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A Small Business Essential: Cross-Training

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 28 May 2021

Give Your Business a Boost

For a small business hiring the right employees can be the difference between success and failure of the business. That’s why cross-training your employees can be a win-win situation for everyone concerned. Larger businesses use cross-training to prepare their managers for future promotions whereas small businesses use cross-training for survival.Cross-training employees

Why cross-train?

      • Employees acquiring new skills.
      • More efficient and effective departments.
      • Growth opportunities.
      • Employees feeling invested in the business.

Establish a cross-training plan.

The size and nature of your business may have a lot to do with how you implement your cross-training plan. Start by prioritizing the areas where cross-training is needed/wanted the most. Do you currently have areas of importance that are dependent on the knowledge of one person? The cross-training program should focus on these areas.

Preparing your employees for cross-training:

Document the work process. 

In order to cross-train employees, it’s necessary to know all the aspects and processes of each job. Write down a complete list of the duties for each job. As you begin the program these written documents will become training documents and can be adjusted as necessary.

Communicate with employees.

Before you start a cross-training program, it’s very important that you speak with every employee that will be involved in the program. Be sure that your employees understand the importance of cross-training. Such as:

      • Covering for an employee that may be ill or on a vacation.
      • New growth or industry standards.
      • Changes to the structure of roles and responsibilities of different jobs.

It’s essential that you communicate with your employees about any updates by holding employee meetings once a week or once a month as to the progress, any changes, or any new steps to the program.

Introduce your cross-training program as an opportunity.

Employees may resist if they feel a threat to their job or if it feels like an added obligation. Motivate employees by highlighting the benefits of the program for developing different skills and the positive impact these skills will have on the business and job security.

Begin with a small pilot program.

Starting small will allow you to test a group of employees and get a better understanding of what will and won’t work in the program. As you gain insight and experience, you can decide when to expand the program.

Establish hours for cross-training.

Don’t spend so much time cross-training that it starts to affect other aspects of your business. Decide how much time you can dedicate to the program and still run the business efficiently. You might set aside a few hours a day or a full day for a certain period of time.

Employee feedback.
Listen and learn from your employees. This will be very valuable feedback when it’s time to tweak your program.

Some employees may resist training others to do their job, which could cause productivity to suffer in the short term. However, consider the cost of not cross-training. If you were to lose a key employee and no one else can do that job, you may have trouble finding a suitable replacement and your business will suffer until you do.

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At Summit CPA we offer multiple resources to assist and help your business grow. Are you’re ready to get an edge over your competitors? Contact our office at (866) 497-9761to schedule an appointment with our advisors.

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