Monthly Archives: September 2015

Maintaining a Consistently Competent Workforce

What are the benefits?

– Reduced exposure to risk of serious incidents

– Identify currently qualified staff regardless of their location

– Rapid build and deployment of new teams or workgroups

– Visibility of upcoming assessments or licensing requirements

– Roll-back capability to evidence competence of any individual at any given time

– Reduced time, cost and resource involved in issue resolution or litigation

– Easily generate management and audit level reports

– Identify gaps and issues in current workforce competence or qualification

– A direct and real time connection into your existing learning resources and platforms


What’s the Problem?

Organisations that operate in high risk industries with a mobile, disparate or fluid workforce are often frustrated by the inability to identify individual employees who are currently qualified, licenced or capable of carrying out a given task or operation.

Holding a record of employee certificates and licences is not enough when you need to be confident that the people you select today are currently qualified, licenced and trained and will work or deliver in the way you need them to.

For those operating in regulated industries, the ability to prove compliance and competence of each individual at a specific time and date, will prove critical in meeting industry standards and also in reducing the significant cost, time and resource involved in any incident related litigation or enquiry.


How could you Solve it?

Using Cognisco’s my*KNOW platform organisations can quickly and easily add and build competency frameworks. Collating and managing certifications and licences for each individual is easy and keeping a track of assessments taken, learning and development requirements identified and upcoming courses, events or activities by individual and by team is simple.

Each individual can keep a track of their own progress, can record and evidence their own skills and certificates, take online assessments and find and access any appropriate learning or development material they require.

Providing a clear and auditable trail of employee competence and accreditation at any point in time proves invaluable for both meeting regulatory compliance and in significantly reducing the cost and time involved in any incident related litigation.

So, identifying the currently qualified or licenced individuals in an organisation is now straightforward and building them into work groups or teams is a simple “drag and drop” exercise.


How can you be sure?

Traditional assessment processes fail to uncover what an individual actually understands about how, when and why they should apply the knowledge (or training) they have been given in practical day to day terms. This means that even those who score highly on post training assessments may well apply their recently acquired knowledge incorrectly when faced with a real life situation.

Over the course of 20 Years and countless thousands of assessments, Cognisco are able to evidence that on average up to 30% of any workforce will unwittingly have a low enough level of understanding to place the organisation at significant risk.

Where required, Cognisco’s unique approach to employee assessment evidences where there are hidden gaps in each individual’s understanding of any given subject or process that may pose a risk to your operation.


What will we do?

– Work with you to review your current Competency Frameworks /help you build them if you don’t have them today and upload then into our my*KNOW platform in just a few hours.

– Help you integrate any existing employee certifications, records or related documents

– Create the real time links into your existing data and knowledge platforms to enable employees to get the specific learning and insight they need – fast.


Where appropriate

– Deliver an assessment that will discover and expose the specific gaps in employee understanding that may pose a risk to your operation.

– Provide your staff with my*KNOW to access and take small, regular and focussed assessments and direct them to the specific learning tools and information they need to plug any gaps.

– Provide your team leaders and managers my*KNOW’s intuitive dashboard reporting to enable then to identify and address development or coaching issues before they become a problem.

– Enable the wider organisation to structure, plan and budget training for the future and to manage, monitor and mitigate any potential risks with my*KNOW reports.


Would you like to know more?


Or call us directly: 01234 757520



Are You Delivering Consistently Excellent and Person-Centred Care?


Cognisco’s easy to implement, robust and effective Dementia Care program provides you with the insight and evidence you need:

1. Maximising the potential of your existing workforce
2. Meeting the provisions of the Care Act
3. Providing Board Assurance and Supporting Governance
4. Reducing the Risk of Incidents and harm
5. Safeguarding your Reputation
6. Better Recruitment and Workforce Planning
7. Getting more value from your existing investments
in training, learning and development.

Read more here >

Or see the full break down of our assessment here >

Social Care, my*KNOW and our *Care Assessments

Cognisco helps organisations to maximise the potential of their people while managing and mitigating the risk posed through misplaced confidence, a lack of competence or inappropriate actions or behaviour.

Right people, right place, right time

This vital and unique insight into your workforce, means you can recruit manage and deploy people with the right skills and identify and address knowledge and understanding gaps and mitigate and pre-empt exposure to risk.

For Social Care providers, this means the tools they need to meet demands of the Care Act including evidencing compliance, assurance and governance and the means to develop and empower staff to deliver excellent and person centred care continuously.

Not only will you be sure that you have a team of highly competent and compassionate carers that truly understand their needs, but you will be able to prove it too.

This will mean you build a better and more productive way of working together to support the resident or services user.

