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Friday, 03 October 2014 22:14

Cross Training

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Cross Training

Cross training refers to training employees in multiple functions across the organization, the benefits of which are many. In order for us to stay fresh in the workplace it is important to learn new things, more complex activities. If we remain static, do the same things over and over again, boredom sets in and it impacts productivity and satisfaction in the work that we accomplish. Seeking change in our personal and professional lives is important and necessary for growth. Employees get worn-out doing similar things over and over again. Cross training is a good way to provide employees with the change they seek in their routine work.

This is a popular concept in exercise. An example of cross training could mean bicycling along with a running regimen. It prevents injury because different muscle groups are strengthened and the variety allows someone to keep a fresher perspective by performing different routines. The same goes for brain activity; performing more creative or “right brained” activity can actually help “left brain” or a logical activity since it allows you to think more creatively to solve problems.

Employee cross training helps managers to circumvent stagnation, improve motivation and rejuvenate departments. Most managers consider monetary rewards the best form of motivation. However, cash rewards and perks are taken for granted more often than not. Employee motivation can only be built and sustained in a professional and unified atmosphere.

From a management perspective, this allows them to have more flexibility in work assignments. If an employee has been cross trained to perform other work and that employee is not available, they could step in and help out. The manager automatically has “bench players” to assist and create team work. This also helps prevent staff from feeling that their work is more significant than the work of others.

This mindset can be reduced through cross training. When an employee works in unfamiliar departments, they will learn to better appreciate and respect their colleagues since they will realize what it takes to perform those tasks. So, besides familiarizing employees with the work of other departments, cross training also improves employee attitudes.

Cross training can sometimes be used as a disciplinary strategy for employees who are lapsing into non-performance. Employees often return from this temporary transfer rejuvenated, and this is reflected in their work.

However, there can be the opposite effect if this strategy is used for negative reasons like sending employees to another department with little notice and no explanation. This could be perceived as a disciplinary action and can demotivate them.

An effective cross-training program has to be a planned process that involves employees in decision making, and they should be given ample time to accept the idea and offer feedback.

Cross training, when conducted effectively, can benefit both the organization and its employees. Employees learn new skills, build teams and management can motivate them without using perks or other financial means of motivation.

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at

Read 3928 times Last modified on Friday, 03 October 2014 22:18
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