Mutually Beneficial: The Act of Cross-training
Who would blatantly ignore something that is mutually beneficial to both the employee and the business? The probable answer: no one! For the employee, cross-training makes you more valuable to the company than you could imagine. For the company, cross-training should be looked at as your “back-up plan.” Cross-training can be so much more than that, too. At a time when employees are more restless than ever—according to a Gallup survey, 51% of workers are looking to leave their current jobs—the idea of getting your feet wet in other areas of the company is helping retention rates all over the country.
One of the greatest benefits of cross-training, we’ve seen at L & D Mail Masters, is the renewed sense of purpose within the company. With 60% of our employees having worked here for five or more years, this is extremely important. Managing the same machine, handling the same accounts, or directing the same projects gets boring and tiresome. It is human nature. It’s vital to train them on another task in order to renew the employees’ interest. They will appreciate it and you will see better retention rates from it. Every company could benefit from higher retention rates, because studies say every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs six to nine months’ salary on average.
Aside from retention, sometimes we get in the groove of things and don’t take a step back to look at procedures and policies. When we include “outsiders” in a task, we may get advice on more efficient and effect ways to conquer a task. The marketing department can help a sales person view things differently, sales may be able to help production be more efficient, etc. If we are open to others’ perspectives, we may be better as a company. After all, this only empowers our employees which help retention rates, as well.
Boosting morale, increasing retention rates and implementing a “disaster recovery program” can all be done with cross-training. Your challenge, now, is to get out there and make a point to get one employee cross-trained per week. “Take a walk in my shoes, it’s not as easy as it looks.”