Cross-Training: Why It Is Important
Small businesses often start with a pretty rocky start; resources are scarce, and so is manpower. The impending problem of limited workforce leads to only one solution: cross-training.
Cross-training is the practice of training your staff in more than one role or skill. While this is optional for bigger businesses, smaller businesses consider it the only route. After all, they’d rather use their current workforce in as many fields as possible, and not wait for more employees to join.
Although it sounds like something you’d resort to in worst case scenarios, it actually has benefits for a business. It is important for many reasons:
Improved Employee performance
When cross-training your staff, they end up learning different business skills. This adds to their overall work experience, making them more confident and capable when handling multiple tasks at once.
As their work functions expand, so will their ability to thrive in team environments. Employees who do different tasks tend to enjoy their work more since they are constantly challenged to try new things. They’ll participate in any – or all! – business activities with maximum interest and productivity, serving your business in the most positive way possible.
Following the previous point, cross-training positively impacts your business by increasing productivity. With personnel who can take part in multiple tasks, they can replace both unavailable staff and new, untrained employees. This especially helps cover up dips in productivity due to short-term absences or skill gaps.
Even if your business faces a sudden surge of workload, you can count on your staff for completing the tasks at hand. Since they already have a range of skills to work with, they’ll surely minimise work pressure as soon as it comes up. This helps streamline work functions so that productivity never stops to a halt.
Perhaps the best thing cross-training does is cut cost that is spent on hiring new staff. Since your current staff already acquire a varying set of skills, you can count on them to shoulder different responsibilities at different times. Things like training, payroll money and investment in equipment all can be dodged with cross-training.
In fact, the same amount of time, money and energy can be spent on improving other parts of your business – may be your sales team is lacking, or maybe your engineering team requires new equipment to work better. Adopting a cross-training policy inevitably reduces unnecessary costs from the equation – and positively impacts you.
Harness True Potential
As your employees learn different tasks, they will automatically gain a sense of authoritative direction when it comes to running business functions. They learn how to make good decisions through teamwork and analytical thinking. This way, they will slowly start learning technical ways to manage a team and spearhead projects; ultimately, they become more adept at skills like communication, vision, commitment in work and conflict resolution.
This makes the process of handing over managerial positions more easy for you because you don’t have to invest extra time and energy in leadership training. In fact, cross-training makes everyone their own leader, thereby creating a strong sense of motivation in them, which reflects in their work.
Of course, it’s all easier said than done. Therefore, before you decide to choose to cross-train your employees, you need to make sure they’re capable. Make sure they fulfil the prerequisite requirements to learn new skills without forgetting their previous ones. This includes their qualifications, work habits, and general motivations. After training them, track employee performance to see if it had any positive impact. Employee Management Systems like the kind Oscar POS offers lets you track employee performance by recording their sales, time management and the like. You can download and analyse these employee reports and infer how well cross-training worked for your business, and how it can be further improved.
It is safe to say that cross-training gives any kind of business flexibility and the ability to adapt in different business environments. No matter how severe the situation may become, cross-training your staff makes sure your business never falters.