Do you ever wonder how you can make yourself a more valuable employee? What if you were able to learn new skills that would enable you to fill in with other departments when someone’s out for a while? You would be able to not just learn new skills, but also increase your marketability. So, how do you do this? Cross training!
Say, for example, you work in Accounting, but you want to learn all about Sales. You can work in Sales and learn to do that type of work in case someone has to be out on extended leave for some reason. At the same time, the Sales Department can send some of their employees to work in Accounting. After all, life happens. It pays to be ready. And if you’re a savvy manager, you can implement a program so that interested employees can cross train in your department.
The Benefits of Cross Training
Why would an employee want to cross train? Well, it definitely makes you a more valuable worker for the company. You know not just your own department’s work, but also that for the other departments. When it’s slow in one department but busy in another, cross training makes it possible for your company to utilize its current employees. That’s easier (and less expensive) than having to go out and hire new employees and train them. It’s going to take longer to train any new hires who are unfamiliar with company policies and procedures.
Another reason to implement cross training among departments is to prevent employee burnout. Sometimes, you just get tired of doing the same job day after day. If you were to transfer temporarily to another department, you can learn some new skills, meet new people, and make yourself a better employee. And even managers can get job burnout. Perhaps two managers can cross train and do the same thing as the employees. This may give them a brand new perspective on different areas of the company and a greater appreciation of what the other manager does.
Creating a Cross Training Program
One thing you need to do as a company is to evaluate the employees during cross training to see what they have learned. There may even be certifications available for them to earn. Try to make the learning fun, and search for those employees who are really excited about the opportunity. You might start with them since they are invested in the program’s success. And you should also have a reward system, whether it be some extra time off, reward trips, or even monetary rewards for a successful cross training session. Make it fun, make it something that the employees see as valuable, and let them know you appreciate them!
For more suggestions on creating your own program, check out 15 Tips to Launch a Cross Training Program in Your Company, by Paul Crosby.