So how could working with Cognisco benefit you as a provider specifically?

For your People
People are generally happier and perform better when they know and are confident that they are doing the right thing. Individuals are empowered by being recognised and identified as an “expert” and others tend to follow and gravitate towards them.

People tend to learn, retain and develop their knowledge and confidence more effectively when learning and evaluation is a consistent process rather than a bi-annual event for everyone.

It is easier for people to fix gaps in their learning themselves when they know specifically what it is they don’t understand and are given the tools to address it.
Evidence would suggest that organisations that develop their people, retain them longer.

For Management/Executive
We correlate understanding and confidence.
People who don’t understand but think they do, pose the greatest risk. This could be as high as 30% of your workforce.

Those who do understand but are too afraid to speak up when required, come a close second.

On average 20% of your people will more than likely have excellent knowledge and the confidence to use it. It is these people you use to guide and motivate others.

Board Assurance / Risk Reduction
The ability to see and evidence that all staff are currently competent and understand how to perform their role to the standards you expect of them demonstrates a promise your residents and their families.

This differs from a situation where you are able to simply say that an individual attended training on a given day. For example, currently most providers have no measure and evidence that people actually understood the training at the time, or that they currently still understand what they learned on the training.

A record of employees attending training is not the same as evidence that they are currently competent.

The ability to “roll-back” to any previous date to see evidence of an individual’s level of competence and training details on any day in question. For example, should an incident occur and you are required to investigate, you will have the records to hand to evidence that you have been diligent in maintaining a good level of competence and understanding across the organisation.

As and when you are audited, you will have these records and reports to hand and will be able to provide them easily.

Better Recruitment and Workforce Planning
Current values-based recruitment approaches do not take into account an individual’s understanding of Person Centred Care or give you any real indication of how the person is likely to act or behave in any given circumstance. By asking candidates to take a Cognisco Care assessment, you will know accurately what they know and how they are likely to work with your residents in an hour or less.

This reduces your risk in recruiting them considerably.
By having an accurate and up to date view across your entire operation you will be far better placed to make decisions around workforce planning and deployment.

More from your existing investments in L&D and Development
Our online assessments will tell you which parts of your current training course/materials are working well and which need improvement. By regularly assessing people you will only need to invest in training or manage those people who you know have knowledge or understanding gaps through regular observations.

The assessments can link to existing training or learning materials. As the assessment identifies gaps in people’s knowledge it will direct them to the relevant learning materials so that they can improve.

The Cognisco my*KNOW system does not replace your existing systems it simply provides a more informed lens across them all and gives you one view of all your people data.

Better People Development
The data and insight provided by my*KNOW will enable you to target your training and development activities more accurately. This means you will be developing individuals based on their specific needs (Person Centred Development) and requirements, rather than providing costly and often ineffective, blanket training.

Cognisco has seen organisations make significant and dramatic savings by working in this manner. We also believe that taking this approach is likely to improve staff retention rates too.

Market Advantage
Every care provider says they provide excellent and Person Centred Care and many claim they are experts in Dementia Care.

By working with Cognisco, you will now be able to prove it.


Find out more about our leading Dementia Care assessment here


For more information and to arrange further discussion contact:

Giuliano Zanchi: Health & Social Care Programme

T: 01234 756092



Will more skills training for call centre agents improve customer satisfaction?

New research from the Call Centre Management Association and recruitment company, MERJE has revealed that as many transactional activities previously carried out by contact centres have moved online, customers are getting used to self-service and their behaviour is changing.

The research highlights that customers’ expectations of customer service have risen and call centres today are dealing with more complex issues than before, including customer complaints.

Current Environment

Thanks to technology, consumers are using multiple channels to interact with companies – from the phone, to online through web chats and screen-to-screen chat rooms and social media. This has made consumer engagement more challenging for organisations and in many cases increase their exposure to risk and the potential of reputational damage if things go wrong. These risks are further heightened if a call centre agent doesn’t fully understand the training they have been given or if they have knowledge gaps or they aren’t applying their knowledge in the right way when handling customers.

Ann-Marie Stagg, chief executive of CCMA, said to OnRec magazine: “The Contact Centre industry is changing and, in order to meet demand and customer needs, it’s vital that people are well trained to handle more complex enquiries. Failure to do so could result in damaging our industry’s reputation.”

Neil Johns, managing consultant of the contact centre division at MERJE, added: “The skill-set required is becoming more specialist and the day-to-day job requirements are more complex.”

More Training?

Many organisations are providing more comprehensive skills training for their staff so they can better handle complex customer enquiries, but is this approach enough to deliver the standards of excellence that will satisfy today’s discerning customers?

