European Union of Private Hospitals

EPHA awards 2023 – Workplace excellence

1st prize, Hospital Da Luz, Lisbon (Portugal)

Hospital Da Luz created a training program aiming to create new career opportunities, enhance organizational and individual learning, improve effectiveness and performance, and foster beneficial changes in personal and organizational behavior.

What makes your project so special?

This project is special for several reasons. Firstly, its innovative approach and utilization of cutting-edge technology creates an engaging and immersive onboarding experience that accelerates the learning curve. Secondly, the integration of simulation scenarios replicates real-life situations, enabling employees to develop essential technical and non-technical skills that are vital in delivering the highest quality of service to patients. Lastly, the project’s emphasis on effective communication, collaboration, and teamwork aligns with the goal of enhancing patient safety and improving the quality of care provided by the organization.

What does this award mean to you and your teams?

This award is a significant validation of our team’s hard work and innovation in creating an outstanding onboarding and learning experience. It motivates us to continue pushing boundaries and striving for excellence in our programs. We are proud of this achievement and will use it as a catalyst for further improvement and positive impact in our organization and the healthcare industry.


Hospital da Luz values the critical role that customer service assistants play in creating positive first impressions for customers and ensuring smooth non-clinical and clinical operations. However, a shortage of qualified candidates in the labor market has made it challenging to fill these positions with skilled professionals. To address this issue, the hospital has developed a training program that prepares new hires for their roles and offers opportunities for career advancement.

The training pathways aim to align the training path with the professional path, integrate training methodologies that optimize access and maximize learning effectiveness, and develop and monitor learning in a simulated environment and on-the-job training. They also define and monitor objectives and KPIs to evaluate the effective transfer of learning to daily practice and enable the achievement of progressive performance levels that align with professional development and business needs.

The training pathway for customer service assistants consists of six main stages, ranging from beginners with less than one year of experience to coordinators of administrative or financial services with more than eight years of experience. The initial training program is a three-week program consisting of theoretical and practical sessions, on-the-job training, and technical training in digital tools.

The intermediate, advanced, master, manager, and leader stages build on the foundational training and offer comprehensive training in advanced financial activities, front and back-office operations, human resources management, leadership, and strategic operations management. The training programs emphasize developing technical and non-technical skills, stress and emotion management techniques, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills, and mentorship support.

The hospital believes that investing in customer service assistants is critical to the organization’s success, given their proximity to customers and clinical and non-clinical staff, and their extensive knowledge of operations.


Bearing in mind that the initiative aims to develop employees’ skills and qualify them for their duties, while contributing to reducing the high turnover rate, the project’s success is best evidenced by an increase in employee retention. A 2020 analysis of the turnover rates of Customer service assistants showed that 75% of total departures occurred in the first year, suggesting that a lack of cohesive and continuous initial training and proper integration into the service might be the motivating factors for leaving. Although it is still early to assess the retention rate of employees who participated in the Training Path, it was found that as of today, 69% of those who participated in the initiative remain in the hospital.

In addition to these indicators, at the end of the first edition of the project, questionnaires were applied to the various participants in the G0: Fundamentals Training Path, namely trainees, trainers, and supervisors. When asked to evaluate the Training Path overall, 75% of trainees rated it as Very Good (5), 82% of trainers rated it as Good (4), and 60% of supervisors rated it as Good and Very Good (40%). All trainees agreed that the objectives of the Training Path had been achieved and that they would recommend this course. They rated the clarity of the objectives and the usefulness of the topics addressed as Good and Very Good. Only 25% of trainees rated the content applicability to their professional activity as Reasonable (3), while 50% rated it as Very Good, and the remaining 25% rated it as Good.

Regarding the trainers’ evaluation of the Training Path, the duration (73% rated as Good) and organization (73% rated as Good) were highlighted. They noted that the Training Path allowed new employees “more time for training and integration, providing a greater opportunity to internalize the processes of the services/unit,” and “better monitoring in knowledge acquisition, facilitating quick integration into the services.”