In any organisation, employees fall sick, go for vacations, attend to family emergencies or even leave to pursue other goals. These events can put companies at risk and leave them susceptible to lost revenue, lower productivity and strained customer relations. Any serious company should create a hot backup plan to ensure the smooth running of activities in the organisation.
Cross training increases a company’s readiness to mitigate risks and ensure success. When employees are trained to perform their colleagues’ tasks, it makes them feel valuable and enriches them by adding them a set of skills that they did not previously possess. It also creates teamwork and reduces departmental rivalry by allowing every employee to see what goes on in each department. In cases of unbalanced workflows, employees can easily fit in and perform different tasks effectively.
To ensure organisational continuity even when your key employees are absent, follow the guideline below for implementing a successful and cost-effective cross-training initiative and enjoy the rewards.
Explain the benefits of cross training to your employees
To remove any form of suspicion, you need to explain to your workforce why it is important to cross train them on different skills. Let them know that nobody is indispensable and that you value their input. Make them feel comfortable with the process and understand that it is not geared towards eliminating anyone’s job.
Identify the critical tasks to cross train
For the process to be successful, you will have to identify specific tasks to cross train. Prioritise each skill according to its importance to the company. Ensure that you carry out the process both horizontally and vertically. Let managers learn how to do other managerial roles or even those of their subordinates.
Match the skill set with the people you want to cross train
You have to set formal expectations for your employees before cross-training them. A person’s learning capability should guide you when matching them with the skill set for any particular position. For example, you cannot train a cleaner to do managerial duties, but you can cross train a manager from the marketing department to take up tasks of a fellow manager in the procurement department.
Choose a venue, put aside funds and training materials for the cross training
Cross training requires planning and adequate preparation. Both the employee and the employer will benefit from the process, so it has to top notch. Training employees in a different environment from the workplace will give them the opportunity to enjoy different scenery and make them feel valuable. You need training rooms that are well equipped and offer a conducive learning environment. Booking such rooms through training room rentals will make your work easier since you will get all you require for the training.
Give employees time to adjust to their new roles
After cross-training, ensure that you reduce the work of cross-trained employees until they can fully adjust and do the work with ease. Let them feel that you support them and are not taking advantage of them.
Put in place a reward program and repeat the cross-training periodically
For employees who have successfully finished the program, show them that you appreciate their efforts by rewarding them. This will motivate and encourage them to work harder. You should also ensure that you repeat the process since the employees will not retain the skills forever
Every company needs to be prepared for any eventuality. Cross training is a method sure to help any organisation mitigate risks and ensure efficiency. Think of it as a way of reducing unhealthy departmental difference and a backup plan for employee loss or absenteeism.