McDonald’s does it. Major retailers do it. Even Amazon does it. Cross-training is a strong business model for companies seeking to alleviate the risk that knowledge within a department is only shared by a few people. IT should take a page from these companies and make sure that teams are cross-trained whenever possible. What are the benefits of sharing job knowledge between different working groups? What is cross-training and how can it help your team?
What is Cross-Training?
Cross-training is a process of identifying tasks, the skills necessary to do the tasks, and workflows within a specific area of your organization. Then you teach those skills to other members of your teams, so that multiple people have multiple job skills. For example, your Business Analysts (BAs) should also be able to sub as Testers (QAs)—and vice versa. Your Senior Developers may be able to serve as a Scrum Master for a day, if the normal Project Manager is out sick. The idea is that several people have the cross functional skills needed to take on several jobs in your organization. How does this benefit your company?
Three Ways Cross-Training Helps Your Company
Cross-training can boost your bottom line. For example, if you have new Junior Developers joining the team, instead of hiring a specific team member devoted to training, you can leverage a Developer Team Leader as the Trainer. This can stretch a small staff a little farther, but it can also help save time and money. A professional Developer, in this example, will know what training a new Programmer really needs to help them hit the ground running.
Cross-training keeps your workforce motivated. Instead of doing the same job day in and day out, cross-training teaches your workforce valuable new skills that will keep them engaged in the goals of the company. Cross-training makes employees feel valued, and it will also help your workers collaborate, because they know what it takes to do several jobs. Teams won’t have to take as much time thoroughly explaining their work, because the people they’re collaborating with are already familiar with the work they do. For employees seeking growth in the company, cross-training is a way to let them know how much you value them by reaping the benefit of their good work.
Cross-training increases workforce and business sustainability for your organization. For companies where only a few workers hold all the knowledge, if those employees leave, what happens to that organizational knowledge? What happens if one of these valuable employees becomes ill or takes a vacation? Cross-training benefits your business by creating redundancy in the very important workflows that sustain your organization. That way, if one arm of your business falters, there is another to shore it up.
Cross-training your workforce is a critical part of an agile work environment that stays prepared for the future. Organizations that prepare themselves in this way will always stay slightly ahead of competitors who do not. Another way organizations can improve their efficiency is to work with an expert team of IT recruiters at the Blackstone Talent Group. Our job is to help you meet your hiring goals. Find out more by contacting us today.