Recommendations from a CEO of a top training company to expand your strategic reach

CEO of AllenComm since 2003.

Do you use cross-skilling to create agility within your organization? Cross-skilling lies at the intersection of retraining and retraining processes. It is a training strategy that creates fluid, dynamic teams by training employees with the skills to perform tasks that are adjacent to those required to function within their role through a task task analysis. It develops the ability and flexibility of employees, who have a wide range of skills and added confidence.

As the CEO of a top training consultant company, now more than ever I would recommend creating a strategic plan to develop your internal talent pipeline to proactively manage change. Learning and development professionals currently have a great opportunity to make a positive, proactive impact on their organizations by adding cross-skilling training to their programs. Consider investing your time and resources in developing an internal job task analysis to guide future training initiatives.

How? When your team is ready to add training content that empowers employees to take on additional responsibilities, there is a recommended path to follow.

If your team is starting to implement cross-skilling training across your organization, you need to go through these five stages of development. As a training consultant, I recommend these five stages as a roadmap that learning and development professionals can follow to improve their efforts and results.

A roadmap for cross-skilling training development

Phase one: Start with a job task analysis. In any role, there is likely to be a continuum of competence to the types of skills — including critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making — needed to deliver a result, such as an effective customer experience. Prioritize desired experiences rather than tasks as a result to develop training that gives employees the skills and capabilities they need.

Phase two: Identify the experiences that overlap within teams and between adjacent roles. Be sure to make a list of dependencies, or the steps to take to facilitate a result. It is often useful to think about the dependencies with a horizontal frame compared to vertical frame. †Horizontal experiences happen in tandem or side by side in time. Vertical experience is more like a ladder, with steps before and after in a series.)

Phase three: Prepare your skills matrix (and design strategy) with clearly defined competency overlaps. At this stage, it’s critical to remember that cross-skills are meant to increase competence and develop agility, not to deprive employees who are overwhelmed with information they don’t need and won’t use. Simply put, you don’t want to be demotivated by overtraining. Instead, incorporate experience-based training based on these competency overlaps to ensure engaging, effective learning.

Phase four: Develop content around identified matches and overlap in adjacent skills using the latest instructional design principles. Ensure learning is built around core concepts, references to contextualize skills, and performance support to improve retention and serve as a practice aid and guide on the job.

Phase five: Collect feedback and make iterative changes as needed. Your learning strategy and cross-skilling initiatives will only be effective with buy-in and as a result of the information shared by your subject matter experts. It is important to consult with management and your internal teams to ensure that the learning content is useful and impactful.

These phases provide a framework for the progress of cross-skilling initiatives. There are also tools and templates that can be used on the go. Some of them are:

• Job Scan

• Competency Model

• Functional job analysis (FJA) model

• Position analysis questionnaire (PAQ)

• Fleishman Job Analysis Survey

All of the above methods have some value and can be used most effectively based on need, context and available resources. Each also serves as a reference point to begin the necessary dialogue.

While there is much more to discover about each method, the phases outlined provide the process necessary to reassess and determine the right course for the analysis of your task task – whichever method you choose – and the resulting initiative for cross -skilling.

The most important thing to remember is that cross-skilling can help you develop your internal talent pipeline and is an important strategic initiative for organizations looking ahead to manage change.


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