Cross-Training

Creating a Flexible Workforce

Managing in China

Train your team to be more flexible.

© iStockphoto/track5

Imagine that the person who runs your firm's accounting reports is off sick.

The problem?

No one else knows how to run the reports without making mistakes.

And if they aren't run, the month-end recap will be thrown into chaos.

Your organization has likely run into situations like this. Often, teams are made up of individuals with specialized skills or knowledge, and one person's absence can negatively affect the productivity of the entire group. This is especially true in smaller teams.

This is just one reason why it can be useful to cross-train people within your team. In the example above, if another member of your team had been trained to run the accounting reports, there would be no need to worry.

In this article, we'll examine the many benefits of cross-training, and we'll look at how to implement a successful cross-training program with your team.

What is Cross-Training?

Cross-training is the practice of training your people to work in several different roles, or training them to do tasks that lie outside their normal responsibilities.

For instance, you might use cross-training to teach someone who works in Collections how to work in the Billing Department, and vice versa. You could then move people from one team to another when there's a staff shortage, or when one department is exceptionally busy.

Benefits

There are many benefits to cross-training people in your team. For instance, cross-training can:

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