Why Has the Demand for Supervisory Training Grown?

In an industry where it is critical that staff in all departments be knowledgeable about new developments and new demands, training is always a high priority. Some demands are new, i.e. new regulations or new clinical procedures and some demands have always been around, i.e. how to best supervise, motivate and ensure quality staff performance.

It is easy to understand why new trainings are always being developed for new changes and requirements. It is less obvious why age old requirements such as the qualifications to be a great supervisor have suddenly become much more in demand. But, the answer is simple. More and more agency leaders have come to realize that highly skilled and motivated supervisors impact more than the quality and performance of their staff. Strong well trained supervisors impact the bottom line of an organization… the financial bottom line.

Poor Supervision, Turnover and Cost

Here are some basic facts:

  • A study by Brad Gilbreath in the Journal of Work and Stress reported in Psychology Today, stated that the number one reason “for lower than expected work productivity is not workers, but bosses.” Steve Oppermann in an article in FedSmith went on to say “that poor boss performance may affect the long term health of company employees, and that will become a financial issue.”
  • A study by Gallup reported that “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers and supervisors. The impact that a supervisor has in today’s workplace can be either very valuable or very costly to the organization and the people who work there.”
  • Combine these studies with a study by the Society for Human Resource Management that found employers will need to spend the equivalent of 50% to 75% of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement.

Do the math. If you have an employee earning $80,000 salary and benefits, it will cost your organization an additional $40,000 (50%) to $60,000 (75%). That is just to replace one employee. Other studies would say this number is conservative.

It gets worse. If you lose two employees, it is double that number. Lose ten employees and the cost is in the hundreds of thousands, much of this caused by the effects of poor supervision. Not included are other effects of poor supervision – poor morale, low motivation, low productivity, poor quality work, late work. The list goes on and on. For a quick primer on the real financial and organizational cost of turnover, check out this article from the Huffington Post Blog, February 11, 2017.

My Bias

I know I should not be biased, but when it comes to the need for supervisory training, I have some strong, well substantiated beliefs.

Fazzi has done more supervisory trainings and implemented more supervisory management models in agencies across the country than any firm.  I believe I have personally interacted with more supervisors than almost anyone else in home care, hospice and private duty fields. I have written books on supervision, continually researched it and focused on it in my doctoral program. I have done trainings on our model for over 35 years with groups of supervisors ranging from 10, to one time in Washington, DC where there were well over 500 supervisors in the training. I believe I really know the realities of supervision.

So what is my bias? I believe the vast majority of supervisors want to do a good job. They want to be supportive to their staff. They want their staff to be successful and they want to be successful. And for most leaders who at some point in their career moved up to become a supervisor, they moved into this new position with pride, excitement, and some trepidation but with a clear commitment of wanting to succeed.

In most organizations what these newly appointed supervisors get is a higher salary, more responsibility, a change in their role from being line staff to the person who must support and motivate line staff, along with the realization that they are ultimately responsible for ensuring their line staff complete all required tasks in a timely and quality manner.

What newly appointed supervisors also quickly learn is, “what” they have to do, not “how” to do it. How many supervisors reading this post are ready to jump forward and proclaim that your organization provided you with the training you needed to become a successful supervisor? And how many of you in senior management can attest that you have helped to ensure that your supervisors are well trained?

The Answer and the Opportunity

Why has the demand for supervisory training grown so much? The answer is simple: more and more agency leaders have come to the realization that they can’t afford to lose good staff. Every time they lose a good employee, it affects the quality of the services and the morale of those who remain in the organization. And as every CFO and HR Director can tell you, every time you lose a good employee, one that you wanted to keep and under the right circumstances could have kept, it will cost you money, lots of money.

Look at the major home care and hospice companies in our field. Look at every one of them! They have all developed programs or training institutes geared to training and supporting their supervisors and managers. They know their future is dependent upon having optimal support for every employee in their agency. How do you have optimal support? By having supervisors trained in providing that support.

And here is one other fact that leaders in more sophisticated organizations will tell you, “When you have an agency-wide, consistent supervisory model, you have the foundation for creating a fully aligned management system. Managing the agency and initiating change becomes easier and is more predictable.”

All supervisors use the same language. They talk in the same manner about the competency level of employees. HR has a consistent means for initiating employee performance appraisals. You can even develop a single database that tracks all employees using the same measurable standards. With everyone using the same model, it is far easier to determine how to best initiate change since all supervisors will be approaching the effort with their staff using the same strategies for getting support within the parameters of a consistent supervisory model.

As the demands and risks from CoP, Pre-Claim Review, VBP and threats from RACs and the other oversight bodies increase, agencies need the best talent possible, not just with clinicians but with all staff in all departments. The best way to ensure optimal performance is to have trained and motivated supervisors who know how to support, motivate, retain and hold staff accountable. Highly trained supervisors know how to assess the competency levels of their employees, how to delegate responsibilities and most importantly, how to hold staff accountable.

So, what is the answer? Simple! Invest in training your supervisors. If your effort results in the retention of just one employee in one year, the money you save will pay for the training. Save two or more staff and it will improve your bottom line. Whether you go for a complete program like Fazzi’s complete supervisory management model, use another program or simply start doing trainings yourself, do it. You will ultimately retain staff, increase motivation and productivity, increase staff competency and increase accountability agency-wide. What more could you ask for.


For Information on Fazzi’s on-site and on-line supervisory training programs and the Fazzi Complete Supervisory Management System, contact us.