Should You Cross-Train Employees?

Cross-training involves training your employees to perform in different job roles throughout your company, either within the same department or  across departments This discipline is often overlooked and under-appreciated in the business world. Many organizations and individual managers view cross training as a potential waste of time, money, and resources, a theory that’s especially prevalent in companies with high turnover rates.


What most don’t realize is that cross-training can actually help you reduce employee turnover — and that’s just one of the advantages of implementing this strategy.

Cross-training benefits for employers

Developing a cross training program in your workplace can help you and your leadership team in many ways. Some of the advantages to cross training your employees include:

  • Decreased turnover. Cross-trained employees often experience less boredom and more job satisfaction, making them inclined to stay with the company longer.
  • Workforce gap management. With cross-training, when Employee A takes vacation days or calls in sick, then Employee B — who’s been cross trained in Employee A’s role — can step in and help to keep things running smoothly.
  • Extended in-house training. If you have multiple cross-trained employees, you’ll always have someone on hand to train new hires in a given position.
  • Increased organizational flexibility. Cross-training allows you to shift employees between positions as needed, such as when one department is busier than usual and another is particularly slow. Cross-trained employees allow you to streamline the production flow in your workplace.

Cross training benefits for employees

With a cross training program, you can improve things for your employees — which in turn makes things better for you. Some advantages of cross-training to employees include:

  • Job flexibility. Cross-training lets employees work on different tasks, with different people, instead of performing the same tasks day after day. This helps to decrease boredom and frustration, leading to increased morale, satisfaction, and productivity.
  • Increased recognition. By offering cross training, your employees will be able to find other positions they’re well suited for, and get the chance to shine with new skills that can lead to greater workplace recognition.
  • A friendlier environment. Working in different positions lets employees appreciate the tasks their co-workers perform. This can facilitate understanding and empathy, which generally improves the workplace culture and environment (and makes everyone happier).
  • Smoother operations. Cross-training not only increases the skills and experiences of your employees, which enhances their value to the company, but also gives them a clearer picture of production as a whole. As they learn what happens in other departments, they’re able to operate more efficiently—which can help to lower stress levels, as well.

Tips for implementing cross training

There are many different types of cross training. Choosing the right program for your organization depends on several factors, including the size of the company, the type of industry, and the availability of resources. Smaller cross-training programs may involve training employees to perform select tasks handled by others, rather than teaching them an entirely new position. Larger companies may be able to implement cross-departmental training.

As it is with any strategy, employee involvement is the key to successful cross training. Some of your employees may not be willing (or able) to learn new positions, while others may be hungry for change. Rather than assigning cross training to employees based on seniority or performance, make decisions on a case-by-case basis, with individual employee input.

Cross-training can strengthen your organization and deliver increased satisfaction for both employers and employees. With a strategic cross-training program, you can realize immediate benefits on several levels. To learn more about how we can aid you in your candidate search, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at to find out more about how we can help you find the top candidates you need!


Tagged: , , , , , ,