What’s one of the best ways to empower employees?
That’s right. Cross-training employees can take an unproductive, way-less-than-satisfied workforce and turn it into a happy, high-achieving one. All of your employees could benefit from a chance to take their skills, voices, and experience to the next level. But your company can also evolve when they take advantage of the opportunity to cross-train in another position.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about cross-training employees.
Five reasons why cross-training employees is a good idea
If you need a more convincing, business-related reason to cross-train your employees, you’re in luck. We’ve got five:
Ease employees into more responsibilities
Ever connected with one of your employees and thought, “They’re ready for more?” Whether it was what they told you in that conversation or watching them improve over time, you notice when an employee is ready to move up.
You may not have an open position just yet, but you still want to start developing them for the next level. That’s where cross-training comes in. You can use it to guide employees into more responsibilities.
More responsibilities for your employees can lead to their continued advancement with your company. Their professional network gets more extensive. And they’ll get to challenge themselves and hone new skills.
Additionally, it can help your company save time and money recruiting and onboarding new employees because you can first turn to internal employees for open positions.
Get comfortable with growth
More responsibilities also lead to growth. The chance to experience all departments and gain skills for upward mobility enables employees to get comfortable with growing into themselves.
For example, let's say one of your best employees is an introvert. They may not be the loudest in the room, but they’re incredibly productive and have some of the most solid relationships with their coworkers.
In this case, you can ease your introverted employee into a leadership role with cross-training. First, allow them to shadow someone in a more forward-facing leadership position to learn things at their pace. Then, let them put what they’ve learned into practice until they’re ready to pursue an open leadership position in the company.
Growth by way of cross-training can inspire a flexible work environment, too. Flexible work environments are critical for company success because they foster creativity, diversity, and open-mindedness. All of which are necessary to be a forward-thinking company.
Ultimately, your employees can get comfortable with growth thanks to cross-training, and so can your company.
Foster genuine employee relationships
How many different personalities are in your company? All, we’re sure, are interesting and integral to making your business the well-oiled machine that it is. That said, it’s just as essential to ensure personalities mesh for effective communication and collaboration company-wide.
Cross-training your employees can position them to get to know team members in every department. They can get to know each other and get a feel for each other’s personalities. The more they work together, the more authentic their relationships become, making the meshing of personalities much easier.
Fostering genuine relationships is essential to your company’s operation. However, too much friction among employees can lead to a disruption in your team’s workflow. When one employee is off their game, it affects the entire team’s functionality.
On the other hand, when employees work well together, they bring out the best in each other. Managers can then make the most out of their team’s skill set.
Enhance individual performance
Cross-training your employees can absolutely grow your team relationships and performance. But, at the same time, it enhances each employee’s performance.
Cross-training has a way of making employees feel valued. It has a way of getting employees to think higher of themselves and their capabilities at work. It’s also responsible for more engaged, enthusiastic employees when done right. Their mindsets become more agile, too.
Better individual performances lead to better collective production. Any company can benefit from that, right?
Gain more respect for leadership
Lastly, when companies prioritize cross-training, it communicates to employees that they matter to the organization. You appreciate and believe in them so much that you’re willing to back them with training opportunities so they can continue to grow.
Cross-training your employees is beneficial for your company because it inspires more respect for the leaders in your business. If your employees lack respect for your leaders, they won’t follow them. And you need your employees to let your leaders guide them to keep structure and organization at the forefront of your operation.
Your leadership team has to show that they care rather than just say it. Being intentional about getting employees cross-trained is a big step in that direction.
Best practices for cross-training employees?
- Have an initial conversation with each employee about why cross-training is a good thing for them and the company;
- Spend time understanding each employee’s skill set, interests, and abilities before deciding on who will cross-train and where;
- Create a plan for how you’re going to cross-train your employees, including details such as when cross-training will take place, where, and with what method;
- Allow employees to work the role they’re cross-trained in at least once a month to keep what they’ve learned top of mind;
- Follow up with employees about their progress and get their feedback on the cross-training process overall.
Start cross-training your employees today. Your company will thank you for it.