In our experience delivering more skills based training is only part of the answer as it doesn’t tend to get to the heart of the problem. An agent can go through many different training programmes but unless they are tested on how well they apply this training and knowledge, it may just prove ineffective.

More important than training is uncovering the root causes of the issues and identifying and addressing any skills gaps. Everyone is different so the key it to understand what specific training is needed for each individual and how competent and confident they really are when they are handling customer queries and complaints.

Uncovering the root cause

To achieve customer service excellence and uncover the root causes of behaviour on the job companies need to start by looking not at what people know but rather identifying specifically what they don’t understand.

They can do this using employee assessments designed to test and measure advisors in realistic ‘on the job’ situations. The results will highlight knowledge gaps and unacceptable behaviour giving managers a clear picture of strengths and weaknesses of every individual.

Once gaps in understanding have been identified, companies can design specific interventions, avoiding the one-size fits all approach to training and provide appropriate learning media and resources to address it.

It is clear that with the changing customer behaviour, training for call centre agents will need to evolve. Our advice to companies is to look at the type of training they offer rather than provide skills based training and hope for the best. Today’s consumer is more demanding, and call centre agents need not to have the knowledge and confidence about all aspects of their role to ensure customer satisfaction.

People – the sine qua non


Owen Ashby, programme lead for health and social care at Cognisco Ltd, says a non-executive director on a CCG recently told him: “For an organisation that is so wholly reliant on its people, it is simply breathtaking how little the NHS knows about them.” Here, Ashby explores the consequences of that failure.

The NHS is awash with data, information, reports and statistics. The problem, however – and a source of significant frustration for many executives across the sector, commissioners and providers alike – is that pretty much all of it relates to processes. Just about none of it provides any real-time or meaningful insight about the people we rely on to operate those processes.

Read more here >

Caring for the dying needs more than ‘tick-box’ guidelines

In July, NHS England’s health watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) put forward new draft guidance for caring for the dying.

Consultation on the guidelines finished in September and it’s expected the full recommended guidelines will be published in December. The guidelines are designed to be an alternative to the controversial Liverpool Pathway that was developed during the 1990s and phased out in 2014.

The aim of the Liverpool Pathway was to ensure people had a dignified and comfortable death, and offered a checklist to ensure patients were free from invasive procedures and medications that were no longer necessary.


However, it has been criticised for being a “tick-box exercise” that left some patients vulnerable. An independent government review published this year found that some patients were left thirsty, without food and treatment and some were being looked after by inexperienced staff. According to reports, whilst the Liverpool Pathway itself was sound, some staff may not have been following its recommendations correctly.

NICE’s guidelines take a more patient-centred approach focusing on the importance of staff recognising when a person is in the last days of their life, recommending information that should be gathered at this time, including clinical signs and symptoms, the person’s medical history and their wishes. According to NICE, the assessment of their clinical state should be made on a team basis and not just by one individual and should be reviewed every 24 hours.


To improve palliative care, Trusts will need to be confident that these guidelines can be followed and applied by every member of staff in every situation and for this to happen, a new approach to training and assessment is needed.

Staff carrying out the patient assessments will not only need to be competent and trained, they will need to be able to apply their knowledge and training correctly in every situation to ensure the best level of care is provided for patients in the final days of their life.

One of the common problems facing the NHS is that too often training is a ‘one size fits all’ and not tailored to the specific needs of members of staff.  The training is untargeted and not guaranteed to address knowledge gaps which could place patients at risk.

Correlating Competence with Confidence

Another more effective approach would be to introduce situational judgements assessments that correlate competence and confidence levels and measure how people think, behave and act in every aspect of their jobs. These kinds of assessments highlight risk factors – for example if someone is highly knowledgeable but not confident they might make the wrong decision under pressure or worse, if someone is confident but incompetent, they may put their patients at great risk.

This approach to identifying and measuring People Risk has already been adopted by one NHS Trust maternity unit, where improving health and safety practices was high on the agenda. The Unit had experienced a rise in the number of cases of women suffering from postpartum haemorrhage.

Analysis of such incidents highlighted the need for staff to be able to anticipate, recognise and respond immediately to women at risk of rapid clinical deterioration in order to improve patient safety and reduce the likelihood of major obstetric haemorrhage.

We developed a specialist online assessment tool to evaluate midwives and doctors in simulated acute clinical situations. The assessment evaluated factors including people’s communication skills and decision making, their ability to spot risks, the handover to other colleagues and how they would escalate a situation, amongst other factors.

Since the introduction of these assessments the Trust has seen a measurable decline in patient safety incidents.

Improving palliative care is essential, but it’s only by identifying and mitigating their People Risks that the NHS will truly be able to do this; guidelines and processes alone will not be sufficient.