Keep Your Company Running Smoothly with a Smart Strategy
In any company, making employees familiar with more than one job is critical to developing the business and dealing with the unexpected.
A sure-fire strategy for coping with unforeseen circumstances is a cross training program.
Learning more than one job gives team members a look at the whole operation and keeps them motivated. It also saves money and builds a solid succession plan.
Above all, cross training makes your staff more valuable and helps ensure that your company will never be held hostage by employees who regard themselves as "indispensable."
So train your filing clerk to fill in for the receptionist, train the receptionist to cover for a sales rep and train one department head to fill in for another.
Here are seven cross training tips to keep your company in top condition:
Facilitate the buy-in. Present cross training as a learning opportunity for everyone. Ask staff members for suggestions and feedback.
Help them see the big picture. Written job descriptions are useful, but they shouldn't be carved in marble. Let descriptions cover secondary, overlapping duties. Employees get a better understanding of the whole process and a glimpse of opportunities in the company.
Start a lending program. Let one department borrow an employee from another department to play a role in a project. Let's say you want to put out an annual report. Allow a clerk in accounting to help out on that project. It may take only a few hours a week, but it gives the employee a sense of value, which is critical to job satisfaction and retention. It also helps avoid the problem of departments becoming too proprietary and seeing themselves as isolated instead of part of a process.
Set up a "honcho for a day" program. Give solid performers a one-day training session as a department head. Top managers and their assistants can cross-train in different positions. Another technique: When a manager is traveling or on vacation, let a top employee fill in, rather than automatically turning to another manager. Having the added perspective of being in charge even for a little while may help these employees to begin to think in terms of problem solving, rather than always turning to managers for solutions. It may also cause employees to have a new appreciation for what is involved in managing.
Shake things up. Cross training can revive poor performers. Temporarily moving to a different job or department can cause warning bells to go off. Often, the employees return to their usual jobs with a better attitude.
Rotate jobs. Put staff members in other positions for anywhere from one month to six months. Make them completely responsible for the jobs, rather than treat them as trainees. They may complain at first, but you can point out to them that knowing more than one job makes them more valuable.
Groom for the future. Start training successors for key positions while top managers are still on board. This prevents a succession crisis. Identify all the positions that are critical to a smooth operation, then train likely candidates to assume those jobs. After all, you could lose a key manager without warning, so it pays to be prepared.
A well-planned cross training program can boost motivation, increase productivity, rejuvenate departments, and promote teamwork. If it's not a cure for what ails your company, it's certainly a good start.
One company suffered for years with a highly paid controller who was a disruptive influence. The owner was afraid to fire her because she was the only one who knew the accounting system. Finally, the owner began cross training another employee and after a few months, that employee knew enough to let the controller take early retirement. The result was a healthier atmosphere and significant payroll savings since the new controller's salary was lower.
Securities offered through Avantax Investment Services℠, Member FINRA, SIPC. *Investment advisory services offered through Avantax Advisory Services℠ ** Insurance services offered through an Avantax affiliated insurance agency. Avantax affiliated advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states for which they are properly registered. Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state. The Avantax family of companies exclusively provide investment products and services through its representatives. Although Avantax Wealth Management℠ does not provide tax or legal advice, or supervise tax, accounting or legal services, Avantax representatives may offer these services through their independent outside business. This information is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Content, links, and some material within this website may have been created by a third party for use by an Avantax affiliated representative. This content is for educational and informational purposes only and does not represent the views and opinions of Avantax Wealth Management℠ or its subsidiaries. Avantax Wealth Management℠ is not responsible for and does not control, adopt, or endorse any content contained on any third-party website.