This blog talks about the importance of cross-training in the office. We’re not referring to cross-training as a fitness regime, even though that’s great too!
We’ve all learned over the past few years that we must learn to expect the unexpected. This mindset applies in almost every aspect of life and even more so in our professional lives. To keep a business moving forward so that it can provide for its employees and their families, customers & clients, and all of the vendors counting on sales, we need to prepare for the inevitable.
There are many reasons it’s easy to be short-staffed, yet, the workload doesn’t diminish.
- Employees quit
- Employees get sick
- Employees go on vacation
- Employees have family emergencies
Peace of mind with operations continuing to function normally.
Now, if only someone else could pitch in and help us before and after our leave. Wouldn’t that reduce stress while ensuring operations continue moving forward?
If you’ve set up a cross-training system in your office, you already know how it alleviates unnecessary pressure for everyone. And, wouldn’t we all look forward to vacation if we didn’t need to worry about the before/after of our leave, whether it’s a vacation or being out sick?
Company leaders should acknowledge how a cross-training plan will help alleviate tension for others, as talked about in the above scenarios.
Still, it should be incorporated as part of the protocol for other unexpected emergencies. We plan our time off, but so many things can cause us to be short-staffed that aren’t already on the calendar, such as a sudden employee departure.
IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYEE
Jumpstart your internal drive
We’re not talking computer jargon but your inner motivation. If you are allowed to cross-train in other roles, it will enable you to be removed, for a slice of time, from the same daily routine and learn something new. Who knows, you may discover that you have unexpected skills or talents that will help you grow within the company.
Bond with other team members
When you learn more about what others do within the company, you will understand how the pieces come together for the considerable good. And you may even come to appreciate the contributions made by others in the roles where they are responsible. If it’s a department where you typically have little contact, you may even make a new friend.
Increased brand awareness
If you learn more about other departments, you’ll be able to provide an educated response to outsiders who inquire about the company.
IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYER
Cross-training, as mentioned above, may uncover an employee’s hidden talent or provide a new perspective on a process that has stagnated. For instance, when one employee trains another to do their “job,” they may realize it’s difficult to show someone else how to do that job. Thus, demonstrating the need to do things differently.
When key players cross-train, they can easily slide into another role quickly when there is an unexpected staff shortage. This exercise will help decrease the instances where essential tasks fall through the cracks.
Increase in Morale
Knowing they won’t be overwhelmed before or after an event makes for a happy workforce when your employees want to vacation or are out with the flu.
Attract Quality Employees
When potential candidates know that part of your process is to cross-train the team, it is desirable to them as they can:
Learn new skills outside of their usual role
Work hard when they’re there, but then have the ability to take time off without the stress of knowing their work would be accumulating until they return.
There are so many benefits to cross-training, as you can use it in almost any position. Now is the time to set up a system to tackle cross-training, as it’s much better to do that BEFORE you have an emergency versus racing around at the 11th hour.