Hop to It

Tee up a successful new year with a targeted staff training plan. Help is ahead with our sample calendar.

Got a 2020 training plan in place yet?

To help, we’ve created a sample calendar for ongoing staff training in 2020 based on the recommendations of training-savvy ECPs and professional trainers.

Why now? As Mario Gutierrez, O.D., owner of Vision Source Alamo Heights, TX, explains, “Office meetings/training sessions will take time and there is an expense. Many doctors have told me, ‘Why train if many of our staff just end up leaving anyway?’ The correct question we should ask ourselves in 2020 is this: What if they stay...then what?”

We’ve included a variety of formats and timelines, so that you can pick and choose based on what best fits your own business.


Walk the floor. A 10-second chat with younger employees goes a long way.


Try short 10- to 15-minute staff meetings or morning huddles by department if you’re a big practice, or with the entire staff if you’re small enough.

Set a goal for the week (e.g., “This week, ask everyone if they have a family member who needs an exam or glasses and then schedule them.”)


Millennials respond best to brief—and mostly positive—conversations every couple of weeks (though they’d prefer communicating online). The goal? Informal five-minute conversations with younger/newer staffers.

Address and assess individual training needs with the department managers.


Consider closing for lunch or replacing one “appointment slot” to hold one 30-minute monthly session.

Assign one short (15 minutes or less) e-module to dispensing staff on topics like overcoming objections, asking for the sale, and building referrals.


Introduce and review one new product with show-and-tell or a best practices presentation.

Based on online modules or in-office sessions, have dispensers role-play, acting out problem-solving scenarios first with the manager and then each other. Stress both listening and speaking skills.

If someone attended an external event or program, have them share what they learned.


Invite a key supplier for a lunch-and-learn format to talk technology, product innovations, and trends—and, hopefully, bring lunch.

Review progress with individual staffers on their annual goals and certifications.

Acknowledge achievements, individual goals met, and certifications earned.


Conduct six-month reviews based on goals and open issues from the quarterly meeting. Revise individual plans as appropriate.

Survey staff anonymously on which training they’ve found most and least valuable, plus recommendations for additional formats and resources.


Send “employee(s) of the year” to a trade/association meeting. Have them bring information back and teach what they learned.

In annual reviews, assign three goals tied to training/education for each individual to meet over the next 12 months. Be specific.

Whatever the month, don’t forget to celebrate team and individual success. Nothing motivates quite like acknowledging a job well done.