It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, as the proverb goes. Training only one person to do a specific task is bad for the health of the company, and it can waste a considerable amount of time. And what if that person leaves or is otherwise unable to complete the task? This is why it’s important to cross-train your team members. In addition to simply giving them more knowledge about how to do their jobs, employees will have a better sense of their responsibilities, be able to fill in for each other, and contribute to the adaptability and elasticity of the company.
Pay attention to when people go on vacation.
When people leave for trips, vacations, or take days off, a good opportunity arises for other team members to fill that position, however temporarily. Be sure you’ve got at least one or two other people trained to step up for someone else as necessary to keep operations running smoothly.
Cross-training promotes professional development.
It’s smart to simply have more on-the-job training and to acquire new skills that will be useful later. Learning how to do new stuff makes employees more valuable, both at your company and later on if they decide to pursue a new opportunity. Providing training and guidance is a big part of making employees great. If they learn new skills, they’ll be better-suited to contribute overall. And occasionally, when you put someone in a new role, they’ll come up with a brilliant idea no one had realized before.
Getting a better understanding of roles and responsibilities makes for a happy workplace.
Through cross-training, employees get a better idea of with whom responsibilities fall and where divisions of work occur. Having a stronger understanding of each other’s roles with the company can cut down on miscommunication and promote efficiency.
Build cross-training practices into positions as often as you can, especially as you on-board new hires. Cultivate a supportive work culture that wants success for each individual. People will be more likely to help each other if the company values their ability to be supportive. Require employees to train at least one other person to fill in for them. You may suffer some temporary loss in productivity as employees learn new jobs and train each other, but having multiple people be able to support their coworkers is one of the best things a company can do to ensure its continued health.