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Health care

How Bon Secours Mercy Health prioritized soft skills and leadership in a pandemic

97.1% of frontline workers enrolled completed their coursework during the pandemic

Bon Secours Mercy Health is one of the five largest Catholic health systems in America operating 48 hospitals.


Health care
Learner roles
Frontline leaders, clinical preceptors and leaders of leaders

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“Text message learning allows us to push learning to our associates when they need it most, and where it is most accessible – right on their mobile device. The technology is easy to use, saves us time from complicated designs and delivers a big impact. We are continuing to find ways in which text message learning can transform our learning culture.”


▶️ 97.1% of learners - many deskless and responding to a pandemic - completed their courses
▶️  7.7% lasting increase in confidence in ability to apply new skills in 5 minutes a day
▶️ Frontline workers reported back that they not only completed coursework but enjoyed applying it

The challenge

This leading multinational health care system needed a way to boost soft skills among frontline leaders, clinical preceptors, and leaders of leaders who worked a variety of shifts and locations.  

Bon Secours Mercy Health knew that soft skills like emotional intelligence, ability to lead, and the ability to set goals drive organizational impact. Unfortunately, these skills can also be hard to build urgency around (particularly during a pandemic).

Challenges gathering large groups of health system staff in-person — as well as the primarily deskless nature of their jobs — rendered many training delivery methods impractical. High friction in adopting new learning tools in the past made learning leaders wary of new learning tools.

How Bon Secours Mercy Health used Arist to build soft skills across roles and locations

Bon Secours Mercy Health not only needed a way to reach learners where they were, but a method so frictionless that health care workers would spend time on developing soft skills even through the pressing moments of a pandemic.

To begin, they identified core competencies they had seen drive organizational impact. They settled on the ability to observe and manage emotions, communication skills (with coworkers and patients), and the ability to set and stick to goals.

With the building blocks of their initiative well defined, they were able to tailor small form factor lessons to be delivered once a day. Upon completion, automatic prompts to share what they had learned and applied, or reflect on work situations were sent.

By keeping content short, to the point, and conversational, Bon Secours Mercy Health was able to keep learning requests manageable for busy health staff while still driving meaningful change and data on outcomes.

Learning snapshot

❓ Text back: What has been the impact of practicing approachable leadership behavior?

It has enabled richer discussions around the associate experience and also enabled a reflective aspect before decisions are made.

Higher engagement in conversations with the team as well as more robust discussion and problem solving

I believe that my staff know that I care about them as well as the patients- and that I support them and want them to have what they need to be successful. Staff seem to be opening up more.

Selected responses exhibiting behavior change in frontline workers during a health crisis.

Impact of Arist for health care soft skills and executive function

Learners at Bon Secours Mercy Health who were assigned soft skills and executive function courses managed an astounding 97.1% completion rate as frontline workers within a pandemic. Not only did health care staff take time out of their busy schedules, but reported they greatly enjoyed the learning as they found it immediately applicable and helpful for their daily roles.

Additionally, with only a few minutes of time each day, learners reported an increase of 7.7% in their confidence to apply soft skills and executive function within their roles. Through the ability to poll learners over time, this increase was verified long past the end of the course. These skills have gone on to affect the experience of hundreds of thousands of patients as well as the quality of work of the learning cohort.

By lowering lowering frictions for learning teams and learners, Bon Secours Mercy Health has been able to rapidly improve their L&D offerings. Bon Secours Mercy Health is in the planning stages of a more aggressive roll-out of messaging-based microlearning courses.


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