Modern career journeys no longer follow a straightforward approach for progression. As a result of technological advancements impacting every industry, jobs today require training and know-how in multiple disciplines. In a recent survey by edX, more than one-third of respondents said they have experienced a lack of proficiency in at least one new skill or subject area at a current or past job. This finding illustrates the need for workers to be nimble and adaptive, learning new skills constantly throughout their careers.
Emerging technologies are intensifying the requirements for today’s employees, making it a necessity that individual skill sets be diverse and unique to keep up with the rate at which roles are changing. In this setting, learning and career development can look like a multidiscipline athletic training program. For athletes, a structured cross-training program that spans cardio, strength training and stretching is a necessity for long term success. Cross-training helps prevent against injuries, expedites rehabilitation and mixes up training activities. For example, New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon is known for taking ballet classes as a form of active recovery. He credits ballet for helping him stay nimble and aiding in injury prevention.
Adopting a cross-training mentality can better prepare workers for success in their careers, which will bring their performance to the next level while keeping them competitive in the job market. Here are three benefits to leveraging cross-training to “stay in the game.”
1. “Injury” Prevention
Multidisciplinary learning and training can help protect workers from job uncertainty and strengthen job security. Career trajectories are changing, and traditional career paths are less common. Reskilling and upskilling are crucial for staying relevant in today’s shifting labor market. Having access to training across business functions and covering data analysis and “soft” skills like management can protect and future-proof individuals from the changes that lie ahead.
2. Enhanced Motivation
Even the most enthusiastic athletes can burn out. No matter how much they love their given sport, if they do it often enough or with excessive repetition, burnout can happen. Cross-training helps maintain enthusiasm for a sport, and in the workplace, learning can have the same effect.
Group learning forums play a role in helping to keep employees motivated and connected to their company community. Today, new forms of workplace education in both the classroom and online are offering tremendous benefits while creating variety in everyday tasks through discussion forums and expanding curriculums.
For some, the simple act of being challenged to learn a new skill outside of their comfort zone increases workplace motivation. Most companies are finding that enhanced training tools are helping to identify the areas where employees need support and positioning programs around those areas.
3. Boosting Overall Career Fitness
Cross-training is a reliable way to become a stronger athlete overall while practicing healthy lifestyle habits. For example, Tom Brady is known for his affinity for stretching exercises while crediting his “pliability” for boosting his overall recovery and strength. In the same way that Brady uses stretching to keep his career going, a cross-training approach to learning and development can extend employees’ career limitations and build well-rounded professional skills.
Investing in physical well-being requires more than a healthy diet and exercise routine, and investing in a well-balanced set of skills is important for career health. Online education platforms offer flexibility and exposure to in-demand fields, such as data science, cybersecurity and computer science. Having the opportunity to explore various disciplines on the job will give workers more flexibility throughout their career and make them a more “fit” job candidate, both internally and externally.
Whether training for a marathon or the next promotion, applying a cross-training approach can help workers come out on top both athletically and professionally.