How to Successfully Cross-Train Your Team Virtually

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How-to-successfully-cross-train-your-team-virtuallyThere are plenty of benefits to cross-training your team. Whether it’s employees who can fill in for each other, or simply better understanding of what other team members do, cross-training improves both efficiency and productivity. It even helps to motivate and engage your team.

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Cross-training can be challenging at the best of times. How can you make sure you’re delivering an effective cross-training program in the virtual space? These tips will help you and your team get more out of your cross-training efforts.

Identify Goals for Cross-Training

Whether you’re training in-person or virtually, it’s important to set goals. What should your team members learn? Should they get the basics down, or do you want competence in every area?

Identifying cross-training goals can help you design a more effective program. It also supports your team members in knowing what to strive for as they begin the program.

Ensure Access to All Necessary Platforms and Technology

Team members require access to every platform and piece of technology to cross-train effectively. An employee may be set up with what they need to do their job, but they don’t have access to the inventory software. If they’ll need it to complete the job they’re cross-training for, then you have to supply access.

Technological barriers are even more troublesome in virtual training environments. Even watching a training video can become impossible if the team member doesn’t have the right platforms or permissions.

You should also test your training across platforms. If someone is watching on iOS but you only tested on Android, then there could be problems with the video or training modules. Ensuring your employees have the right support is key.

Pick the Right Instructors

You’ll need to select the right trainers to help your team cross-train. Someone who’s great at in-person training may not be able to instruct as effectively in the online environment.

The right instructors will be able to support the trainees in the virtual space. They’ll be able to answer questions and use the platforms effectively to assist. Don’t assume that leaders will always have the right skills for virtual training.

Also be sure to assign mentors to trainees. This can help them master the new tasks they’re training for.

Check in and Listen to Feedback

You should be available to discuss training with the team, both during and after the training is complete. Discussing what’s working and what’s not during the training can help you make adjustments. This should help the team reach their goals sooner.

After the program concludes, request feedback. Ask team members what they thought worked well and what challenged them. This information can help you improve the training program.

Keep Employee Specialties in Mind

Not every worker is cut out for every task. Someone who is great at picking and packing orders may not be as skilled when it comes to generating invoices.

Cross-training might not have the same outcomes for them as other employees. This is part of the reason setting the right goals is important.

Remember Testing and Interactivity

As you design your training program, include tests and interactivity. Employees will learn through some hands-on type tasks. Testing is an excellent way to ensure they’re actually learning the skills you want them to learn and will be able to apply them.

Remember Cross-Training is Different than Training

You may be tempted to simply use the training program you have for new hires in one department to cross-train existing team members. While the basic information might all be there, you’ll want to change the delivery.

Team members in other departments are already aware of your company culture, and they already have specialized skills. Emphasize how cross-training will help them do their own jobs or work together with this team in a more efficient way. Include how these skills are helping them develop in their careers.

Cross-training virtually can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to providing more effective cross-training programs for your employees.

Need more employee training tips? Contact Liberty Staffing Services today! 

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Lisa Hutchinson

I started with Liberty Staffing in 2004 as the Regional Business Manager of the London office. I have over 20 years of experience in the customer service and retail sectors, as well as leadership experience including Store Management, People Development and Recruiting. In 2016, our London location moved to a larger office in order to accommodate growth of our business, which included adding a Clerical Division.

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