The Ongoing Need for Cross-Training
Managing its effectiveness also will help build a highly skilled workforce.
In prior columns, I have discussed the importance to any organization of a well-trained, highly skilled workforce. Although a component of increased employee skills may be provided externally through schools, training organizations and trade associations, skills training is mostly delivered internally. For most jobs, cross-training is the fastest and most effective means of increasing skills. Effective cross-training, during which employees learn from each other, allows job-specific skills to be absorbed and applied in the workplace. As a result, most employees get up to speed at a faster rate. Although not everyone can be a great trainer, almost anyone can show others how they do certain things, and this is the first step to raising the skills of others.
Managing the effectiveness of training is critical to any successful skills-enhancement effort. For a number of years, I have used a simple matrix that has been effective in recording and communicating employee skill levels, as well as targeting areas where further training is required. Color makes the skills matrix highly visual and even more useful.