Project Management

Cross-Training: Improving Flexibility in the Workplace

Mike Donoghue is a member of a multinational information technology corporation where he collaborates on the communications guidelines and customer relationship strategies affecting the interactions with internal and external clients. He has analyzed, defined, designed and overseen processes for various engagements including product usability and customer satisfaction, best practice enterprise standardization, relationship/branding structures, and distribution effectiveness and direction. He has also established corporate library solutions to provide frameworks for sales, marketing, training, and support divisions.

Before difficult times come to your organization when there is poor health, bad weather or other potential impacts to employees and their crucial work, it’s important for you to consider and plan for how their skills can be overlapped with those of other individuals.

For many jobs at small and large firms alike, there is need for redundancy in order to keep processes flowing and maintaining “business as usual” practices from a continuity perspective. This can be accomplished through cross-training—and while its use may seem bothersome to some staff members, it is essential to company success.

As much of a nuisance as it might be to individuals, it is also a bonus in that it gives them the opportunity to learn new skills and responsibilities that they might not otherwise have access to. Gaining new and greater knowledge can make an employee more appreciated by their employer—while also diversifying their routines and encouraging their own mental stimulation.

On a high level, the benefits of cross-training may include:

  • More self-awareness from staff regarding occupational roles and purpose
  • Greater understanding and accommodation for scheduling
  • More employee development and professional improvement opportunities, including greater and more enriching opportunities
  • Opportunities to create better support options through expert staff

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- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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