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B. Braun: Communicating Test Results in a Virtual World

B. Braun: Communicating Test Results in a Virtual World

How a highly motivated team embraced the word ‘pivot’

Feature Story – By Brian R. Stahl, BSN, RN, CRNI, PLNC Mark Butsavage, MSN, RN Melissa Alleyne, BSN, RN, ONC Leianne Bowers, BSN, RN

If you have not heard or used the word “pivot” at some time during the past several months – congratulations!

Sincerely, because that likely means you already had everything under control.  You were prepared for all contingencies well before COVID-19 struck.

If the events that rocked everyone else’s professional and personal life didn’t affect you, then this article is not for you. For the rest of us, pivot has become either a friendly nudge or an evil taskmaster, demanding bricks be made without straw.

If you are like us, it’s a bit of both, depending on the time of day and what the deadline is for the newest urgent project that just came through. Regardless, this article is about how a highly self-motivated team of three people (two of them new to training) embraced the word “pivot,” and by working together delivered an outcome that was better than they could have dreamed.

The Beginning

Let’s begin, however, with some history. Before COVID (the new “BC”), our corporate trainers had an established method of communicating test class scores and a classroom evaluation to the new hire, their region manager (RM) and the field trainer (FT).

Quiz and test scores were communicated as a percentage score. Presentations were scored using a scoring rubric to provide more objectivity. This rubric would get the trainer only as far as a score window (e.g., 70-79%, 80-90%, 90-95% and 95-100%).

After determining a score window, a more subjective method was used to determine a final score. Overall, a complex method, and open to a bit more subjectivity than desired. Finally, all test and presentation scores were averaged together to come up with a single class score.

This process had become “the way we’ve always done it,” and not much changed for several years. Since the single class score determined if a new hire passed or not, this was all anyone focused on, regardless of areas for improvement defined in the individual scores or classroom evaluations.

The accepted outcome was that most region managers, field trainers and new hires simply looked at the final class score and ignored the comments and suggested actions to take as follow-up that were included within the multiple comment boxes within the two-page classroom evaluation form.


Figure 1: Revised Presentation Scores

5 Able to discuss and demonstrate to customers right now in the field without any support or assistance present.

4 Requires minimal support in the field that may follow the discussion and demo with the customer and would not require interruption during the demo to the customer for correction.

3 One or two areas for improvement. May require some clarification/interruption about the product during a demo to customer.

2 Three to five items that would require interruption for correction during a demo to customer. Would require further review and practice presentations (with field trainer or region manager) prior to presenting to a customer.

1 Six or more items that would require interruption for correction during a demo to the customer. Recommend retaking entire course or portions thereof (based on grades) and return demonstration to sales training.


Welcome to Virtual

Then along came COVID. Live classroom training had to be changed to virtual training. The ability of the corporate trainer and field trainer to personally witness a new hire in person for six or seven hours per day for four to five days in a row was over.

The classroom evaluation was no longer a useful or effective tool and forced the need to pivot to another method. A team of three corporate trainers – Mark Butsavage, Melissa Alleyne and Leianne Bowers – took it upon themselves to rework how post-class communication would be structured and what information would be shared after each of the training classes.

Quiz and test scores were still reported as individual percentages but would no longer be averaged together, forcing a more detailed look at what a new hire was achieving in specific areas. Presentation scores were revised significantly to use a Likert scale of 1-5.

Each number in the scale was provided a description that would be more applicable across multiple product categories. This removed the variations of more complex rubrics that had been in use for each of the various product lines. (See Figure 1)

It was determined that a passing score of 3 could be awarded and still acknowledge that a new hire will require work to improve in some areas, even after completing their virtual classroom training.

The more desirable scores of 4 and 5 are harder to achieve – and to achieve these scores the new hire must be able to provide their product demo, or sales presentation, in a manner that would not require any interruption or correction if that same demo or presentation had been conducted in front of a customer. Therefore, it is more common and likely that scores of 3 are awarded and notes about what improvements are needed are documented with the score that was awarded.

The region manager, field trainer and new hire no longer need to read and search through multiple feedback paragraphs to locate action items and performance improvement suggestions. These details are now provided with the score as an easily referenceable list to support coaching and follow-up in the field.

This method was tried and revised, then rolled out to all the corporate trainers in our department.

For Example

Figure 2 is a fictitious example of how this would appear in a post-class communication to the region manager, field trainer and new hire.

Since pivoting to this new post-class communication format, we have noted something unusual occurring (at least compared to our prior methodology). Our corporate trainers are receiving frequent reply emails from the new hires, field trainers and region managers, thanking them for their insights and sharing their thoughts about means to make the incremental improvements needed to not just pass a class, but also to succeed in the field.


Figure 2: Example Post-Class Communication

3 One or two areas for improvement. May require some clarification/interruption about the product during a demo to customer.

Brian was able to discuss the challenges and likely actions of which the specific call points within the account would find of value. However, he misquoted a reference to support his claims and mispronounced the procedure for which the device he was selling was to be used. It was distracting enough that a customer would likely doubt Brian’s knowledge and insights related to the information he is sharing with them.

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. We have encouraged Brian to record himself presenting this device and watch it back using the provided skills checklist to ensure he is covering all details correctly.
  2. Provide opportunities for Brian to rehearse his presentation with the FT and RM for advice and feedback paying special attention to his need to quote references accurately and pronounce the procedure correctly.
  3. Identify and schedule a customer presentation of this content to drive urgency and desire to prepare, practice and master content prior to customer visit.
  4. Debrief following customer visit to provide feedback and advice as needed.

Conclusion

Certainly, there is more to the communication after a class than just the test and presentation scores. However, the focus of this article was on the single point on which we saw a need, then worked together to pivot from how things were to a better way of how things should be.

In fact, we have already discussed and agreed that when, or if, things go back to live classroom training, this method of post-class communication will remain in place for the foreseeable future.


This article was prepared by members of the B. Braun Medical Sales Training & Clinical Education team. Brian R. Stahl, BSN, RN, CRNI, PLNC, is associate director, sales training & clinical education. Melissa Alleyne, BSN, RN, ONC, is corporate trainer. Leianne Bowers, BSN, RN, is corporate trainer II. Mark Butsavage, MSN, RN, is corporate trainer II. Email the team through brian.stahl@bbraunusa.com.

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