Cross-training is training provided to employees in areas that do not fall into their original or existing area of work. For example, an organization’s finance team undergoing information technology (IT) training programs is a form of workplace cross-training. Zappos putting all its fresh hires (regardless of rank or role) through an identical 4-week onboarding program, which includes working in the call center, is a form of introductory cross-training.

Employers conduct on-premise cross-training sessions for a variety of reasons. Such training helps companies develop their human capital, enhance their employees’ multi-process knowledge, and familiarize them with various business functions or operations. This also facilitates interaction between different team members, which otherwise takes place rarely.

Consequentially, when an employee is shifted internally or moved between departments in the future, he finds the transition not too difficult. Also, companies reap the benefits of cross-training during attrition, recession, absenteeism or any other scenario when the workforce is weak in strength. In other words, the company’s operations won’t slowdown when a few employees are on a business tour or vacation, since there are in-house staff who can pick up from where the other employee(s) left.