Organizational Wellness

Why Your Company Needs Cross-Trained Employees

Jan 19, 2023
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

It goes without saying that a happy workforce is a productive one. Employees are more likely to be efficient and effective when they are content and fulfilled in their work. Conversely, when employees struggle with personal or professional issues, it often shows in their performance. Moreover, happy employees help with workplace retention. That’s why it’s important for companies to take measures to create a positive work environment for their employees.

One way to do this is by implementing cross-training programs.

Cross-trained employees rotate through different positions within the company, gaining new skills and experiences along the way. This allows them to become more well-rounded individuals, with a greater understanding of how each department or job functions and what is needed to make it successful.

Below we’ll dive into the main reasons why your company will benefit from having cross-trained employees.

Cross-Trained Employees are More Efficient and Productive

When cross-trained, employees can take on multiple tasks and complete them more efficiently. This is because they gain a better understanding of the company’s operations, which allows them to think more strategically and identify areas where their skills can be best utilized.

For example, say your marketing department needs to put together a new campaign about a product launch. Typically your marketing team would need to tap the product team to answer questions about how the new feature works and the steps involved in developing your product.

Without cross-training, your marketing team is at the mercy of your product team’s availability and schedule. With cross-training, your marketing team will get firsthand experience in the product department, removing their reliance on the product team.

When done correctly, cross-training gives employees the power of shared knowledge without needing more team members. This not only saves employee onboarding costs but time as well!

A Shared Workload Increases Flexibility and Reduces Stress

When employees can fill in or cover workforce shortages, it creates more flexibility in their work schedules. As a result, sharing the workload reduces stress and helps them perform better. Develop training programs that help build cross-functional skills to help employees be better equipped in taking on new tasks and responsibilities.

In addition, shared workloads can promote teamwork and collaboration within an organization. By sharing responsibilities and balancing the work across multiple employees, everyone can contribute to different roles and take time off when needed. This can help build a more engaged and motivated workforce and foster stronger relationships among coworkers.

Tips for implementing shared workloads in your organization:

  • Document procedures for each role and the specific tasks involved.
  • Identify the areas where work already overlaps across teams or departments.
  • Assign employees to train others on how to perform their functions.
  • Set up a group or one-to-one training for professional development.

Employee Cross-Training Improves Communication

Cross-training helps employees learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. By understanding how each person contributes to the organization’s overall success, employees can work together and communicate effectively.

For example, when two different departments are working on the same project, cross-trained employees can quickly anticipate their coworkers’ needs. They can plan ahead and produce the content or materials their counterparts need without asking for it.

This can help drive employee engagement, collaboration, and innovation, which is essential for driving long-term growth and success in any business.

 

Enhanced Employee Skillsets Boost Employee Motivation

By learning new tasks, employees expand their knowledge and skillset, making them more valuable to the company and boosting their workplace motivation. Whether in a traditional office setting or a more remote, virtual environment, enhancing employees’ skillsets through cross-training can help them stay engaged and excited about their work.

Like any other employee benefit, cross-training employees is strategically beneficial to employers. Employees will gain valuable new skills, and as work performance improves, they will also help your company stand out against the competition. From a business perspective, cross-training your employees involves on-the-job training that can help discover hidden talents and make your company more agile. Such an organizational strategy is beneficial no matter the size or industry of your business.

Tips for enhancing specific skills:

  • Break down tasks into subtasks that are smaller and more manageable.
  • Make sure that each employee has a clear understanding of what they are expected to learn.
  • Provide ongoing support and feedback throughout the process to ensure employees get the most out of their training.

Cross-Training Employees Increases Job Satisfaction and Prevents Burnout

Burnout is an all-too-common hazard of the modern workplace, and it can have serious consequences for employees’ wellbeing, productivity, and morale. Cross-training helps prevent burnoutand keeps employees engaged, motivated, and productive.

When your employees feel stuck or burnt out in their position, with no opportunity for advancement, it stunts their creativity and motivation. Employees who don’t see any room to grow within your company may start looking for a new job. On the other hand, if employees feel there is potential for growth within the company, they are more likely to take advantage of training opportunities.

To prevent cross-training from coming across as unwanted added responsibility, ask your employees what competencies they want to gain. Successful cross-training involves developing a training plan that suits individual employee development needs.

Cross-Trained Employees Can Inform Your HR Practices

During the cross-training process, you’ll be able to gather valuable feedback from your employees that increases the sustainability of your business. As people gain experience in areas they haven’t worked in before, they may have thoughts about how human resources can improve training practices, new roles, and the overall experience of new employees. Use these new perspectives and ideas to enhance your training and the day-to-day life of your employees.

For example, your employees and potential new hires might recognize cross-training itself as part of the work-life wellness benefits that you offer. Since cross-trained employees often feel more fulfilled, highlight this to your leadership whenever you need to request more resources or funding for your cross-training programs. 

In fact, if you need more guidance on how to incorporate more wellbeing benefits into your repertoire, talk to a Wellhub wellbeing specialist.  Not only will you impact the health and wellness of your employees, but you’ll also impact the overall wellbeing of your company.

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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