation Services. At the request of hospital administrators, Compass One Healthcare associates trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Basic Life Safety techniques sit with and monitor a hospital’s atrisk patients. Launched approximately one year ago, this new service is a reflection of the training our Patient Transportation managers have received and used at hospitals around the nation.


By The Global L&D Team, International SOS

People are our greatest asset! The staff we employ all have an individual impact on our ability to deliver best-in-class health and security assistance to our clients across the globe. That’s why retention and engagement of our highly skilled teams is one of our utmost priorities. Ensuring our people managers have the tools they require to inspire their teams to achieve excellence is part of our commitment to continually build upon our capability.

Level Up is a program that forms part of our comprehensive leadership roadmap and learning framework designed to continuously support our people managers in their leadership development journey at International SOS.

Program Details

Level Up is an online blended leadership program for people managers. It is designed to fast-forward their leadership skills to the next level within the organization and helps to keep our people managers engaged and retained.

Level Up has evolved over the years. As we receive feedback from past participants, we re-evaluate the effectiveness of the program and alter the design of the content. The feedback we have gathered over the years from our people managers highlights that there is a magnitude of learnings gained from hearing about peer managers’ experiences, challenges, and management approaches. For this reason, Level Up is delivered in a manner that promotes manager-to-manager learning, maximizing the effectiveness of the program.

The program covers six pertinent leadership topics:

  • Understanding yourself and others—focused on behavioral drivers and preferences
  • Delegation as a means to development
  • Coaching culture within the team
  • Managing difficult conversations
  • Balancing business objectives and the individual needs within the team
  • Managing change on an individual level

Leveraging our just-in-time learning tool, our blended approach for each of the above six topics consists of three phases:

  1. Pre-work: This includes self-directed learning activities such as self-assessments, articles, and reflection exercises, as well as a theory video accompanying each topic covered.
  2. Virtual instructor-led sessions: These sessions focus on the practical application of the theory covered in the pre-work exercises. Activities include role-playing, case study analysis, and group discussions.
  3. Post-work: Each topic concludes with exercises that promote on-the-job application, as well as the opportunity to connect with a peer manager to learn more about their unique methods in approaching the topics covered.

During the program, participants are fully supported by their direct managers, as well as their fellow delegates. In addition, a mentor is nominated to accompany them throughout the duration of the program. The mentoring relationship that is formed is built on mutual trust, respect, and communication. This involves both parties meeting regularly to exchange ideas, discuss the program’s topics, and set goals for further development.

This relationship offers reciprocal benefits for mentors who are existing leaders willing to invest their time in developing another professional. Some of these benefits include personal satisfaction of sharing their skills and experiences with a willing learner, learnings gained themselves as they share this experience with their mentee, and tangible professional rewards as they work on their own leadership brand. Infusing this type of support into the program creates among the participants a stronger sense of belonging as a manager and a more robust supporting network they can leverage post-training.

Our accredited facilitators have one-on-one sessions with each of the participants at the end of the program to assist them in identifying the learnings they would most need to put into practice going forward, as well as areas of further leadership development they may require. Three months after the program, facilitators have additional one-on-ones with all participants to evaluate the extent to which there have been behavioral changes as a result of the learning experience. Upon the successful completion of the program, participants become Level Up alumni and are invited to attend a quarterly call that promotes networking between people managers and the continuous exploration of pertinent leadership topics. These follow-up sessions provide further support, which strengthens the confidence level of our managers, and, in turn, brings about greater talent value and stronger employee engagement within the organization.


Almost a quarter of the people managers who participated in the Level Up program within the last financial year were promoted, and we have seen a significant increase in the retention rate of our people managers globally. Participants’ confidence level in relation to the content covered in the program also increased markedly after attending the training.

Recognizing that our people contribute to the growth and success of the organization remains our key focus. We consistently strive to improve our programs to develop, retain, and reward our people.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.