Here at Ascend Technology, we’re of the belief that cross-training your employees is imperative to the culture and the success of any business. Certainly, cross-training is time-consuming, but the benefits are invaluable. In fact, many businesses have experienced increased productivity, morale, flexibility – and, who doesn’t want that?
Whether it’s limited resources, lack of time, or the simple unknowingness of how to implement collaborative tools or consistent processes, we’re here to help you reach your full business potential through the art of cross-training. But first, let’s define what cross-training actually means.
What Does it Mean to Cross-Train Employees?
According to the Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia, the definition of “Cross-Training” is as follows:
“Teaching your employees the skills and responsibilities of another position at your company to increase their effectiveness. Whenever possible, and especially when if your business has just a few employees, look for people when hiring that you can cross–train into different job responsibilities.”
In other words, we all want to be able to take a vacation. Which is why it is so important to create a team of professionals who are able to step in for us when we take that planned trip to Italy or Caribbean.
It’s equally, if not more important, that employees are able to fill in for each other when someone has a death in the family, a medical emergency, or there is an unexpected termination. Your employees should be able to cover the basics so your business can continue running smoothly and your clients remain satisfied.
So, how do we go about making this happen?
If you want to successfully cross-train your people, you’ll need to start by assessing your processes. Is everyone on the same page? Does everyone understand the value?
These processes will allow your employees to provide the exact same quality of service, regardless of who is doing the job. Granted, if you’re in the restaurant industry, your best Waiter won’t necessarily be able to fill the shoes of the Executive Chef and create great food on a whim. Cross-training is intended for those of the same or similar discipline to fill in for one another.
Consistent processes impact the organization as a whole. Bartolotta Restaurants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a great example. Renowned for amazing food, they are also praised for their business standards and customer service.
Management spends a lot of time training staff on every process and every detail, knowing that customers demand quality and consistency. Every employee is on the same page and understands the value.
A Few Tips for Cross-Training Success:
- Avoid having isolated systems. Consider investing in collaborative tools that provide transparency and shared usability.
- Does every employee have a job description? Colleagues may need to review it and learn from if they need to stand in.
- Take caution with individuals who have too much ownership over a responsibility. While it’s convenient to give someone a task and let them run with it, it can get dangerous. People with too much power can sometimes sabotage projects, too.
- Hire people who get it! Create a culture of people that want to have each other’s backs.
- Follow through with your standards. Hold your employees accountable.
To have a successful business, all working parts have to rely on each other. We have to be able to trust our teammates to do the job and the processes that are set in place.
If you’re seeking more resources or would like to learn of other businesses who have successfully mastered the art of cross-training, we can make a number of recommendations. We can also help you attain collaborative tools and develop consistent processes. We’ve done it before, and we’d love to do the same for you.
Let us help you reach your full business potential.