What Is Cross Training?
Cross training is the process of teaching employees skills that are not part of their original job description. Many companies do not cross train their employees because it requires extra work in the short-term. However, the benefits of cross training make it an essential business activity. It can increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve employee morale. This article lists a few of the specific benefits of cross training and how to implement it.
Benefits of Cross Training
- Your business will be able to maintain productivity when an employee leaves or goes on vacation.
- You will have better scheduling flexibility because more employees know how to fill the required roles.
- You can reduce overtime costs since many employees can perform multiple functions.
- Employees will feel more valued because they are learning new skills. This can also reduce long term turnover.
- Increase overall morale of the team since associates are given new challenges.
You will likely run into instances where an employee does not want to take part in cross training. This happens for a variety of reasons. The employee may not want to learn new skills or could feel it is a waste of time. The employee may also attempt to protect their job by maintaining sole knowledge of a position or task. This must be discouraged at all costs as it threatens long term success of the company.
Successful Cross Training Techniques
- Get employee buy in. Explain why cross training will help both the company and their own careers.
- Set the expectation that every “star” employee train a backup who can step into his or her role at a moment’s notice
- Recognize and reward employees who take on new skills and positions so that the behavior is encouraged.
- Ask for feedback from the employees. Find out how cross training is impacting their job. Continue to make changes as necessary.