Learning & Development, Recruiting

4 Tips for Recruiting Internal Top Talent for Cross-Training

Recruiting top talent that’s already inside your organization for cross-training is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your existing staff loyal and engaged. Cross training is an important development tool, and it has the side benefit of building a pool of trained employees who can step in if there’s a sudden vacancy or emergency. And it isn’t as difficult as it seems at first. So, where should you start? Read the tips below.

1. Set Up a Structure and Guidelines

Since cross-training usually involves taking time from an employee’s current job, you’ll have to set up protocols for negotiating between supervisors to establish goals, timeframe, etc.

2. Promote Job Postings Everywhere and Assess Responses

If you want to attract a strong pool of candidates for your internal cross-training program, you’ll want to tell everyone across your organization about new job postings and cross-training opportunities. Post job descriptions on all physical and virtual internal whiteboards or dashboards. Send e-mails to managers in different departments. Host a virtual job fair for internal employees across departments via webcast.
Then, assess who responds based on their job performance metrics and their interest in learning something new. You never know who will be interested in learning something different and new if you don’t give everyone a chance to learn about new opportunities. Who knows, maybe Jane in marketing will have a natural talent for operational design.

3. Search for Employees with Stellar and Declining Performance Metrics

Those employees who have an aptitude for hard work, regardless of what they do, will be who you want in your talent pool for a cross-training program. Do some digging in various departments to see who exceeds performance goals, who’s always initiating new successful projects, and who’s already expressed a desire to learn a new skill. The employees who work hard are usually consistently seeking new opportunities to be challenged and to grow. Likewise, search for employees who used to perform very well but whose performance is beginning to decline. These employees are probably bored and need to be challenged, and they are ceasing to see their work as valuable. They already reached their goals and are ready to be amazing at something new.

4. Ask Employees and Managers What They Think

One of the best ways to see who will be a good fit for your cross-training program is to send out surveys and questionnaires. Ask employees what they want to learn and if there’s a different skill set they want to acquire. Ask managers what skills they think their employees need. Then, make note of who said what. And ask everyone if they’d be interested in your cross-training program to see where you can start your recruitment process. You can also use these questionnaires to design your cross-training program itself.

5. Give Interviewees a Mock Assignment

If you’re unsure who will be a good fit for your cross-training program, have interviewees conduct a mock assignment during the application process to see who will be a good fit. For instance, if you’re trying to cross-train employees to learn how to manage a new database system, the best candidates won’t necessarily be those who make no mistakes when trying to input or organize data during the mock assignment. The best candidates to cross-train will be those who focused on what they learned during their mock assignment about how to use the database and who didn’t get discouraged when they didn’t know the answers right away. The best candidates will display a willingness to learn and improve—a willingness to do the work.

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