We believe that all of us have experienced a situation where needed to do multiple jobs simultaneously, perhaps even jobs we weren’t supposed to do, but have taken responsibility for it. Businesses today may lose revenue and may even fail when a worker leaves at a critical time. Therefore it’s necessary to cross-train your employees to better allow them to do various duties in order to avoid this kind of dilemma.

Can your company afford to give your worker five weeks vacation? The CEO of a certain company can do this because he is prepared to handle such a situation. How does he do it? The answer is cross-training.

If you do not cross-train, your company is at risk when things go out of hand.

Things change: People extend their holidays, have kids, move, or just grab other better opportunities. Although it may seem that the business is made up of workers who are capable of doing their everyday duties, have you ever considered preparing them to handle other additional duties which they weren’t meant to perform?

Successful businesses realize that they should be flexible, so they train workers to have a wide selection of skills in case of unplanned and unexpected absence of some staff. Workers must be trained to do more than just their routinely appointed duties in case they have to do a job in place of another worker’s absence. This enables workers to obtain a better understanding of company organization and a greater sense of what other jobs entail.

“When employees understand what other people in the company do, it helps to stop the ‘us versus them’ sentiment.

A good cross-training program can enhance employee engagement and retention, boost work efficiency and reduce personnel turnover.

Numerous companies have announced that they would provide their salaried workers up to six months or even one year of paid parental leave as required. Although these are extremely lax policies, all businesses have some kind of policy for parental leave or vacation leave. The solution to managing workforce fluctuations and ensuring that company operations go smoothly, is cross-training.

We read a Forbes.com article about the concept of the T-shaped person and how employees should not be limited to their present expertise only, but should be able to collaborate across different departments. Essentially, cross-training produces employees who are T-shaped, which means they are durable, agile, flexible, efficient and work as part of a team.

The key point is to produce a responsive workforce, one which adjusts to the changes that could occur and can deal with any slow or sudden changes. An effective and efficient cross-training program creates a culture within the organization that is characterized by teamwork, clear objectives, measurable success and open to feedback.

Workers that are trained to wear multiple hats, apart from the main one they were employed to perform, help to create a flexible work place. Sometimes this flexibility can be an opportunity for the employee to have more job satisfaction and more opportunity for career growth.

Workers who participate in cross-training do not just further improve their skills and knowledge, but could possibly help in discovering the jobs they are better at.

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