Cross training employees is becoming an increasingly popular measure taken in a lot of businesses, and there’s a good explanation for that. When employees are capable of handling, skillfully, things outside their normal purview, it creates flexibility and adaptability in an organization that gives it the capacity to deal with all kinds of problems.
This is especially true in technology departments and customer service departments, but really, cross training employees is a beneficial tactic in most situations. The problem comes in knowing really how to handle this, because the common assumption is just to rifle all the employees through all the training programs relevant, and call it a day.
You can do that, but I wouldn’t recommend it, for obvious reasons. It takes a bit of a delicate hand to implement cross training, and there are more than a few factors to consider. Pay close attention to this, because I don’t want to talk this into the ground because people ignore the advice.
#1 – Understand your Objectives
The first thing to do is to figure out what your overall objectives are in training in general. What status do you want to elevate your company to, what analytics do you want to raise the bar on?
With this understanding, you can easily see where distributing relevant cross training might be employed to improve and ensure that these goals are feasible. Don’t overlook this step, because if you don’t see the end of the tunnel, you can’t form the tunnel itself in something like training.
#2 – Skill Analysis
Cross training everyone on everything won’t work, because some skills and disciplines are ideal for certain types of people, of course. So, do a deep analysis of your peoples’ core skills, and find related skills that would then form clusters of compatible cross training within various genres.
If someone’s good at, for example, data entry, then also cross training them on CRM stuff isn’t illogical. Someone good at finances would do well as a backup analyst, and so forth.
#3 – Set a Realistic Training Schedule
This isn’t just pertinent to cross training, but it sure counts here. Set a specific amount of time, per unit, that is dedicated to training, and adhere to a schedule. It makes it less obtrusive for the employees, who are busy and probably don’t really think they have time to accommodate your tinkering with things, frankly.
Also, be sure that each unit isn’t huge, maybe an hour or two a day, part of the work day, rather than non stop training for days, weeks or months.
#4 – Get Backers
This doesn’t mean financial backers or sponsors higher up, but rather employees subject to the cross training who are in favor, and are willing to help by taking on some delegated tasks and leadership roles within smaller confines.
These backers not only encourage those around them, but also help to get things done more effectively, while providing a bridge between employees and teachers, and between employees of departments cross training on one another.
So, with these things in mind, your employee cross training efforts are sure to have a much stronger chance of success. It’s worth the little bit of trouble, believe me.