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C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2021 / Winter 2022)

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A new year, a new training schedule

By Darin Challacombe, Manager of Training and Development, ScanSTAT Technologies

It’s nearly January 1, 2022. Every new year brings new responsibilities. For corporate trainers, the beginnings of a new year bring about a requirement for a training calendar. This means they have to play Nostradamus and predict the future to some degree. Corporate trainers must also anticipate supporting their usefulness to fiscally responsible C-Suite members. A new year can be rough.

This year has been almost as interesting for me as 2020. If you are like me, you started the year with the impression you may be going back into the office sometime. I haven’t yet (nor do I expect to go back into the office anymore). I started 2021 with a training calendar, goals, and dreams. Within five months, this had changed. I was only able to accomplish about 40% of what was planned for the year. There were multiple reasons why: changes to the organizational structure, a focus on greater productivity for rank-and-file employees, and several high-profile acquisitions.

Figure 1.  Working Laptop (by Geralt on Pixabay)

Preparing for a new training calendar year

My list of pending projects is still hanging on my wall. And, as I begin planning for 2022, I thought of few things I have found helpful preparing for a new training calendar year:

(1)  Prioritize your compliance training. Whatever the industry, there are bound to be some required annual compliance courses. They may be as ubiquitous as anti-phishing or internet security awareness ones. Or, they may be something you’ll have to report to a government agency. Whatever the scenario, prioritize these first. They should always be on the schedule first. It doesn’t mean they have to be done in January, but at least have them on the schedule first so you know when they will be developed and administered. My current company’s cadence for compliance training has it done annually in November, but I started working on the courses in September.

Another key point with this tip is to implement annual training. If your current company does not have a requirement for annual compliance courses, push for some. Phishing is not an esoteric topic. Courses on harassment will put you in a good light with the HR team (and help to prevent lawsuits for your company down the line).

(2)  Ensure equity among different types of employees. Supervisors and managers need training just as much as other employees. The C-Suite have training needs. My corporate trainer colleagues and I often focus mostly on the rank-and-file employees only. While it is good to provide them with development courses, supervisors, managers, and executive leadership need to be developed as well. Now, I know it is often difficult to get executive leadership to actually complete training, but that doesn’t mean you should skip them when you are planning out your training calendar.

Supervisor and managers are, in my opinion, the ones that need the most training. They must interact with employees on a regular basis. This person wants off early, this person thinks another coworker is gossiping about them behind their back, etc. Being a supervisor or manager is hard work. They need further development on emotional intelligence, agenda-setting, and performance improvement planning. Yet, these types of employees are often overlooked.

(3)  Respect the business case. As a corporate trainer, I am a non-productive expenditure. I like to believe that the work I do helps to build greater efficiency and effectiveness among employees, and, ultimately helps improve the bottom line. However, executive leadership may not always see it that way. You need to understand this key point. This should be something on your mind when you are proposing new training agendas or setting up your calendar. You must be prepared to make a business case.

It does help if you have a direct manager who understands this point and the benefit of training (like I do). I do not have to spin my wheels much to convince others about what I do and why it needs to happen. I am prepared to make a business case if I need to. I am also prepared to have executive leadership give me a red light for certaining training initiatives. This happened this year, actually. I have my work and business case documented.

(4)  Leverage outside resources. If you’re like me, you’re a “lone wolf” corporate trainer. You do not have a backup. You must do everything. My colleagues find it interesting that I am the LMS administrator, instructional designer, and also am an integral part of the HR team. Yet, I love the challenge. All said, I do have some outside resources that I can leverage. I work a lot with our privacy and security team—they can help to provide me with support.

I also am not afraid to ask for access to the right tools for the job. I know I can request access to new systems if they are necessary. I have a small budget that I can manipulate around for needs. I can also utilize vendors for specific needs. Why should I develop out a course on customer service when there is a vendor with a pre-packaged one that is budget-friendly?

(5)  Don’t be afraid to say “no”. I hate telling stakeholders “no”. I would rather be over-challenged, over-worker than to say no. Over the past few years, I have gotten better at saying “no” when I need to. It is necessary to set boundaries up. You should have a good idea about the amount of time required to complete certain training endeavors. If you do not have the time or the money/resources to complete them, then push back on the request. A simple “no” may make a big difference for you.

Figure 2.  Planning (by inspireus on Pixabay)

(6)  Stick with the schedule. As mentioned above, this was something that I failed to do completely this year. The first few months were good, but after April and several pushbacks from executive leadership, I did not stick with it. That said and for the time I was actually following it, I did make it a habit to go in weekly to review the schedule and ensure that I was on track with the training. I would look at the next few months and start developing training.

Calendars make it so easy to stick to a schedule. I am not afraid to put placeholder times on my calendar to work on certain projects. It is worth it to have the peace-of-mind on your schedule.


It is my desire that these six tips will be helpful as you start your new year and develop out your new training schedule.

About the Author

Darin Challacombe is ScanSTAT Technologies’ Manager of Training and Employee Development. He is a member of the Human Resources team and oversees all educational opportunities for the company. He has worked in educational space since 2002, and has focused on Health Information Management and Release of Information for the past three years. Mr. Challacombe has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and is on the adjunct faculty for Fort Hays State University. Prior to ScanSTAT,

Dr. Challacombe has worked as a grant-writer for a not-for-profit and for the Department of Justice. He serves on two boards – as Treasurer for the Association of Health Information Outsourcing Suppliers (AHIOS) and on the board of Global Ties Kansas City, a not-for-profit organization connecting the USA to the world. He is a regular volunteer with the KKFI 90.1 Kansas City Community Radio station, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, and several other organizations in Kansas City serving individuals experiencing homelessness and immigrants.

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