January 25, 2024

Are You Cross-Training Your Team? If not, you should.

At Beyond Paralegals we work on teams and cross training is part of our success. Last week we got to see this practice in action when a vendor we hired was struggling to meet milestones on a project they were hired to complete.

The minute it became obvious the vendor was struggling, our team was able to jump in, assess the project, and save the project from missing another deadline.

No matter how great your organization is, there will be times when employees are sick, leave on vacation, or leave to pursue other opportunities.

When this happens, it’s your duty to make sure your team is prepared.

Think of cross-training as insurance against the inevitable.

While cross-training may result in some short-term loss in productivity, it’s a small price to pay for long-term risk mitigation and increased efficiency.

Here Are Five Tips for Successful Cross-Training

1. Create a culture of collective success. For some employees, being indispensable is a point of pride. Make it clear that your organization values people’s ability to support each other and that single points of failure are a company-wide weakness. Show employees that their capacity to help their co-workers in times of need will benefit them when they need additional support.

2. Set formal expectations. Require employees to have at least one person who can step into their role at a moment’s notice. Make it mandatory, give clear instructions, and provide time for people to cross-train effectively.

3. Test your success. Run simulations to ensure cross-training meets your expectations. See if a key employee can go away on vacation with absolutely no team contact. If someone is able to step in in this person’s absence, you’re covered.

4. Develop a feedback mechanism. Give employees an opportunity to give you feedback on the impact of cross-training activities, and use this information to continuously improve your efforts.

5. Document procedures. It is imperative to have processes and procedures documented to cross-train employees effectively. Make sure this process includes any digital training assets. This organizational undertaking will help with your effort to implement cross-training and improve future onboarding efforts.

Cross training your team is like having a good insurance policy.