Benefits of cross training employees

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Cross training is training people to work in several different roles or training them to do tasks outside of their normal responsibilities. In today’s competitive hiring environment, implementing cross training can bring benefits to existing and future employees and your company.

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Some of the employee benefits to cross training include:

  1. Improves awareness of company roles and functions
  2. Increases opportunities for advancement
  3. Keeps employees engaged and motivated as they learn more roles
  4. Increases managers’ abilities to evaluate employees across an array of roles

Some of the benefits for your company include:

  1. Increases flexibility for scheduling – In the instance that one employee has an emergency that requires them to leave work for an extended period, another team member can easily assist rather than letting those tasks sit idle.
  2. Potentially reduce employee turnover – Employees may feel unmotivated after working in the same role for an extended period, so training them in different roles can increase morale, personal value for the company, and employee satisfaction.
  3. Increase fraud detection – It’s never a good idea to put all the responsibility and knowledge of accounting or payroll processes with one employee. Cross training a few people with these roles reduces the risk of fraud since employees are reviewing the work of their coworkers and are less likely to be complicit.
  4. Increase quality of customer service – Customers don’t want to be put on hold while someone fetches answers for their questions, and they probably don’t enjoy being transferred three times to the right person either. Having a group of staff who are knowledgeable in other roles exposes them to a better understanding internal processes and functions, which is a great tool when it comes to customer service.

Nevertheless, cross training can be difficult to implement in a company that has functioned for a long period without it. Employees may feel threatened when asked to share their knowledge and skills with another coworker. There can also be confusion about priorities: is it more important to take the extra time to train this person? Or is it more important to get my job done? Try to be forthcoming in communication about the purpose of the cross training and how this can be of benefit to your employees.

Cross training can be more time consuming up front, but the long-term benefits will outweigh the costs. Even though it may slow down processes for the first few months or so as employees are being trained, people will be much more efficient and be able to help one another without stress.

Now, it may not be realistic to develop a cross training program throughout all roles in your company. However, you may look at your accounting department and other areas where certain key activities need to be performed for the sustainability of your business. In those instances, you would want to identify where cross training opportunities are or determine where backups could be put in place to make sure critical functions continue to be carried out.

If you have any questions on implementing a cross training program, contact your Henry+Horne advisor.

Anh Dao