The importance of cross-skilling in the data industry and leveraging it for better financial results and improved workforce productivity is undeniable. However, one skill will only keep you employed and growing in your career if it is highly specialised, high-end and specific to business operations. With cross-skilling, companies aim to get employees comfortable with different data science skills, including database management, data collection and analysis. They will even focus on skills that might not directly relate to their designated position.
This type of training enables better collaboration and communication between different employee groups. It is also efficient as a fail-safe strategy to help with staff shortages in one department. In addition, employees learn new skills and understand how different operations in the company come together to provide the best end product or service.
In this article, we will discuss why cross-skilling is the need of the hour with the current economic conditions and the lack of skilled employees in the job market. We will also examine companies’ best strategies to implement cross-skilling for their workforce!
What is cross-skilling?
Cross-skilling or cross-functional training is a process that aims to develop a workforce with a varied range of skills. These skills can be used for several different functions, such as empowering employees to understand several organisational skills that are not directly related to their job but are part of the product/service creation or delivery process.
With this approach, employees can enjoy a varied learning experience that helps them to grow out of their niche and develop an increasingly up-to-date and relevant skillset. In addition, it helps maintain job security, improves retention, and keeps the workflow interesting, as workers can switch roles with this approach.
To implement cross-training effectively, the right approach is to start with a skill gap and responsibilities analysis. After that, it is essential to pick a learning method and keep employees in the loop without discrimination towards any individual. Finally, after the instructors have implemented the programs, they need to track the results and effectiveness, which is best done by rotating employees between different tasks and giving feedback.
Here is a detailed look into some strategies that are essential for effective cross-upskilling;
This procedure of analysing the current skill set of a present employee and then building a training system for them to improve is comparable to what happens with a new employee. The objective is to create and perfect a strategy to cross-train staff members for specific skills.
An administrator needs to understand that the workers will require assistance when they learn anything new, which marks the necessity of an adjustment period.
Because their workload is being increased by constant training for different skills, some employees can feel punished if you add another item to their to-do list. Not only this, but many employees could also start to worry that more capable individuals will soon replace them.
It is, therefore, essential to foresee these concerns and deal with them beforehand using effective communication tactics. Doing so would bring attention to the advantages for specific individuals, the team, and the business. Employees may be more open to acquiring new skills if they know they are doing so to prepare for future progress and their benefit.
Most organisations have a tight schedule for their employees, and tasks are assigned to ensure efficiency and avoid time wastage. However, this kind of set schedule can cause boredom levels to rise. Therefore, job training is a method in which the employees can shift or “rotate” between jobs to remove severe tension at work, increasing their job satisfaction.
A fantastic method to develop employees’ knowledge and, in the process, foster a collaborative mentality is to give them a fixed amount of time to work in multiple roles and learn the fundamentals of each different one.
As a result of job rotation, firms do not need to invest in training new talents throughout the whole organisation after they recognise the potential of their personnel. Even if further training is required, it starts with a strong base of staff who completely understand how the company operates.
When cross-skilling your team, one of the most popular and effective methods is with a professional instructor in a classroom setting. Workers can learn more effectively with this training because they collaborate and engage in peer discussion. Such interaction increases motivation and builds a communicative environment for brainstorming and problem-solving.
Since hiring professional instructors in a corporate setting is usually expensive, this can easily be covered up as one instructor can teach several students simultaneously. Thus, this will be a one-time investment that will benefit the workers and the company. You can check out this guide if you want a data science certification without prior experience.
When utilising a learning management system (LMS), as an administrator, there will be no reason for you to be concerned about bringing the organisation’s different employees into one place. To work as a thriving body, everyone’s objectives should ideally align with the company’s overall aim. However, there may be significant differences in how they decide to work towards each objective and convey results.
Regardless of their different schedules, a LMS allows the manager to let other departments participate in eLearning courses at their convenience without disturbing their agendas. It is possible to teach and learn using platforms like Udemy Business, edX, Linkedin Learning or Coursera.
While in-person training can benefit the workforce, online learning is often more convenient. This is because it allows the various staff members to partake in activities without needing to move from their designated workstations. However, it is essential to implement the training so the employees can retain course information, similar to how it would be in a real-life corporate class.
When it comes to hybrid training methods, this usually refers to the combination of learning techniques that utilise both online and in-person content. In some ways, students only sometimes engage in person in the classroom for tests or other examinations while getting all of their education online. Other hybrid techniques, including teamwork on projects or research, may utilise a blend of both in-person and online instructive content.
A combination of in-person and online training that complements one another is the defining feature of hybrid learning. Sustaining consistent upskilling and reskilling worker experiences across departments is essential to productivity. As a result, more firms are increasingly switching to a hybrid work model where employees divide time between remote and in-person tasks.
What is the importance of cross-skilling in the data industry?
Cross-skilling is essential in the data industry as it ensures that a broader range of employees are equipped to work with the critical data skills necessary to keep business operations running. Data-related skills are generally complex and in high demand, so it can be complicated to crisis-train an entire workforce to work with them.
Since the data industry is quite vast, with several skills and career fields, an instructor might end up in a situation where workers are skilled in one aspect, like database management, but unable to process data analysis tools like Jupyter Notebook.
In the following sections, we will go through some specific benefits of cross-skilling in the data industry, including a better ROI, productivity, collaboration, fail-safe planning and productivity:
Thanks to cross-training, workers pick up new abilities, and some employees may find that they have a knack for skills that they had yet to explore previously. In addition, when employees are trained in multiple tasks, the company does not have to depend on third-party groups for sensitive jobs. This would be especially true in situations where things like security are involved.
It also helps with securing operational flow and helps to mitigate the issues of staff shortage in advance.
Better ROI and reduced cost
More possibilities for professional development and mobility will attract more motivated workers since they will be happy to seek out the opportunities that come with cross-training and the increased salary options since data science skills are increasingly sought after.
Since the present staff will be skilled in various fields, they will also be able to tackle problems and exchange knowledge without the hassle of getting a new employee for the task. Therefore, it reduces the overall cost for a company and ensures an efficient, collaborative work ethic where one employee can fill in the shoes of a sick colleague, mitigating the need to bring in a new professional.
Increase in efficiency and productivity
Another significant benefit of cross-training is the ability to “loan” out an employee as a team member to departments that may be short-staffed. Given that they have already received relevant training, they can fill the designated role and be a great help overall.
In small firms where each person already has a variety of responsibilities, doing so greatly enhances productivity. In addition, when employees understand the situation and stress at certain stages of their colleague’s workflow, it increases communication empathy and improves team performance.
No matter the situation, ensuring effective communication in the technical world is essential, as this allows a team to get through its goal with higher efficiency. Read through this detailed guide to learn more about how data science can help you on the job!
Improved communication and collaboration
Once a team can fill each other’s shoes, they will have a more extensive common ground based on their improved skill sets. This, in turn, will promote collaboration and discussion among the employees, and they will be able to fully realise the contributions being made by their co-workers and give ideas on how to improve a particular business aspect. Thus, cross-training will make the company’s hierarchy more flexible. It will be easier to work on information from different data-related processes to create better AI and ML applications.
With the right cross-skilling strategy, companies can avoid situations that need them to quickly crisis-train their workforce to ensure their machine learning models function correctly. Thus, planning ahead with business operations is essential, and cross-skilling does just that!
If you want to make a career shift in tech and learn the skills employees are looking for, book a career consultation with one of our trained experts here!