Improving Onboarding with Cross-Functional Training

by | Nov 25, 2014

Improving Onboarding with Cross-Functional Training

Workforce Management and New Hires, Part 3

In this three-part series, we’re exploring new hire best practices that emerged from the 2014-2015 Trend Survey.

Last week, we talked about using workforce management to schedule mandatory courses and pair new and seasoned employees. Another strategy that emerged from the data is rotating new hires through different jobs, strategically providing cross-functional training for all new hires. Most notable in Energy and Utilities (42 percent) and Manufacturing (39 percent), this trend is also used in Retail and Hospitality (31 percent).

Why Provide Cross-Functional Training

In all three of these industries, employee roles are interconnected. Employees who perform well in their respective roles—or not—impact the success of other teams throughout the organization. For example:

  • Energy and Utilities – Field workers must work with those in transmission and distribution to ensure that available energy can be accessed, measured, and transmitted effectively. Scheduling new hires to work cross-functionally in multiple roles gives them a greater understanding of their own role and what other teams need from them most urgently.
  • Manufacturing – In many manufacturing plants, employees are grouped by the component parts they are responsible for creating. A breakdown in the manufacturing process of one small piece can result in widespread failure of the end product when the component parts are assembled. Training employees in more than one area of the manufacturing process helps them to recognize the importance of applying consistent, precision-driven practices across the organization.
  • Retail and Hospitality – Providing cross-functional training for new hires instills a greater understanding of the total customer experience. Ultimately, this practice helps to shape a customer-centered culture and helps top-performing retail and hospitality organizations more consistently exceed consumer expectations.

How to Provide Cross-Functional Training

Employers who want to initiate this type of new hire training should work with their workforce management vendor to automate a consistent system of rotating new hires through various job functions. Configurable systems like EmpCenter Time and Attendance and Advanced Scheduler support the creation of multiple profiles, allowing you to automate cross-functional training for any number of departments across your organization—maximizing the benefit of this scheduling practice.

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