· Tricia Tan  · 5 min read

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Training

No matter what we do to automate and streamline workflows in the workplace, circumstances often throw a wrench into the works.

And when that happens, are you prepared to cope? Is your staff skilled to cover the absences of vital employees in the organization?

If the answer is no, then you might want to read more—let’s talk about cross-training employees and how it can help you survive even with just a skeleton staff at work.

What is cross-training?

When you recruit a new employee, you usually put them in a role with a clear set of responsibilities. When you teach an employee some of the abilities or duties of a different position inside the business, you engage in cross-training.

Cross-training involves identifying essential abilities needed for a different function and teaching those skills to other employees.

Cross-training ensures that staff members can do duties outside their primary responsibilities whenever necessary.

Companies employ this technique to improve their workforce’s productivity, adaptability, and efficiency.

For instance, you might cross-train a hired administrative assistant to understand the fundamentals of bookkeeping or payroll procedures.

This way, if the payroll person in charge is not around to process payments, the administrative assistant can substitute and ensure there won’t be any delays.

What are the benefits of cross-training?

You don’t need us to tell you that cross-training will likely take some time off your employees. But this little sacrifice is worth it because cross-training yields the following benefits:

Increases employee collaboration

Individuals with a broader range of skills can work with more workers on more projects. A highly focused worker, however, can find it more challenging to collaborate with others.

You can build a strong team more rapidly if you have a solid working knowledge of other areas of the company.

Ensures a flexible workplace

By providing cross-training to your staff, you can avoid having to rely on a small number of people for a variety of jobs.

It allows your team or department additional flexibility when one of the regular responsibility-holders is absent by teaching others to carry out those responsibilities.

You will always have a replacement available in case someone gets sick, goes on vacation, or needs to take maternity leave.

Cross-training prevents productivity loss and ensures that the team can still meet deadlines.

Boosts your employees’ motivation

By allowing staff members to grow professionally, you may demonstrate your commitment to their advancement and increase their sense of worth, confidence, and enthusiasm at work.

Additionally, doing so can maintain their interest and attention, boosting motivation.

Encourages internal hiring

Cross-trained employees pick up various skills and responsibilities that can broaden their career options inside the company.

You may more effectively match people’s strengths and skills to specific projects, departments, or new employment opportunities by conducting cross-training.

When it comes to taking on new duties that could lead to leadership positions, managers can frequently tell which cross-trained employees are most talented and motivated to do so.

Tips to get started on cross-training

Failing to cross-train correctly could lead to a number of disadvantages.

For instance, inadequate cross-training may lead a company to hire too many generalists.

When employees are given too much cross-training, they become generalists who lack expertise in any one area. That isn’t very good for the staff and the business.

Yet, it’s more likely that your personnel may perceive cross-training as an excuse for raising their tasks without being paid.

This perspective is not unfounded either. For example, many firms will cross-train to fill a position without paying and hiring another employee.

So, how do you make sure you cross-train employees properly? We listed some tips below:

Set clear goals

Identifying your goals is the first step in developing a cross-training program that will be effective.

Do you intend to improve employee engagement and job happiness or develop a backup plan for a particular position? And which groups or divisions would benefit the most from cross-training?

Prioritize cross-training for the teams that require it urgently. For instance, understaffed groups, those with the newest, least experienced people, or those actively seeking to cross-train.

Choose tasks for which to cross-train

It would be easy to cross-train employees if you could break down a job function into competencies or skills.

That way, employees are training for a particular task, not the entire function and you can avoid unnecessary feelings of competitiveness and hostility.

By conducting a job analysis, determine the crucial tasks you need cross-training for in any given role. With the job analysis, you can concentrate on your most vital duties while deferring less critical ones.

Identify qualified cross-training candidates

Not every employee will be an excellent candidate; some may not even want to learn additional tasks.

So, it is vital to identify your candidates.

Before making any decisions, always consult your employees. Do they welcome a change in training? Do they find it exciting? And what do they want to learn?

Boost staff buy-in

When employees are interested in taking part, your cross-training program will be more successful.

Promote it as a chance for professional development and stress the advantages for staff members. Develop a cross-training learning program that is engaging and fun.

More people may volunteer for the cross-training program if an incentives component is included.

By completing cross-training, you may give your employees a monetary bonus or additional paid time off. Also, don’t forget to thank staff members that took part in cross-training and volunteered to use their expertise when needed.

To summarize

There is a fine line between overworking your staff and maximizing the advantages of cross-training.

When done right, cross-training increases employee engagement, codifies institutional and organizational knowledge, and fosters productivity benefits that can positively impact the bottom line.

Cross-training employees, though, is only one method to streamline the workplace. If you’re looking for a solution to automate routine administrative tasks like time-off management, look no further than Hezum!

Learn more about how this complete HR solution can power your business. Visit the Hezum website or schedule a demo today.

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