Practice Management

Spyglass Spotlight #5 | Training Plan and Retention

Training a new employee and developing a comprehensive training plan go hand-in-hand. Developing new skills or new practices come with time and ensuring that resources are readily available to staff.
Published 6.22.2023

Equally important is to keep your training plan up to date with ongoing changes in your practice and the industry at large.

Establish goals and objectives when building a training plan. Think about how you would answer these questions when starting your training plan:

  • What training is needed to successfully perform in this specific position with autonomy?
  • What are the success metrics for this position and how do you quantify these metrics?

Deciding what tools and resources to use for a training plan is essential even before the hiring process begins. If you understand what skills and knowledge your new hire has to have to be successful, then it’s easier to understand what you’re looking for in the skill set they bring to the table.

Gathering content and using a collection of resources is a useful way to assist in the overall success and a mutually rewarding outcome. To start, establish your training goals, the outcome of training exercises while ensuring that it is measurable. An example of a core training plan can fall into these categories:

  • Schedule
  • Materials and resources
  • Timeline and outcomes

Offering hands-on, online, shadowing and physical training materials will accelerate the success of your new employee in internalizing processes and skills in a more effective way. Ideally, this approach will provide the new employee with more confidence and empower them with the knowledge to be an asset sooner.

Building your new hire to be a support for the rest of the team and by extension your patients as efficiently as possible is a benefit to all parties concerned.


Online training consists of online courses with ongoing assessments. Training can be presented with reading material, videos and quizzes.

Here are few examples of eLearning courses:


Suggesting this to new or even established team members can be met with groans and eye-rolls, but if this type of training is established as a common practice it becomes both easier and tremendously fruitful.

Role-playing can bring significant value to each individual regardless of experience, skill or knowledge. It's a great way to introduce new concepts, verbiage, processes and check for understanding.


A fun and engaging way to promote team building, workshops are a great way to establish new skills and hone those that are used less often. This also allows you to leverage the different skill levels, strengths, and knowledge bases of your individual team members to strengthen the rest.

In the longer term, it’s a huge benefit to your practice to routinely assess potential mentorship opportunities and to further solidify the team’s trust in one another.

On the job training

This is the most common approach in your average independent eye care practice. A more organic approach to training allows the new hire to see first hand the kinds of situations that the team faces on a day to day basis.

The skills necessary to solve those problems come more gradually and more naturally, often helping employees understand the cause and effect of their knowledge and role within the practice.


We all have different learning styles and there is no silver bullet that will train everyone at the same pace with the same impact. Offering different training approaches is to your advantage because it gives everyone the best opportunity to succeed.

1-on-1 training can lower the perception of pressure that a new hire can feel especially when embarking on a new career in a new field. This approach should create a more comfortable environment to retain information and ask questions, as compared to a group setting.


Shadow training offers a considerable amount of insight on operational actions and helps with the new hire’s perception of overall expectations. Exposing a new hire to a live interaction is a key element of effective training.

By doing this, it can better acquaint them to grasp their role and be a more efficient part of the team.

Training and retention

The extensive amount of time, effort, energy and manpower that you must invest in a new hire is not to be taken lightly. Hiring employees comes at a cost, both direct and indirect; losing employees likewise comes at a cost.

It can be particularly frustrating to put in all this work only to have your new team member put in their notice for a simpler position, or even worse: to ghost your practice and leave you in the lurch.

An unspoken reason new employees leave their position is feeling unprepared for and/or overwhelmed by the position. It's unfortunately common for practices to fly by the seat of their pants as it relates to training.

New hires especially may not have the confidence to share when they don't understand something, as that takes a fair amount of courage to vocalize to your leadership.

As we laid out in Part 1 of this series, this is a professional relationship that should be a two way street. Your training and communication in general should communicate to your staff in a way they’re prepared to receive it, and your expectations of your staff should reflect that.

Be open, be receptive, be collaborative, be professional, and watch your practice become more successful.

Employees look for employers that offer a quality environment in which to work, respectful wages and benefits, and a work culture they’re excited to step into every day.

Jesenia Starnes
Jesenia Starnes, Account Manager - Anagram
Prior to joining Anagram, Jesenia managed multiple practices as Director of Operations, consulting practice owners and staff on daily operations. Throughout her two decades of experience in eye care, Jesenia has developed and oversaw staff training for the largest independent practice in Colorado. Jesenia is a dedicated and passionate professional who strives to support eye care leaders and staff to reach their vision of success.

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