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“Cross Training: It’s Not Just For Athletes”

Looking for ways to get more productive in your daily operation? Consider cross-training your staff during slower afternoons or during lull times in the evening. The more each other knows about the daily operations of the store, the better the staff will be at filling in or stepping up when the time is needed. By having this awareness (or appreciation) of what others do to make daily operations run smoothly, it gives everyone a peak at the “big picture” of how necessary everyone’s contributions are to make a total picture happen. There is a good chance that a fresh set of eyes and attitude just might discover a different and more cost effective way of getting a task accomplished. Often times we execute a procedure because that is the way we were taught by the previous person. “We do it that way because that is the way we have always done it”, is often a standard response when questioned as to why things are done a particular way.

Have the person responsible for the job to do the training versus a manager or boss. It forces the ‘teacher’ to think through their jobs in a logical and orderly manor; a valuable learning experience for both. Often times putting it in writing helps clarify and organize their thoughts before passing them on to another person. Also, by not having the boss be the instructor, a more relaxed situation may occur and the ‘new’ person learning the unfamiliar job won’t be as nervous and may feel more relaxed to ask questions and offer solutions. The boss should act as a resource person to answer any questions that may arise.

Once the cross-training has been accomplished (this may take several times to gain profiency and insight), follow up with evaluation time to find out what everyone has learned from their new experience. Keep an open mind as to there may be some staff persons who have discovered they would like to do something different or in addition to their regularly planned day. After all, having a shift in staff is far better than loosing someone due to boredom and lack of interest and have to begin training from base zero.

By Tom Bowling AIFD PFCI exclusively for Florabundance, Inc.

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