• Social Learning & Knowledge Management

Cross-Departmental Training: A Major Advantage, Rarely Leveraged

Cross-departmental training isn’t a new idea — but that doesn’t mean it’s already part of the training curriculum at most companies. Is your organization missing out?

Cross-departmental training (sometimes called “cross-training”) is a way to motivate employees by helping them learn more about the company, including how things get done and what makes it unique.

There are dozens of ways for organizations to effectively cross-train — on-location methods like job-shadowing or role-sharing are common examples — but increasingly, organizations are turning to simple day-in-the-life video recordings sharing a team’s working experience as a means to effectively share the cross-training experience at scale.

As an example of how easily teams can share insight into the roles, responsibilities, and requirements of their work, just take a look at this example of a spec review discussion from our own engineering team.


Besides giving an employee or manager the ability to walk a mile in another’s shoes and to see the bigger picture, cross-training helps prevent employee stagnation, opens up learning and professional development opportunities, and increases knowledge, know-how, skills and work performance across the board.

And such intangibles aren’t the only reward of this approach; the financial benefits of cross-training can be significant.

First, by sharing the basics of each team’s work, cross-training can reduce your organization’s dependence on single experts or silos. Consultant John Reh contends this methodology provides needed flexibility in managing a workforce, helping to make the organization less vulnerable to productivity losses due to an absent or departing employee as it might be otherwise.

Second, cross-training enables employees to learn new skills and make themselves more valuable to the company. It can even combat boredom that is often associated with workers being pigeon-holed into one specific duty, function or responsibility, helping to reduce turnover.

Related Reading: Four Ideas to Help HR Teams Do More With Less


A Key Consideration for Cross-Training

As with any training strategy geared toward large audiences, it’s important to refine your message — and the delivery of the message — so that you get the results you want.

Often the first hurdle to implementing a cross-departmental training program is the perception among staff that the organization is simply adding unrewarded responsibilities. The key, then, is to make the task fun — as well as to show employees that the purpose is true enrichment, not extra work.

Of course, a project like this is not a small one, which may be the reason it is so rarely undertaken.

Industry Advisor Claire Belilos writes that cross-training should be carefully planned and presented as a learning opportunity, incorporated in an organization’s master yearly training plan, covering all positions and departments.

While on-location cross-training may make that an expensive proposition, the shareability of video can help make such training quick, convenient, and affordable. A modern video platform like Panopto makes it easy to record, share, and search video – in a single solution that runs on any laptop. With Panopto, you can record video presentations with nearly any camera and automatically upload your recordings to a secure video library where they can be shared, viewed, and searched from any device.

With video, the value of true departmental cross-training is no longer out of reach.


Video For Employee Training

Learn More About Using Video To Improve Training Across Departments

Video technology can help solve some of today’s most common training challenges, such as improving the quality, speed, and effectiveness of training while lowering training costs. Learn more by reading our latest white paper: 14 Ways to Use Video for Formal and Informal Learning.

Download it for free >