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5 Reasons It's Good to Cross-Train Employees

Online classes are a flexible option for building a well-rounded workforce.

Human resource management and other company leaders are charged with helping their organizations create a strong, sustainable workforce. As part of that, many HR managers are big proponents of cross-training employees. And its easy to see why.

In the world of sports, athletes use a variety of exercises to build different muscles and skills. This cross-training strategy helps make athletes faster, stronger, and less prone to overuse and injury.


In the workplace, cross-training involves teaching employees who were hired to do one job function the skills they need to perform other job functions.1 And it can result in benefits similar to athletic cross-training: a workforce that is versatile, agile, better performing, and less prone to burnout.

Here are five reasons why cross-training is a smart human resource management strategy:

1. Workforce Stability
Sudden resignations. Sick leave. Long-term disability. Sabbaticals. As an HR manager, you will inevitably help guide your organization through these types of unforeseeable circumstances. When a human resource management strategy includes cross-training employees, organizations are better prepared to fill gaps quickly, stabilize workflow and productivity, and protect the bottom line—even in the face of unexpected workforce shortages.

2. Employee Growth and Development
Effective human resource management requires thoughtful and strategic employee development. Employees may come to you with a narrowly focused college degree and experience, but cross-training can expose them to new opportunities and challenges beyond the jobs they were hired to do. Online education is a great option for helping your staff members diversify their work experiences, expand their skill set, and become more valuable contributors to the organization’s success today and in their future roles within the company.

3. Reenergized Employees
Most employees enthusiastically enter a position with the hope that they’ll have opportunities to add to their skills and advance their careers within the organization. However, when employees end up doing the same thing day after day, they may get bored and feel they are stuck in a dead-end job—which could lead them to seek career opportunities outside the company. As an HR manager, you can promote cross-training as a strategy to reinvigorate unmotivated employees, reassure them of their value, and position them for upward career mobility within the company—all of which will help you retain good employees.  

4. Savings on Recruitment
If there’s one thing you’ll discover in your human resources career, it’s that recruiting new employees is expensive. When your human resource management strategy includes cross-training, you can create an internal pool of talent for filling open positions. Cross-training can better prepare employees to move up in their careers by transitioning into a different role or department within the company. When organizations hire internally, it saves money and time not only on recruiting, but also during the onboarding process, since the employee will already be up to speed on the company mission, policies, and culture. Offering tuition assistance is a smart way to attract employees already interested in advancement and lifelong learning.

5. Agility
An important part of successful human resource management is preparing your workforce to adjust and respond quickly to the natural ebb and flow of business. If you cross-train, you can expand employees’ capacity to temporarily jump into different roles or departments to provide extra support and balance the workload during particularly busy times. This can be an excellent alternative to outsourcing the extra work and can prevent overworking certain groups.

Online Learning Can Improve Human Resource Management in Your Company

Grow your influence as an HR manager, or start or advance your HR career, with an MS in Human Resource Management. By earning your human resource degree online at an accredited university, you can get the higher education and strategic human resource training needed to take your career and organization to the next level.

As a master’s candidate in Walden University’s online HR degree program, you’ll learn from HR-certified faculty, build practical skills using AI-driven simulations, and receive all the materials you need to prepare for SHRM certification, or for certification from the Human Resource Certification Institute.

Walden, a leader in distance education for more than 50 years, offers other online learning options that can help you meet your education and career goals.

You’ll find professional development options like Walden’s online Certificate in Human Resource Management, a group of courses designed to teach you how to manage the benefits and policies to support an effective workforce. There are online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in business or management.

And there’s also a School of Lifelong Learning, where you’ll find hundreds of online courses that can help you build continued education plans—for you and your company’s workforce.

Whether you choose to take an online course in the School of Lifelong Learning or pursue an advanced HR degree, you’ll learn skills that can help set you apart as an innovative human resource management professional.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Human Resource Management degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,