You’ve been asked to develop training across multiple teams within your organization.

How do you make the training valuable?

How do you make sure your people get the most out of it?

The answer may be competency-based cross-training.

Let’s break it down.

Competencies are the knowledge and skills people need to be successful on the job. Every job has them. They include maintaining industry knowledge, planning, and designing. They are associated with specific, observable behaviors, like designing a bridge.

Cross-training is training people to do the work of different teams. It makes people more fulfilled in their work, and even more creative. They use what they already know in new ways and learn new ways to do their own work. They see the bigger picture.

Put them together (competencies and cross training) and you have a powerful tool for improving performance.

People get clear on the knowledge and skills of others, and decide which ones they need to learn to be more effective. They build those specific competencies. They make connections they otherwise wouldn’t have made.

Here’s the process:

  1. Identify the competencies that are unique to each team
  2. Ask people to assess themselves on the unique competencies
  3. Design resources to help people learn these competencies
  4. Create tools to build cross training for these competencies

Step 1: Identify the competencies that are unique to each team

First, clearly define which competencies are unique for each team.

List out all the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. To do so:

  • Review job descriptions
  • Interview people in roles
  • Review training materials, including instructor-led courses, computer-based training, webinars, seminars, conferences, and publications

Many competencies will be the same across the two groups, as in this technical-skills example from a transportation engineering firm:

What’s unique about each role?

Team A needs to be proficient in transportation modeling and geographic information systems.

Team B needs to be proficient in highway geometrics and bridge design.

Step 2: Ask people to assess themselves on the unique competencies

Not everyone will need the same level of training.

Have your people assess themselves on the unique competencies:

  • Novice – new to the competency in this context or rarely uses it in this context; cannot demonstrate the competency in this context or cannot do so without support; has little knowledge about the competency in this context.
  • Competent – has some experience with the competency in this context; can retrieve basic knowledge quickly about the competency, but lacks deep or complex knowledge in this context; can demonstrate skill in this context without support.
  • Expert – has significant experience in this context; has in-depth and complex knowledge regarding the competency; can demonstrate the skill without hesitation or support.

Step 3: Design resources to help people learn these competencies

Make it easy for people to cross train on the unique competencies.

For each unique competency, design resources that fit your people’s needs:

  • Provide the learning objectives
  • Provide the link to the learning opportunity information and registration page if applicable
  • Include the format (webinar, instructor-led classroom training, online training, video, book, etc.)

Step 4: Create tools to build cross training for these competencies

Last, create tools so that people can easily and systematically become proficient in the unique competencies.

Streamline the process for many employees to use.

Team A becomes more proficient in highway geometrics and bridge design and Team B becomes more proficient in transportation modeling and geographic information systems.

You can scale this process to hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of people across your organization. That’s the power of a competency-based approach.

Conclusion

What would your cross-training programs look like if you took a more systematic approach? How much more value would you drive throughout your organization?

If you would like to take a deeper dive into mastering your organization’s training efforts, contact Dering Consulting Group