Prioritizing the importance of professional development has become a growing trend among companies—and for good reason. A recent Dale Carnegie survey showed that companies with engaged employees outperformed those without by up to 200 percent.  

Companies that invest in employee education have shown to improve self-development, increase productivity and lower turnover among employees. By offering continued education, employees feel more appreciated, valued and have a higher overall satisfaction with their employer.

Encompass Health – Home Health & Hospice realized the importance of education and enrichment and in 2010 created the Encompass Development Center, also known as the EDC. The EDC is a state-of-the-art learning facility created with professional development in mind. A visit to the EDC gives Encompass Health employees the opportunity to further sharpen their skills and talents through innovative and interactive educational courses.

“We believe joining the Encompass Health team isn’t a stopping point for education, but rather a starting point,” said Brittany Conley, executive director of the EDC. “The EDC is one of the ways we encourage that.” 

What goes on in the EDC?

Located in the Dallas home office, the EDC is a designated space for employees throughout the organization to receive educational coursework and professional development opportunities. With a kitchen full of drinks and snacks, two classrooms for lecture-style learning and a sitting area perfect for getting to know others at a more personal level, the EDC has all the ingredients for a fun and effective training session.

“There’s truly never a dull moment in the EDC! But it’s worth it to see employees going in and out, growing and learning,” said Conley.

From workshop-style seminars to specialized career trainings, there is something for everyone who visits the EDC. Encompass Health employees travel from all the over the country for the opportunity to grow their skills and connect with fellow employees.  

“The EDC is unique because it gives course attendees an opportunity to network with others across the organization, including home office support personnel and members of the senior leadership team,” said Conley.

Welcoming employees home

New employees receive extensive training when starting their time at Encompass Health. In addition to the in-depth onboarding process employees go through at their home health or hospice branch, employees are also eligible to attend a Foundations course at the EDC after 90 days of employment.

Foundations is a 3-5 day in-person course at the EDC with the goal of further equipping new full-time employees to achieve success by expanding their professional knowledge and inviting them to gain a deeper connection with the Encompass Health purpose. It’s also an opportunity for employees to meet senior leaders and understand key organizational objectives.

Another resource available to new clinical employees is access to certified preceptors. Certified preceptors are experienced Encompass Health employees who mentor and guide new employees for at least the first 90 days of employment. They ensure new employees understand and fulfill organizational goals and provide training on necessary skills, regulations and technology solutions.

“We would never send you out into the field or up to your desk without all the tools and skills you need to do your job The Encompass Health Way,” said Conley.

Top-level training opportunities

Another main focus of the EDC is helping employees to consistently develop their skills through specialized education based on the employee’s role. This support is shown through in-person classes, regional offerings and also webinars.

“We are committed to providing top-level education and training to help employees grow and develop their skills throughout their time at the Company,” said Conley.

Home health and hospice clinicians have access to a wide range of continuing education resources in addition to hands-on learning opportunities. The Encompass Health sales team also offers extensive training to help employees meet their goals and ensure they position the Company as a strategic partner to referral sources. Employees also have access to a Leadership Development Program that focuses on enhancing leadership and management skills.

Growing together

The EDC offers enrichment and professional growth opportunities for all job positions, including career advancement. Encompass Health has a promote-from-within mentality and aims to move existing employees into leadership positions when possible.  

“We do our best to equip employees with the tools they need to be able to fill leadership positions as they grow,” said Conley. “This creates a unique opportunity for existing team members and supports mobility within the Company.”

The EDC has also had to grow and adapt with employees in light of unexpected circumstances as well. The COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary pause on in-person classes and trainings, but the EDC team was able to quickly transition to virtual platforms to ensure employees continued to receive the enrichment and education they need.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have still been able to support the education needs of our employees across the country by moving many of our courses online,” said Conley. “While a few of our in-person classes are starting back up at the EDC, we can’t wait for the day when we can all join together again as an Encompass Health family.

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