Annual planning cycles often begin in late summer for most companies. August is a great time to being developing your budget, drafting your strategy, and thinking about the skills you'll need for your program, either by up-skilling your existing team or developing a hiring plan.
These are good things to do in Q3:
1. Build your budget for Customer Education
In Q3, your finance team will be comparing budget requests from all the departments in your organization. Now is a good time to use the remaining budget you have left and make a plan for the coming year. Build a month by month plan that includes all your software, resourcing, and travel expectations.
It helps to also estimate your revenue impact. By putting your costs and impact in terms of dollars, it is easier to compare your program to other competing initiatives.
When budgets are tight, contract resources are often looked on favorably as a way to remain flexible while investing in growth.
We developed this Training Program Budget Calculator to help you build out your plan. It is a flexible, easy to use sheet that has all the essential inputs and graphs needed to tell your story.
(Opens Google Sheet. Make a copy)
2. Create your strategy
Every 6 months you should be reassessing the performance of your program, once in February and again in August. Why at these times? Because in February (mid-Q1) you're likely building presentations for company all-hands sessions and executive alignment meetings. While collecting the information together for those, simply use it as an opportunity to decide which initiatives to push. And in Q3, it helps to take measure of your commitments and then determine which programs should persist into the new year.
Your strategic assessment should consist of at least the following:
Program Maturity Assessment
Gap analysis for resourcing and team
Update your Roadmap
Refresh the "Walking around deck" for your team
Build your Customer Education Strategy in a Workshop
Join one of the monthly Strategy Workshops to quickly develop key parts of your strategic analysis and roadmap. These are intensive, hands-on sessions that help you or your team leaders move quickly on your planning cycle.
See upcoming sessions here:
Assess your team with the Customer Education Maturity Model
One of the key activities to conduct when doing a strategic analysis is to apply the Customer Education Maturity Model to your team and identify where investment will have the greatest impact. Often teams are missing key components of their holistic strategy, such as data architecture investments, which end up making the rest of your dollars less productive. By leveling up your team to a common stage of maturity, you will make every next dollar spent go further.
To download the Customer Education Maturity Model, view it here:
3. Build a resource plan
There are three common elements of a resourcing plan, all of which measure your current skills and capacity against your expected needs. Those elements are:
Growth plans for existing team members
Gaps that need Full Time Employees (FTEs)
Gaps that can be filled with contractors
Create a leveling guide for your team
Ensuring your team is aligned and has a clear path forward for professional growth is essential. Only focusing on the projects and not your people can lead to losses of productivity or even the loss of the team member themselves. Take this time to create a leveling guide to help clarify groth paths for your team as well as agreed on performance for roles you expect to hire. Your People Ops team will love you for this. Use the template below to help in this project.
Download the Customer Education Job Leveling Guide:
Plan your FTE and Contract hires
Use this Customer Education team structure guide to help identify how to strategically build your team, allowing your to focus on the right hire for the right phase of growth.
There are typically two types of contact hires:
Staff augmentation often consist of specialized skills such as Instructional Designers or project based work. These types of contract workers allow you. to expand and scale your team to meet the needs of temporary projects to as capacity is constrained during certain development phases.
Strategic Advisory contractors are often program leaders that help your team leads develop skills quickly. Think of these. as "phone a friend" resources who will help your team develop a strategy or direction quickly. Common program applications include
Auditing an existing program
Developing executive or team alignment
Building a certification program
Expanding into new markets
Content strategy support
Learn about the Strategic Advisory solutions offered by Learning Outcomes