Disprz & ETHR bring you the e-book: War for talent - how to win with learning & skilling

cross-skilling employees

Cross-Skilling – A Strategy To Make The Most Of Your Company’s Talent

The American workforce is quitting at an exponential pace. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021, new hires totaled 75.3 million, and separations totaled 68.9 million. 

“The Great Reshuffle” is a bitter truth that has shaken the U.S. business space. The Millennials and Gen Z are interested in expanding their skillset for advancing in their careers. Unfortunately,  they aren’t getting enough growth opportunities. Hence multiple research and surveys prove that they are switching companies to explore new roles that would add value to their careers.

Wondering how to retain your best talent amidst “The Great Reshuffle.”?

Well, “Cross-skilling” is your solution to address the attrition problem.

Let’s find out what is cross-skilling and how you can implement it in your organization to improve retention. 

What is the meaning of cross-skilling for employees?

Cross-skilling is popularly known as worker multifunctionality. It focuses on training employees in new skills to efficiently manage multiple responsibilities beyond their current roles.  For instance, a social media executive can expand his skillset by learning outbound digital marketing skills like SEO, storytelling, data analysis,  CRO(conversion rate optimization), etc., to improve cross-functional productivity and performance for your organisation’s digital presence.

Rather than being confined to one area, cross-skilling gives employees the flexibility to learn and perform tasks outside their niche of expertise to stay relevant in a volatile market. Moreover, with the right cross-skilling strategies, employees can easily move to different roles within the organisation. 

The are several benefits of cross-skilling employees like:

  • Reduces employee turnover
  • Increases opportunities for employees to expand capabilities and grow 
  • Reduces the cost of hiring additional professionals for a specific role 
  • Mitigates the risk of hindrances in various processes 
  • Boosts collaborative productivity 
  • Creates a more agile workforce to handle unforeseen circumstances and respond to changing business conditions 

Several visionary companies are making positive strides toward employee cross-skilling to ensure internal progression. Employees feel valued when the company invests in their career growth, which propels them to stay loyal to the company for long. Thus several visionary companies are putting efforts into developing effective cross-skilling programs. 

How to design an effective cross-training program for your organization?

designing cross-training program

Now that we know what cross-skilling is, let’s explore how to design an effective on-the-job cross-training program for your organization. 

Define roles and benchmark skills against each role 

With digital acceleration in the U.S., new roles have emerged to cater to business innovation needs. Defining these roles and outlining the responsibilities is crucial for boosting operational efficiency. 

Once you define the roles by function, research, identify and benchmark the trending skills for each role. Create a skills catalog and update it regularly as the skills are changing quickly due to continuous digital advancements.  

Match employees to cross-skilling opportunities 

Using this skill catalog you created, determine the employees in the specific business areas who will benefit by taking up the new responsibilities in addition to their current roles. Have a one-to-one conversation with the employees to discover their career aspirations and help them understand how the responsibilities will contribute to their career growth. 

The employee’s interest in cross-skilling is of paramount importance. An employee interested in the new role will take the initiative to develop the new skill, while an uninterested employee will look at it as an albatross around the neck. 

Plan and Determine the best methodology for cross training

Planning is crucial to ensure that you are headed in the right direction. So, plan the entire cross-skilling journey. Use the skill catalog as a base and design resources for each unique skill. Determine whether you will use one format or have a conglomeration of various learning formats like blogs, webinars, videos, etc., and create a blended learning pathway. 

Choosing the right methodology is pivotal for making any cross-training initiative successful.

Below are a few methodologies to cross training your employee:

Instructor-led training: The L&D professionals define a learning path that learners must follow and complete in a stipulated period. They even conduct assessments to ensure the employee is fully ready and has the right skills to take up the new responsibilities.

Self-directed learning: The learners get the flexibility to learn at their own pace. They either research for content or access a content repository created by the L&D professionals to develop specific skills. 

Hybrid learning: It is the perfect mix of the methods mentioned above. For instance, the employees can initially receive formal training on specific topics and then delve deep through self-directed learning to master the specific skill. 

Measure the impact of cross-skilling programs

It’s critical to measure the effectiveness of your cross-skilling programs. Take feedback from the employees to understand if the cross-skilling programs have helped them manage their new tasks efficiently. Understand their learning needs. Based on the feedback, tweak your cross-skilling programs and make them more impactful to capture the interest of your employees. 

How can Disprz, a complete skilling suite, help you in successfully implementing cross-skilling for your organisation 

The right technology plays a significant role in making a new strategy successful in the organisation. Cutting-edge L&D  technology like Disprz can be your helping hand in cross-training your employees. The end-to-end learning & skilling suite from Disprz enables enterprises to win in the digital-first world by right-skilling and unlocking the potential of employees. It has succeeded in empowering more than 1.7 million learners in 135+ countries to stay always job-ready.

Using Disprz, you can give your employees the flexibility to explore skills that interest them, all while driving learning initiatives that seamlessly blend with your employee’s flow of work. This powerful AI-based platform provides personalised and intelligent learning recommendations based on the skill and interests of the learners. It enables you to define and benchmark role-based functional, leadership, digital & meta-skills for various roles. 

You can gauge employees’ readiness for the new roles through self or manager assessment. Based on their proficiency level for different skills, you can create standard learning pathways to cross-skill the workforce. The best part is that all the learning data is streamlined in one place. So you can easily track the learning progress and make real-time amendments to drive a successful cross-skilling program. 

Cross-skilling is a great strategy to make the most of the existing talent amidst the ongoing US inflation. Give the employees reasons to stay by focusing on their growth with unwavering determination. The right technology can help you drive impactful cross-skilling programs at scale to get the best ROI and improve retention. 

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