Why (and How!) to Cross-Train Your Teams

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Training your employees in their primary job functions and keeping them up to date consumes a lot of resources – in both time and revenue. Is it really worth the effort to cross train them in other roles and capabilities?

What are the Advantages of Cross-Training?

Build a team culture. When everyone truly understands each other’s jobs and how they fit into the company structure feel like they are working toward a common goal.

Cover for absences.  Everyone needs a vacation and everyone gets sick. But often, their work can’t wait for their return. Cross-training provides you with a means of keeping up, even when your employee can’t be there.

Adjust for variations in workload. With a cross-trained staff, you can move workers as business demands. If one department is slow, move the workers to a busier one.

Build skills. When employees learn new skills, it’s to everyone’s advantage. You have a more versatile employee, and they add to their skill set.

Spot potential. You may discover hidden talents when you encourage your people to try something new. Often talents aren’t identified until there is an opportunity to try.

Increase engagement. The more an employee knows about different facets of the company, the more connected he will feel.

Reduce boredom. People need to learn new things. It improves job satisfaction and increases retention.

Never worry about losing a key player. Indispensible employees are dangerous. Don’t depend too much on a single employee. Who knows? They could win the lottery, have a long term illness – then what? You need a contingency plan for the unanticipated.

How can you Effectively Cross-Train?

In the short term, you will lose productivity while workers get up to speed. But the long term payoff makes it worthwhile.

Start with job shadowing.  Let the employee who is learning follow the teaching employee through his routine. Depending on the complexity of the tasks, it may take minutes, hours or days. Eventually let the trainee try the job with supervision and finally on his own. Be sure that he completes the task again every month or so or he will forget.

Set expectations.  Have performance goals and evaluate each member on his performance as a trainer and trainee.

For other strategies to hire better, manage your staff and keep up with business demands, contact the staffing specialists at Burnett’s Staffing. We work with businesses on a daily basis to help them fulfill their staffing needs in the greater Dallas area. Contact us today to learn more!

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