3 Tips To Cross Train Employees And Improve ProductivityIf you’re backing up your company’s data securely, congratulations — you’re probably sleeping better at night already. But what plans do you have in place to back up your institutional knowledge? In the life of almost any business, employees will come and go, leaving the company or moving on to other positions within the organization. How can you preserve the time they put into learning their jobs and developing procedures?
A common strategy is to create how-to documentation for specific jobs and tasks. Unfortunately, these can be a tremendous waste of time. Business processes are changing all the time in a dynamic small business and training materials can quickly become obsolete.
To safeguard your company’s institutional knowledge, try these three tips.
- Build cross-functional skills through job-shadowing and cross-training: Let’s say you have two employees, one who handles financials and another who handles customers. Cross-training probably won’t result in both employees sharing a granular, detailed understanding of each position — that requires actually doing the job on a daily basis. It will, however, give employees a better understanding of who does what in the company, helping them to discover easier ways to accomplish tasks and easing transitions when people leave the company or change positions.
- Involve your entire staff in cross-training: Even if one area of the business appears more complex than another, each department is important. Instead of trying to prioritize cross-training for particular positions, implement company-wide cross-training, involving everyone in career coaching, shadowing or cross-functional job training. This provides everyone with opportunities to teach, learn and grow.
- Keep documentation focused on high level concepts: To make sure that creating documentation isn’t a waste of time, how-to manuals need to be fluid enough to absorb the inevitable tweaks and adjustments.
While documentation and how-to manuals have their uses, they usually aren’t thorough or dynamic enough to truly capture and preserve the knowledge that drives your company’s daily operations and long-term strategies. Instead, small businesses should focus on building cross-functional skills through company-wide coaching, shadowing and cross-training.
We want to hear your thoughts. What cross-training methods would you recommend for businesses? Join the discussion in the comments section below!
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