Athletes who cross-train become stronger and faster by using their muscles in different ways. Employees can get similar results in the workplace through cross-training. This allows employees to expand their knowledge and abilities while making your company stronger.
Instead of training in only the skills an employee uses daily, cross-training encourages staff to:
- Learn about tasks that are performed by colleagues
- Develop a better understanding of roles and processes
- Improve collaboration across departments
- Increase communication among employees
- Create redundancies and reduce skill gaps
With the help of a Learning Management System (LMS), your company can develop a strategy for employee cross-training. Here’s how:
Assess your workforce’s current strengths and weaknesses
Time and energy would be wasted on material your employees already know, is too advanced, or doesn’t have a practical application for. Performance Management data will help identify the opportunities for improvement with individuals, as well as individual departments.
Adapt your Learning Management System to the needs of your company
Between original and sourced training materials, it’s important to build appropriate curriculum for each department and skill level. The number of available courses is just as important as the variety, but a quality LMS won’t make you choose between the two.
Track progress and adjust if necessary
A Learning Management System provides a complete range of data tracking, which most often include:
- Individual employees
- Individual departments
- The entire company
You can identify courses or individuals that need more attention, as well as those employees who are excelling.
Ensure completion and accuracy
Employees must complete assigned courses and prove they have learned the material. For employees who fail, the course can be taken again after receiving supplemental training material and guidance. If multiple employees struggle, this may be a sign that the material itself needs some adjustment.
Cross-training employees offers numerous benefits to both the individual and the company, including:
Return on investment
Cross-training is the best way to maximize your return on investment for both employees and a Learning Management System. It can minimize the expenses of regular training and onboarding new employees. It also enables you to engage and challenge every employee, even those already competent at their own job.
With a more agile workforce, you’ll often find more opportunities to promote from within. Even employees who remain in the same position will find their job more satisfying when they’re able to learn new skills and collaborate better.
When you spend less money on recruiting, you’re able to invest in the employees who have already dedicated themselves.
When your staff trains together, they build a better rapport for collaboration and mutual respect. As the teams work together and better understand each other’s jobs, it’s easier to communicate and reach mutual understandings.
With a better grasp of each part of the process and potential bottlenecks, everyone is better prepared for working toward a common goal. This even works as a way to better remote work teams.
As employees collect a broader variety of skills, there’s less need to kick projects back and forth, department to department, at each stage of the process. Employees can predict the answers to questions that might otherwise require more meetings and emails.
Cross-trained employees have a better understanding of overall processes, without needing frequent check-ins or updates. It’s also easier to anticipate when special circumstances will affect turnaround time.
When someone is out sick, or a particular department is deep in the weeds, it’s easy for productivity to lag. With more cross-training, it’s easier for employees to cover for each other and stretch capacity in tight situations.
Motivation and morale
There’s a certain amount of job security that comes with the feeling that “I’m the only person who can perform this task.” But cross-training is a positive way to illustrate and remind staff that no individual is more important than the team. Versatility and willingness to learn should be more highly valued.
Employees who are encouraged to cross-train benefit from continuous learning, as opposed to those who reach a performance plateau. A Learning Management System allows for added training and engagement without significantly increasing the workload.
When the workplace feels more competitive and collaborative, there’s less complacency and absenteeism. You may even see a decrease in turnover, as staying with your company provides more opportunities for growth.
Improved agility and resilience
When your employees are trained in a wider variety of skills, the company is more prepared for shifts in the market and sudden industry changes. Covering for a sick employee can be challenging, but how much would your company struggle if several key people left at the same time?
As we learned in 2020, drastic changes can arrive with little warning. With cross-training, your employees are better able to cover and adapt to major changes. Every task and process can still be performed, even when circumstances prevent you from following the normal routines.
Cross-training with a Learning Management System isn’t a magical cure for all the challenges facing your company. However, it does provide an impressive boost to the strength and stamina of your workforce. Building the skills and efficiency of your staff has never been easier, especially now that so much training material can be made available online. Learn more about the biggest benefits of an LMS, and get your workforce into shape with cross-training.