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Friday, 03 October 2014 22:14

Cross Training

Cross Training

Cross training refers to training employees in multiple functions across the organization, the benefits of which are many. In order for us to stay fresh in the workplace it is important to learn new things, more complex activities. If we remain static, do the same things over and over again, boredom sets in and it impacts productivity and satisfaction in the work that we accomplish. Seeking change in our personal and professional lives is important and necessary for growth. Employees get worn-out doing similar things over and over again. Cross training is a good way to provide employees with the change they seek in their routine work.

This is a popular concept in exercise. An example of cross training could mean bicycling along with a running regimen. It prevents injury because different muscle groups are strengthened and the variety allows someone to keep a fresher perspective by performing different routines. The same goes for brain activity; performing more creative or “right brained” activity can actually help “left brain” or a logical activity since it allows you to think more creatively to solve problems.

Employee cross training helps managers to circumvent stagnation, improve motivation and rejuvenate departments. Most managers consider monetary rewards the best form of motivation. However, cash rewards and perks are taken for granted more often than not. Employee motivation can only be built and sustained in a professional and unified atmosphere.

From a management perspective, this allows them to have more flexibility in work assignments. If an employee has been cross trained to perform other work and that employee is not available, they could step in and help out. The manager automatically has “bench players” to assist and create team work. This also helps prevent staff from feeling that their work is more significant than the work of others.

This mindset can be reduced through cross training. When an employee works in unfamiliar departments, they will learn to better appreciate and respect their colleagues since they will realize what it takes to perform those tasks. So, besides familiarizing employees with the work of other departments, cross training also improves employee attitudes.

Cross training can sometimes be used as a disciplinary strategy for employees who are lapsing into non-performance. Employees often return from this temporary transfer rejuvenated, and this is reflected in their work.

However, there can be the opposite effect if this strategy is used for negative reasons like sending employees to another department with little notice and no explanation. This could be perceived as a disciplinary action and can demotivate them.

An effective cross-training program has to be a planned process that involves employees in decision making, and they should be given ample time to accept the idea and offer feedback.

Cross training, when conducted effectively, can benefit both the organization and its employees. Employees learn new skills, build teams and management can motivate them without using perks or other financial means of motivation.

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at

Published in Blogs

best_placeWhen I started my company, Journyx, 13 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I am a programmer and technology geek by nature and I left my programming job to start my own company with nothing but an idea and a dream. Back then, I did not have the experience needed to effectively manage people. I had to learn these skills through trial and error, and I had to learn them fast, in order to keep the company going.  After all, human resources are a company\'s most valuable asset.

Over the years, I have done every job there is in the company.  I’ve been the accountant, the software developer, the marketing and PR professional, the testing department, integration services, customer technical support and sales.  I have lost sleep when we were close to missing payroll, watched as competitors copied our software bit for bit and lied about us to prospects, and then celebrated along with hard-working employees as we achieved success.  Today, Journyx has 50 employees and several million dollars in sales with absolutely no outside investment.  Here are some of the things I learned along the way about managing and motivating employees to reach their highest potential.

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 17:59

What is Motivation?

motivation-cartoonMotivation is the most important determinant for individual performance; yet, it is also the most difficult to analyze and define. Though behavior can be observed, motivational impact cannot be studied directly. The conceptual nature of motivation has given rise to the need for theories and models to help organizations better understand motivation. These theories have been divided into two categories: Content and Process.

Published in Blogs
Monday, 16 April 2007 08:18

A Question of Ethics

Ethics has been the topic of several separate conversations I have had recently.  One friend expressed near outrage about a discussion she overheard between two of her managers.  It ended with one saying, “Well, your ethics aren’t necessarily mine!”  Another friend found it amusing that he was able to avoid the company ethics meeting by lying about already attending. 

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 08 April 2007 20:15

Your Intentions are Talking About You

For many weeks now you have listened to one of your colleagues say, “I really should dust off my resume, this position is not growing my career.” In spite of this it never occurs to you that your colleague is truly going to make a job change. You hear many people talk about what they should do or name actions they need to take. But actions speak louder than words and right now all you are observing is talk and no action.

Then one week you hear a new phrase. “This weekend I want to work on my resume”, you even hear a different tone of voice emanating from your colleague. Now it sounds like after weeks of stating he should be starting a job search, he is really moving forward. And it occurs to you that perhaps he really is serious about looking for a new job.

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