Cross-training only makes workers and your business stronger. Many of our coworkers at Sunset Hill Stoneware use it to keep things running while we make stoneware mugs for your organization, so we’re familiar with the benefits of cross-training in our own business.
Whether cross-training is something you haven’t even considered or an idea you’ve only had in passing, it has plenty of benefits. We’ve compiled the top five benefits of cross-training that you’ll see in your own business over time.
1. Makes Workers Feel Valued
Training your employees to work in multiple roles says more to them than a jeans day or a pizza party ever could. It shows that you value them as workers and trust them to be able to do different tasks. Among other benefits, this can help lower turnover rates and ultimately improve employee satisfaction in profound ways.
Whether this employee plans on staying with your business for two years or two decades, cross-training makes them more valuable. With it, they’re more versatile and independent, but they also make even better teammates. They can collaborate and bring their own ideas. Those ideas not only will make your business stronger, but allows them to see they’re making a difference in your business and the lives it touches.
Sunset Hill Stoneware has several teammates who are cross-trained for different positions. In the shop, many of our coworkers learn how to become potters or take on other roles so their role in the company can grow. A lot of these artisans have worked here for years. Members of our customer care team are also trained for sales, which keeps our business thriving. We offer cross-training to any employee that wants it because it makes all of our team members more valuable.
2. Streamlines Your Process
The fewer hands each project touches, the faster your team can finish it. While you probably won’t be replacing your entire team with Inspector Gadget and the Six Million Dollar Man and having them do the work of 20 people, cross-training can help get your product or service out faster.
This benefit is in action in Sunset Hill Stoneware’s production facility. Most of our prepping, finishing and glazing teams know how to work with our kilns. A few of our team members in the handle and medallion department can make our medallions and cut them out. Plus, some members of our shipping team can also operate other shop equipment to keep everything in working condition.
As an added bonus, cross-training can bring out talents in your employees and coworkers that you may not have known about. This doesn’t mean you can rebuild them—you don’t, in fact, have the technology—but it can make your business stronger. In turn, it will push your company further toward its long-term goals.
3. Saves Money
Cross-training works wonders for your bottom line. Not only does it save your company money, but it can also lead to a better return on investment from your team.
In many cases, having a single employee for a single task can have negative consequences for the product or service you offer, including driving up costs and the price of your service. This could drive away customers in the long run and hurt your business. Instead, if you have employees who do their jobs well, cross-train them to further empower them in their work. This can save your business from added onboarding costs down the line.
Sunset Hill Stoneware already handcrafts a premium product. The hands of up to 20 different people handle each mug before you receive them. While we’re proud of our product’s handcrafted quality, we also try to be aware of the labor costs involved in making our product. As anyone involved in human resources can attest, hiring and training new workers is expensive and can slow down production for months while the new employee gets used to their job. Cross-training our current employees cuts down on this while keeping our wholesale prices competitive.
However, a word of caution: Don’t use cross-training to decrease salary and benefit costs for your existing employees. This will just make everyone overworked and miserable in the long run. You might even see some people jumping ship, putting you right back at square one.
4. Keeps Things Running
Suppose one of your people was suddenly snowed in tomorrow, with five-foot drifts outside their front door. Fact aside that it’s August, that would probably slow production down if you hadn’t cross-trained your other workers. If that employee has a vital role, it could disrupt your entire day, even though the rest of your team made it in.
Sunset Hill Stoneware has a set of standard operating procedures for many of its roles. With these, our team members have a guide for how to do almost any job. That way, even if someone is out sick, we can keep our business running smoothly while they’re away.
Nobody wants to think about employees leaving, but one of the benefits of cross-training your employees is that it can make the transition easier. It allows another employee to fill in until you have another person you can train for that position. While it may take some adjusting, you won’t build the same amount of backlog that you would if nobody else was trained for that role in the meantime.
5. Cuts Bloat
Nobody likes bloat. Even the word “bloat” sounds gross. In your business though, any sort of bloat in your department or chain of command can hurt your productivity.
Having just one person or team to handle a certain type of task seems like a good organization method, but that’s not necessarily true. After all, if there’s a sudden backlog of people waiting on reports from one individual, it makes the reports come slower. In turn, that makes it harder for your business to make adjustments as needed and less responsive to challenges. It also gives your competitors time to swoop in and take away your business.
Cross-training keeps your business healthy and allows more than one person to complete those necessary tasks like reporting. It cuts down on unnecessary costs and can keep your production from hitting a bottleneck. It keeps your company lean and makes adjusting easier. After all, in today’s world, it pays to keep your company agile.
As your business keeps growing, cross-training is the option that saves your company the most money while improving your team’s satisfaction. While you don’t have to train every single teammate to do every job in the company tomorrow, one of the biggest benefits of cross-training is that it keeps your business on track to its goals.