Importance of Cross Training in the Workplace

October 21, 2015

By John Yurkschatt, Director of IT for DCA

While cross training is popular in sports and a great way of developing fitness, there’s another type of cross training that has become popular in business that is beneficial to the fitness and overall health of both companies and employees.

Businesses should think of cross training as a disaster recovery plan.  Implemented correctly, it will help a business to run smoothly in the event there is an absence of one or more key players.  Whereas, employees should think of cross training as a way to become more valuable to the company.

Let’s look closer at the cross training benefits for employers as well as employees:

For Employers:

Mitigate risk.  With cross training, organizations are better equipped to recover quickly from disruptions and handle transitions gracefully.  To be specific, employees will be able to easily step into other roles to make sure the job gets done especially in the event that a key employee leaves.

Discover leaders.  Cross training can uncover some people’s hidden talents.  Companies may see an employee not only be able to learn and perform new duties but emerge as a leader and motivator to others.

Enhance teamwork & boost morale.  Cross training helps employees to appreciate each other’s jobs and recognize all the duties of their co-workers that they may have overlooked before.

Higher efficiency & productivity. Cross training forces teams to refine processes by making them take a hard look at the way they do things as they train others.

Recruiting tool. Today’s young workers want greater satisfaction from their work. They are geared toward seeking employment that allows them to learn new skills. Therefore, employers are more likely to attract and keep good employees.

Derive Cost Savings.  Depending upon the business, once employees have been cross trained, a company may not need to hire as many workers.  Additionally, employees hone and increase skills enabling them to work in multiple areas. The business should see costs go down and efficiency go up.

For Employees:

Growth opportunity.  Cross trained employees may be considered for a promotion faster than others.  Employers may find that an employee has a special talent in a different role.

Increase employee satisfaction.  Employers that cross train have noticed a decrease in employee boredom and stagnation and an increase in productivity and value.

Develop new skills. Cross training allows your employees to build their professional, technical, and soft skills. By building their skill sets they feel more confident and valuable to the organization.

Build teams & relationships.  Cross training gives employees a chance to build new relationships with people they might otherwise never have contact with. These relationships will help with teamwork and gain a better understanding of the bigger picture.

Higher motivation.  Recognition in the form of training and development works wonders for employee motivation because it’s proof the company is investing the necessary time and resources for employees to acquire new skills. An employee who believes their employer is genuinely concerned about their career development, is likely to exhibit an increased level of job satisfaction and motivation.

Cross training can be used in almost any position in almost any industry.  If you have cross training experience or story, please comment below.

Job Hunting While Still Employed

By John Yurkschatt, Director of IT Services, DCA

For most workers, there comes a day when it’s time to look for a new job or career path.  However, how do you look for your next opportunity while still working full-time at your current job?  Very carefully!

Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re determined to move on:

Keep job search quiet.  It’s best not to confide in any of your co-workers that you are job hunting.  Big news like that often gets leaked. Above all, do not tell your boss.  In doing so, you will compromise your current employment.  As soon as your boss discovers you’re looking, he/she will start looking for your replacement. Consider your good name and job toast.

Don’t use company resources.  It’s tempting to use your company’s copier, fax machine, and email to send your resume to prospective employers. But it’s also a huge no-no to use your mobile devices if they were company issued.  In addition, it’s just not a good idea to look for your next job while on their clock. Use off hours. These days everything is digital and your job hunt is no longer restricted to an 8 to 5 time frame therefore, apply for jobs at home after hours.

Maximize your day.  Get up an hour earlier and commit that hour to planning, searching and following-up on leads. Also, use that time to send emails, prepare for an interview, or any other job-search related activity.

Stay employed.  It’s easier to find a job while still employed. Employers prefer to hire someone who is currently working since they are perceived as more desirable and valuable.  There’s no question that discrimination against the unemployed does happen.  Hiring managers wonder what caused the unemployment and if a candidate’s skills are up-to-date or if training will be required.

Be smart with social media.  Using LinkedIn is crucial to your job search but try not to do a massive renovation to your profile all at once. This might send a red flag to your current employer. Instead, update your profile during lower traffic times like at night or on a weekend or holiday. Also, be smart about your settings.  Modify your broadcast settings so your connections aren’t alerted of every update you make.

Schedule your interviews wisely.  When you get to the interview stage of your job search, ask that interviews be scheduled at times that won’t conflict with your work schedule, such as early morning, during lunch, or after hours. Many employers will accommodate you.  If you absolutely have to interview in the middle of the day, try to use vacation time or a personal day.

Be careful with references. Accidentally using your boss or supervisor as a reference is a big mistake. Just think how they will take it when being contacted by an employer checking up on your references. References should be given upon request only and then even then with the caveat that your job search is confidential for the time being.

Are there more things to keep in mind when it’s time to move on and you’re still employed? If so, share below.