As you’ve been covering summer vacations the past few months, you’ve likely realized just how important cross-training is! If this is an important (or new!) initiative within your organization, we have an article for you! Doug Karr, VP of Pro Staff-Texas (Technical ProSource’s sister company), recently wrote an article for PKWY Magazine that includes six tips for cross-training success.
Read the article below or visit PKWY Magazine (see page 43).
6 Steps to Successful Cross-Training
As published in PKWY Magazine
“That’s not my job” has no place in your company. How do you help prevent it? Cross-train! No one person should be the only one that knows how to complete a task within your organization.
Cross-training provides an opportunity for employees to build relationships and better understand how each employee adds value to the company. Cross-trained employees can easily step in when co-workers take vacations, become ill, work on special projects, or leave to pursue other opportunities. It’s also proven to boost morale, productivity, and job satisfaction.
To provide seamless coverage when an employee isn’t available, consider these tips:
1. Plan, plan, plan.
Training programs require serious planning. Sit down with your management team to determine what job functions require cross-training, who is best equipped to provide the training, and when the training should take place. If cross-training is a new initiative within your company, it’s also wise to plan how to announce the program to your employees.
2. Create a team-oriented organization.
Don’t just talk about teamwork. Make it one of your core company values. Show employees how their ability to help coworkers benefits their team and the organization at large. Celebrate team successes and learn from team mistakes.
3. Determine who to train.
Cross-training isn’t only for seasoned employees. Begin cross-training soon after employees are hired. It will prevent them from getting stuck in a routine of just doing one job and will communicate that learning new skills is an important part of your company culture.
It’s also important to realize that some people are built for certain skills only and may not be able to handle the added responsibility. And that’s okay!
4. Communicate and get employee buy-in.
It’s important to clearly explain how and why cross-training will occur. Share the benefits and ask your employees for ideas and feedback. It’s imperative – I repeat, imperative – that employees understand that cross-training needs are not a reflection of poor performance. Clearly communicate your intentions to avoid any misunderstandings or unnecessary job-loss fear.
5. Train a little at a time.
You’re running a business, not a school. An hour here and there can go a long way without curbing productivity. Extending the training process also allows time for new information to be absorbed.
6. Have a back-up plan.
Create a partnership with a staffing agency that can provide quick access to trained professionals should the need arise. Temporary staff are ideal for covering special projects, increases in workflow, or specific skill gaps that cross-training cannot fill.
No matter how tight of a ship you are running, there will be times when employees are not able to do their jobs. By having a plan in place, you’ll be able to navigate these challenges with minimal disruption and productivity loss. While cross-training does take time and effort, it’s a small price to pay for the long-term benefits and security.