Your employees want to be cross-trained

How do I know your employees want to be cross-trained?

They’ve told me.

In my work with Yastrow & Company, we do extensive, in-depth employee research, and cross-training is the most universal request we hear. Practically every group of employees, in every industry and every job role tells us, “I wish I knew what everyone else in the company did everyday. It would help me do my job better if I understood where my coworkers are coming from.”

Restaurants can schedule back-of-house staff to individually work the front of the house for a shift. Companies with IT departments can have IT staff rotate through the various departments they support– and show the other employees the demands of the IT department. A retail store can ask their purchasers to work a few hours on the floor.

Sometimes management gives pushback to the idea of cross-training, and their reluctance is understandable. It’s a cost, and it takes valuable employees away from their work for a time. But the investment in cross-training helps build teams and breaks down barriers across departments. When employees understand what their coworkers do in the course of their jobs, they will be more helpful to requests. Asking back-of-house employees to work with customers for a day will make them realize the importance of the customer experience.

Offer some cross-training. I guarantee your employees will find it valuable, and it will help unify your business.

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One thought on “Your employees want to be cross-trained

  1. Interesting topic, some things to think about. I know in my industry, there are no individuals, we have to work as a cohesive unit where multiple staff deal with the same client, depending on the needs of that client, so each staff member understands what the other staff members job is.

    Also in a small business, you have to wear multiple hats in many cases. If I have a staff of 5, and my receptionist goes on vacation, one of the other admins have to step in and fill that spot while she is out, so there is a certain necessity in having some cross training.

    In many cases, it’s a job they’ve done prior to getting promoted, so internal perpetuation definately can help in having an office staff that is flexible enough to cover each others jobs.

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