Why Cross-Training Technicians is Beneficial for Your Operations
What happens to your fleet on days when something comes up and technicians call out? Even with the best employees and under the best management, the unexpected should always be expected. Unfortunately, humans do not run as predictably as automated machines, so managers should expect and prepare for those days that employees are under the weather or face other abrupt situations.
More often than not, companies cannot afford to slow down operations even for just one day. For this reason, cross-training employees is a great way to ensure that the show goes on. Cross-training means teaching employees the skills to perform job functions outside of their role.
Training personnel in a wide range of skills can reap various benefits, and most importantly, prep your fleet to keep running in unforeseen situations.
Horizontal and vertical growth
With increased employee training and ongoing education, the opportunity for growth is twofold. Cross-training can be used to help employees fill additional roles and skill sets within the same department (horizontal expansion), and employees can acquire the skills for higher positions, which will better prepare them for future roles at the company (vertical expansion).
This is extremely useful when higher up employees reach retirement, or move on to other jobs. Rather than spending time and money in the recruitment process, fleet managers have the option of promoting from within. Similarly, when a member of a team is out, managers can have a coworker fill in for them, rather than having to outsource additional help or covering for the employee themselves.
Promoting personal development
The goal here should be having a team that is versatile, educated and collaborative. Some good ways to promote this growth could be by providing employees with free, easily accessible resources, or by incentivizing additional training with salary increases or bonuses.
Many fleet managers even find that when presented the opportunity to expand their skillsets, many employees actually volunteer. This is great for both managers and the employees who are gaining valuable knowledge and potentially discovering new areas of interest.
Using the wealth of knowledge within the workplace
Positive results can also be achieved by promoting a flow of information within the company, from industry veterans to newer employees and everyone in between. Offering employees time to shadow technicians and specialists is a a great way to learn in a way that is hands-on. Newer employees can gauge what they like or don’t like, and use coworkers as valuable tools and mentors.
Cross-training employees also allows for a better understanding of each others’ roles and responsibilities, and can breed greater collaboration within the workplace. Even though specialists will always be needed to do what they know best, having more team members involved who are familiar with the job can mean faster problem solving and ideation. With more heads together, there is more opportunity for innovative solutions and improvement.
Improving overall efficiency
Spreading out responsibilities so that they don’t all fall on one person is also essential for smooth operations. Basically, not putting all your eggs in one basket. By ensuring that several people are capable of carrying out tasks fleets can face less downtime in case of an absence, as well as faster job completion and higher customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, cross-trained employees are insurance that business will keep running efficiently and on schedule. However, it is clear that this investment in coaching reaps many more benefits than just that. Placing the focus on personal development and making employees more valuable assets to your company can boost employee morale immensely. In addition to facilitating daily operations, cross-training can help managers retain personnel and preparing for employment gaps.
If you’re interested in learning more about your fleet’s performance and using your data to improve operations, schedule a demo of the Utilimarc platform with a member of our analytics team.