Cross Training at VEC U: We Have Many Skills
By Laura Waldo, Manager of Organizational Development
Cross training has provided flexibility throughout the organization to leverage employees’ differentiated skill sets. We have many employees who can perform duties outside of their required responsibilities. If we train them ahead of time, we can smoothly transition into our "busy season" without much disruption.
We saw a need for informal, on-the-job cross training. We thinned our workforce which allowed others to diversify their skills. VEC has always encouraged employees to make their own career path, and this gave many the opportunity to learn new skills.
We also offered formal cross training programs. We created a 12-week project management class and invited anyone in the company to attend, no matter what level in the organization. We had 22 employees attend these trainings with the goal of providing an understanding of the VEC project management process and how your role fit into providing successful projects.
“This program was able to help me fully understand what goes on at VEC and put all the pieces of operations together.”
“I think that this program is very well put together and gives non-PMs a lot of information to make them a more well-rounded employee and gain more understanding of all parts of our business.”
“This training program offers information and expertise from a lot of different backgrounds that you don't get exposed to on a daily basis.”
We also created a year-long Field Leadership Academy. The goal of this program is to provide leadership and soft skill training to our up and coming field leaders. We created a joint program with our field leaders and project managers to create value added conversations during the classroom trainings as well as in the weekly blogs where participants answer a question and respond to others’ posts.
“Great program. Very nice to learn some of these items in a classroom environment instead of on the fly in the field.”
“There was a lot of good info in the program. Made me think about some of the things that I need to work on to be better in the field.”
Along with company benefits comes individual benefits. Cross training makes employees more valuable to the company by growing their skill sets and fostering personal growth. It also provides more variety in workloads which typically results in happier and more productive employees. Cross trained employees better understand how the entire organization functions and how their role fits into the overall company success.