At Ethena, we know better than most how intimidating it can be to get people excited about compliance training. So if you’re an admin facing down the prospect of rolling out multiple required trainings in 2024, we not only feel for you — but we’re here to help.
In case we haven’t met before, we’re Ethena, and we’ve made compliance our business. Literally. We have a full catalog of courses (including one of our latest, Cybersecurity Awareness, which is also bundled with a phishing simulator 🎣), an intuitive LMS, a Team Insights dashboard, an employee hotline and case management system, and lots of other tools that modern teams turn to for their one-stop compliance needs.
We also have a VP of People, Melanie Naranjo, who shares her thought leadership both internally and externally (have you checked out her LinkedIn yet?), and was kind enough to talk us through how she thinks about scheduling up to four training courses a year.
So if you’re looking at your 2024 training calendar scratching your head about how to fit it all in, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you figure out what’s feasible and how to drop up to four trainings in a single year — without grinding productivity to a halt.
How to approach your 2024 training schedule
Let’s face it. Nobody loves compliance training — not even HR — so when you and your team need to push for high completion rates, there may not be much oomph behind that initiative. But since that strategy can mean leaving training until the verrrrrry last second, it needs a rethink.
Melanie recommends reframing training for yourself not as a chore but as an opportunity; this is your chance to show off your business savvy and build relationships with stakeholders by demonstrating that your needs are in alignment with theirs. (Which, by the way, is the opposite of what we do when we kick training requirements down the road until they collide with busy, end-of-quarter schedules when folks are trying to get things wrapped up.)
- When do you tend to experience the most challenges within your team? (For example, maybe it makes sense to send out some trainings in November in advance of end-of-year celebrations, so company policies are top-of-mind.)
Start with some big-picture questions for your leadership team
So what’s the alternative? We’re so glad you asked. Instead of bringing the completed plan to your leadership team and hoping to get their sign-off after the fact, involve major stakeholders closer to the beginning of the planning process. And even more crucially, be willing to meet them halfway.
Start the conversation with an acknowledgement that there are other business priorities in competition with training, and those priorities need to be balanced. Then move on to some fact-finding questions to light your way. Stuff like:
- When are there lulls in the 2024 schedule?
- If there aren’t lulls, then when would be the least detrimental time? (Or, if you’re having trouble isolating even that, you can also start with the most detrimental times and work backward from there.)
- How is the PTO schedule looking? If there are chunks of time when a bunch of folks are planning to be out, scheduling training for then could mean a lot of chasing people down and wasting your breath.
- Would your stakeholders prefer to get all the training done in one go, or space them out?
- What are the existing pain points, if any? Maybe it’s something with an easy fix like no one knows where to log in or the content sucks. (In which case the easy fix is switching to Ethena, just saying!) The more data you have, the better equipped you are to address the situation that’s affecting your completion rates.
- How can we partner on this to make training more of a priority for employees? Have leadership take the training first and share their thoughts? Host a screening or put time on the calendar? Let your exec team know that you’re here to help.
These are some suggestions to get you started, but the main point is that your decision-making process doesn’t need to happen in a silo. The closer it comes to a joint effort, the more likely you are to have the executive buy-in you need from the get-go.
Offer your exec team a suite of options to choose from
Once you have some answers to your bigger questions framed out, you should be able to lay out the pros and cons for a few different cadences. Like these three, for example.
Option 1: All in one go
This could look like a single quarter or even a single month — although frankly, we think a month could be a bit excessive. The quarterly option is the one we’ve chosen at Ethena, as we’ve found focusing one quarter on training is the method that’s least disruptive to employee experience and existing admin workload.
Melanie notes that stacking training in this way makes it much easier for her to track on the admin end, as nothing slips through the cracks and training is top-of-mind for managers. And since we typically do our trainings at the start of the year, there’s a built-in reminder system when we come back from our holiday break.
And we’ve heard from our employees that spacing the training out to be roughly one per month (potentially with a rolling training happening all quarter long) keeps the schedule manageable. To make it even more feasible, Melanie recommends that you replace, don’t add.
No matter what cadence you’re working off of, find the equivalent time in existing meetings … and cancel them. 🤯
At Ethena, that can mean canceling an All-Hands or a Team Activity to make sure we’re hearing people when (and if) they say they don’t have time.
An example of what all-in-one-go can look like
Just to give you a basic template for what this can look like, at Ethena we had a training focus for Q1 2023, with:
- January — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- February — Harassment Prevention
- March — Cybersecurity Awareness
- And then rolling manager trainings (the real-life version of our Management Essentials training) that happened throughout the quarter.
To help support your team throughout, use Melanie’s hack of removing an hourlong meeting for every hour of training assigned.
Option 2: Spread it out throughout the year
If knocking it all out at once is a no-go, maybe you’d like to spread the training out throughout the year, with four trainings spaced out at the beginning of each quarter: January, April, July, and October.
The pros there: you aren’t battling training fatigue, as the assignments don’t feel like as much when they’re spread out. Also, you’re keeping topics relevant and a part of discussion year round.
The cons: in Melanie’s words, this is an admin nightmare. You’ll get the same questions every time — ”I don’t know how to log-in,” “I thought I already took care of this,” etc. etc. etc. You’ll also have to get buy-in from stakeholders repeatedly instead of just once.
Option 3: A hybrid of the two
Finally, there’s the Goldilocks version — a combination of the two methods we’ve already discussed. In this option, you’d do half of your training at one point in the year and then six months later, it’d be time for the second half.
So if you do the first chunk in January, you’d wrap things up in July; a bookending of the year that brings along the pros and cons of the two options that inform it.
One more thing…
We know we said “finally” back there, but there is one more option that we can’t personally recommend … but that we do have empathy for. This option is an even more extreme version of “all-at-once,” cramming multiple hours of training into a single week or stretch of days. You can theoretically do this, but we really only suggest it for companies with no other choice.
Organizations within the healthcare industry, for example, often face quite a robust compliance component, with anywhere from 12 to 40 hours of training and certifications that need to be completed annually. In that specific situation, sure, you might need to rip the Bandaid off and do everything at once, it’s just not for the average company, as it’s destructive to regular business, tough to get buy-in for, and is likely to overwhelm employees to the point that they may not even be able to pay attention.
Ethena is here to meet all your 2024 compliance needs
Reach out to a member of our sales team today to see a demo, explore our pricing page on your own, or enroll (for free!) in our In Good Company training to hear even more from Melanie on one of the topics she knows best — management.