Today, cross-skilling is imperative to develop your team’s skills. The right cross-skilling initiative can improve overall productivity, increase retention rates and develop your internal talent pipeline to fill higher-level roles within the organization — a vital strategy for increased internal morale and succession planning.

So, is your organization taking the opportunity to update your training development program during these unprecedented changes? If the answer is yes, you should consider using an effective cross-skilling model as a primary strategy for change management and organizational resiliency to help develop your internal talent. This is a vital step in cross-skilling because when employers view employees through the lens of learning and development (L&D) they can further strengthen their organization in response to change.

Cross-skilling can create value by bringing fluidity between cross-functional teams and departments. It can help promote a holistic staffing model within the organization that can provide employees with the confidence to work better with one another and to take on additional responsibilities in the event they need to. An effective cross-skilling program, whether designed by a training consulting company or developed internally, can additionally play a vital role in the employee development that can lead to promotions and succession planning.

Let’s take a look at five best practices you can use to implement cross-skilling your organization.

How to Cross-skill Your Teams


  1. Define broader skill sets across your organization. Has your team created a code of conduct? Do you have company guidelines in place or perhaps a decision-making model that you’ve shared as a resource to guide critical processes? All of these are examples of broader skills training applicable across teams. The goal is to align these resources with the company vision and core values.


  1. Balance your competency and capability training. Perhaps your organization relies on compliance training to ensure that processes are followed and that mistakes are avoided. This is a form of competency training. If you don’t have this in place already, develop complementary capability training courses that focus on the how and why employees make good decisions. Build confidence by providing training that starts with real-world scenarios to develop critical thinking skills and by providing your employees the opportunity to practice.


  1. Redefine the roles in your organization. As your team works to identify adjacent skills and broader capabilities, you may find that it makes sense to identify areas where roles may overlap and to broaden the scope for learners. Make recommendations based on skills aligned with company goals to increase workplace effectiveness, and provide employees with opportunities for growth and development to support organizational agility.


  1. Develop content around identified commonalities and overlaps in adjacent skill sets. Can your team create on-the-job resource materials that serve as an aid during development? Such content resources, including landing pages, streamline processes and serve to open silos when employees have questions.


  1. Use social learning, mentorships and knowledge sharing to your advantage. These are vital strategies to increase engagement, as well as to build teams internally. Develop content that prioritizes peer to peer interaction, as well as provide opportunities for leadership to buy-in and take an active role in cross-skilling activities.


Cross-skilling can act as a vital strategy to develop your internal talent pool. It can help prepare employees to advance in their roles and promote their professional development. The key to effective cross-skill training is to make the training relevant and within reach to all learners. Avoid overtraining on processes that aren’t relevant or useful to help keep learners engaged. And ensure that learning is accessible at all times.

Cross-skilling can also act as an engagement strategy to help increase employee motivation. It can help employees envision a future within the organization and to work toward a career goal. This, ultimately, gives employees autonomy over their development and can help strengthen their bond with the organization, thus creating a resilient learning culture that attracts talent and reduces attrition. It’s an innovative way to rethink your staffing models and create a win-win scenario.