Steps to Establish Cross-Training Program For a Flexible Workforce

Steps to Establish Cross-Training Program For a Flexible Workforce

October 22, 2021

Cross-training is a procedure that helps employees to learn new skills and information beyond their direct function. Research shows that cross-training is the most effective way to improve individual and organizational performance.  In addition, as a result of disaster recovery scenarios, some businesses have realized the need to have staff capable of taking on additional responsibilities or they would end up putting their company's operations in danger during the disaster recovery mode.

Steps to Establish Cross-Training Program For a Flexible Workforce
Steps to Establish Cross-Training Program For a Flexible Workforce

Cross-training is a procedure that helps employees to learn new skills and information beyond their direct function. Research shows that cross-training is the most effective way to improve individual and organizational performance. In addition, as a result of disaster recovery scenarios, some businesses have realized the need to have staff capable of taking on additional responsibilities. Specifically, if they didn’t have enough employees to fill all of the positions, they would end up putting their company’s operations in danger during the disaster recovery mode. Yet, just 45% of firms offer cross-training, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 employee benefits report. 

That being said, the practice of providing endless opportunities for continued learning is necessary to prepare the organizations for the future. Through training, you provide your personnel with the tools and chances to meet future problems. Cross-training consists of educating employees to do jobs that are not included in their present job description in order to make the employees more effective and flexible. While cross-training requires time and effort, the short-term and long-term benefits will be much above the cost.

According to Mind Tools, a learning hub delivering resources for professional and personal development, here are the first four steps to put together a cross-training program, including: 
1. Identify roles and duties
Create a list of all your employees and their job descriptions. Take time to think about the abilities and knowledge required for each role and each individual’s particular qualities.

2. Cross-reference competencies
Using the data above, match each potential cross-trainee with a corresponding position. Don’t forget to consider employees’ existing skills and unique qualities when assigning them positions for cross-training.

Suppose that your local sales manager is an individual who is incredibly detailed-oriented and functions well in stressful conditions. Due to his/her personality, experience, and expertise, he/she may easily be taught in the role of the regional customer service manager. This position is also demanding in terms of working hours, workload, and customer service skills as well as requires someone who can handle multiple requests at once. 

3. Specify the procedure
After you identify the employees who need to be trained, you need to consider the appropriate methods of cross-training. Some methods are:

  • On-the-job training is often considered the most effective method as individuals learns more quickly with real work experience and it takes little effort and money to set up. However, not everyone knows how to instruct others. Thus trainers need to be given some guidelines on training cross-trainees. 
  • Instructor-Led Training – this approach is most efficient when the interaction in learning is important. Nevertheless, to make sure the knowledge obtained from the training session is useful, cross-trainees need to have real-life opportunities to put knowledge into practice.
  • E-Learning/Online Training – this method is helpful when team members have a variety of working times. Employees can choose to study at a time that suits them. At the same time, don’t forget to give cross-trainees opportunities to practice the skills they have learned.

4. Identify benefits
It’s crucial to explain why you are doing this cross-training program with your team before starting it, so employees know why you have them trained in numerous positions. This helps individuals consider cross-training as a beneficial, not a compelling practice.

Steps to Establish Cross-Training Program For a Flexible Workforce

After your cross-training program is established and people know why they should cross-train, it is time to start. Launch the program, guarantee that the training takes place, assist those who have to succeed, provide chances for feedback, and follow up to ensure adequate training.

As the world of work is going through a profound shift called the ‘new normal’, it is critical to promote cross-training programs in your organizations to prepare for a future-ready workforce. With the target of building consistent and efficient human resources for businesses, Talentnet, as a senior HR consulting firm with solid expertise to customize the best-fit HR strategies and approaches, can help organizations build cross-training programs in order to respond better to the market demand. Contact us now.

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