Human Resources

Develop Your Employees with Cross-Training

The following information comes from BLR’s 10-Minute HR Trainer session, “Cross-Training to Promote Better Productivity.”

Employee Training concept. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper with Red Vertical Line Background.

How Do You Decide Which Tasks to Cross-Train?

  • Functions and tasks that are connected in some way are good candidates for cross-training, for example, sequentially, where an employee performs a task that precedes or follows the task for which he or she is being cross-trained.
  • Focus on skills and knowledge that are most in demand in your work group or department.
  • Make a list of potential cross-training tasks and review it with employees to get their input and suggestions, and to find out which tasks each worker would like to learn.
  • Talk to other supervisors and discuss cross-training opportunities for your employees. For example, if your work groups or department are performing complementary or related functions, cross-training employees will give them a better understanding of one another’s needs.

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What Are the Steps in a Cross-Training Program?

  1. Once you have selected jobs for cross-training, work with the employee(s) who already perform the task to develop a job training outline and written training guides and aids. Experienced employees are the most knowledgeable about their jobs and should have a lot to contribute to your cross-training program.
  2. Sit down with those you are planning to cross-train and explain the reason for the training, what they will be learning, required standards of tasks they will be learning, etc. Answer questions about your cross-training program and ask for input from trainees.
  3. Schedule cross-training for times that are convenient for employees and production.
  4. Plan to cross-train several employees to perform each task so that you will always have someone available when necessary.
  5. You can perform cross-training yourself or delegate it to the employee already experienced in performing the task (which is probably the better option, given all your other duties).
  6. You will need to evaluate the learning yourself, however, checking that cross-trained employees are competent to perform new duties.
  7. Provide refresher training from time to time if cross-training duties are not used frequently.

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How Can You Maintain and Improve Your Cross-Training Program?

  • Look for cross-training opportunities whenever there are changes in staffing, equipment, procedures, workflow, scheduling, etc.
  • Encourage employees to suggest ideas for cross-training.
  • Cross-train new employees, but only after they’ve had a chance to master their own job.
  • Make sure you give all employees an opportunity to participate in your cross-training program.

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As its name implies, this product trains managers and supervisors in critical HR skills in as little as 10 minutes for each topic. 10-Minute HR Trainer offers these features:

Trains in 50 key HR topics under all major employment laws, including manager and supervisor responsibilities, and how to legally carry out managerial actions from hiring to termination. (See a complete list of topics below.)

Uses the same teaching sequence master teachers use. Every training unit includes an overview, bullet points on key lessons, a quiz, and a handout to reinforce the lesson later.

Completely prewritten and self-contained. Each unit comes as a set of reproducible documents. Just make copies or turn them into overheads, and you’re done. (Take a look at a sample lesson below.)

Updated continually. As laws change, your training needs to do so as well. 10-Minute HR Trainer provides new lessons and updated information every 90 days, along with a monthly Training Forum newsletter, for as long as you are in the program.

Works fast. Each session is so focused that there’s not a second’s waste of time. Your managers are in and out almost before they can look at the clock, yet they remember small details even months later.

Evaluate It at No Cost for 30 Days

We’ve arranged to make 10-Minute HR Trainer available to our readers for a 30-day, in-office, no-cost trial. Review it at your own pace and try some lessons with your colleagues. If it’s not for you, return it at our expense. Click here and we’ll set you up with 10-Minute HR Trainer.

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