Training Top 125 Best Practice: Hackensack Meridian Health’s “Humanizing X: Joy & Empathy at Work” Train-the-Trainer

Train-the-trainers learn how to lead participants through discussions and exercises around identification of barriers or “pebbles” to joy and empathy in the workplace, how to overcome them, and how to create peak moments.

Not-for-profit health-care organization Hackensack Meridian Health’s “Humanizing X: Joy & Empathy at Work” train-the-trainer workshop is an interactive experience that prepares identified train-the-trainers (T3s) from across the organization to facilitate the four-hour “Humanizing X” workshop to all levels of team members, leaders, and physicians. More than 4,000 team members have completed this required course for all patient-facing team members since January 2019 with the help of 200-plus train-the-trainers.

The goal it aimed to help achieve: 2019 Patient Experience HCAHPS Overall Rating Top Box score improvement: Threshold: 68.1, Target: 68.8, and Max: 69.1

Program Details

The vice president of Human Experience and the vice president of Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness partnered to develop the train-the-trainer concept and course, along with thought leadership and insight from the Human Experience teams at the sites who already experienced the four-hour “Humanizing X” workshop.

T3s learn the components of the “Humanizing X” workshop, what to prepare ahead of time, and how to customize the material to different audiences. T3s learn how to lead participants through discussions and exercises around identification of barriers or “pebbles” to joy and empathy in the workplace, how to overcome them, and how to create peak moments. T3s also learn how the workshop was built, which includes evidence-based studies from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Chip and Dan Heath’s book, “The Power of Moments”; and Ideo’s Human-Centered Design process. T3s are taught how to conduct experiential role-plays, as well as how to lead participants in a Human-Centered Design simulation. Participants select an issue to work on, develop a persona, and map out an experience, while blending in the lessons from the Heath brothers and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to transform pebbles (i.e., problems) into peak moments. Train-the-trainers also learn how to teach participants how to do Human-Centered Design—putting themselves in the shoes of someone else, and empathizing to come up with meaningful solutions. T3s are taught to encourage participants to share their Human-Centered Design work, ideas, and innovation with Hackensack Meridian Health’s own innovation centers, called the Bear’s Den.

The train-the-trainer also includes a teach-back of a portion of the workshop. Upon completion of the workshop, T3s are paired with another certified trainer from Hackensack Meridian Health’s network of trainers.

After the train-the-trainer, T3s have access to a customized Website that contains resources such as handouts, PowerPoint presentations, videos, reference materials, and the master schedule. Trainers are invited to refreshers (approximately every three months) to discuss the rollout of the workshop throughout the network and updates to the program content based on participant and trainer feedback. This affords trainers the opportunity to network with other trainers and grow their skills in the delivery of this workshop.


The HUMC HCAHPS score on Communication with Nurses increased from the first quarter of 2019 at 73.9 to 81.2 in the third quarter, well above Hackensack Meridian Health’s target of 68.8.

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