Because cross-trained employees are more knowledgeable about the overall business processes of the organization, their conceptual understanding of the mission of their organization is enhanced by every incremental increase of their involvement and knowledge of its operations (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Beyond that element of increased involvement, the fact that cross-trained workforces tend to improve the morale and organizational connectedness of individual employees also contributes directly to organizational benefits through the positive impact on individual performance. Finally, cross-trained workforces also collaborate better and exhibit increased interpersonal rapport with coworkers. According to generally accepted principles of organizational behavior, this element also improves individual work performance beyond what is capable of achieving without such interpersonal rapport among coworkers (Russell-Whalling, 2008).
Conclusions and Recommendations
The review of the available literature on the beneficial effects of cross-trained workforces on their organizations strongly suggests that, as a general rule, cross-training should be implemented in business organizations wherever possible. Ideally, it should be developed as core principle in human resource functions so that it is reflected universally, from job descriptions, recruitment, interview, hiring, initial training, and in-service training and job performance evaluation and promotion. At the organizational level, cross-training employees can dramatically improve organizational efficiency by reducing costs, introducing operational redundancy, improving inter-departmental coordination and collaboration, and by improving both individual work performance and interpersonal relations among coworkers.
Accordingly, it is recommended that this organization begin implementing cross-training immediately. Toward that end, it is recommended that an advisory committee be convened for the purpose of determining which specific job functions would be the most beneficial and logical combinations in that endeavor. After the specific job functions are identified, managers from the respective departments should be interviewed and they should submit proposals outlining the responsibilities they would most recommend for specific departments and employees by positions. After it is determined which employees should receive cross-training in which areas, a training development program should be instituted to design the optimal methodology for implementation. Finally, a long-term program of cross-training development and evaluation should be established and implemented to ensure that cross-training decisions continue to remain effective as the needs of the organization change over time.
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