Research Proposal: Proposal to Cross Training Employees

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Business Management -- Employee Cross Training Proposal

Cover Letter

Cross-Training Employees

Enclosed please find my proposal for cross-training employees of this organization. My independent research has disclosed that there are undeniable benefits to organizations that promote cross-training of their workforces and without any corresponding risks or detriments. In particular, cross-training of employees is associated directly with multiple sources of cost savings, improved operational efficiency, decreased susceptibility to delays and to negative the consequences of individual unavailability, in addition to improving employee morale, interpersonal rapport and collaboration, and even individual performance.

Specifically, cross-training employees allows organizations to save money both directly an indirectly. Direct cost savings are those attributable to the reduction in personnel that are often made possible through multiple-role capabilities. Indirect cost savings include the reduction in expenses of equipment, training, and work-related travel for smaller numbers of employees. Operational efficiency is substantially enhanced by cross-training by virtue of the reduction in the traditional reliance among individual business units on one another and by eliminating delays caused by multiple simultaneous commitments of individual business units supporting the work of other business units and departments. There are also significant advantages to the supervisory processes that are attributable to the managing of cross-trained workforces in comparison to the needs of supervisory processes in connection with traditional single-function-oriented workforces.

Further, organizations that implement cross-training benefit from the increased knowledge and involvement of individual employees in the business and processes of the organization. Among other things, cross-trained employees are more connected to their organizations in addition to driving more personal satisfaction and fulfillment from their work, leading to lower turnover rates. Similarly, cross-trained workforces typically exhibit improved morale and interpersonal rapport and collaboration among coworkers. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that cross-trained workforces actually perform better at the level of individual workers than traditionally trained workforces.

Naturally, all of these benefits would be tremendously valuable to this organization. Therefore, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these potential benefits in greater detail and to participate in the development of a program for the introduction of employee cross-training at your earliest possible opportunity.

Executive Summary

Cross-training refers to the concept of preparing employees to perform more than just a single job function within the organization. In general, it is not necessarily a novel idea for employees to be skilled in more than just their specific positional functions, largely because many vocational responsibilities either entail or naturally promote the accumulation of knowledge about closely related functions and responsibilities. However, the specific focus on implementing cross-training is underutilized and comparatively rare in modern business organizations.

This proposal provides a conceptual review of the specific benefits to organizations and stakeholder of implementing the cross-training of employees in a purposeful and systematic fashion. That review consists of an outline of the economic benefits to organizations, the operational advantages in the realm of efficiency and redundancy, the beneficial impact on employee morale, vocational satisfaction, and interpersonal relationships, and of the positive effect that cross-training typically has on the actual work performance of individual employees. This proposal will also suggest approaches to implementing cross-training in a manner conducive to its success and to enabling the organization to reap the maximum possible benefits in all of those areas.

Economic Considerations

The current economic recession has dealt a severe financial blow to thousands of companies, even resulting in the closure of many businesses that had thrived for years previously. Very few businesses have remained unaffected and most of those that have had no choice but to cut costs across the board; in many cases, the measures necessary to ensure the viability of companies included unavoidable layoffs and closures of offices and outlets. In that regard, organizations whose employees are capable of performing multiple tasks and who can fulfill the responsibilities of more than just one position have become invaluable to business organizations.

The most obvious advantage of maintaining a staff of multi-role capable employees is that it typically allows organizations to maintain fewer staff members to accomplish the same amount of work (Caggiano, 1998; Kinicki & Williams, 2005). Similarly, multi-role capable staff allow for more efficient supervisory chains because they allow the consolidation of supervision over multiple functions and even departments. When implemented optimally, multi-role capabilities among employees allows comparatively fewer supervisors to manage the same number of subordinates that would normally be required to achieve the same level of production out of larger numbers of employees all performing narrower functions (Caggiano, 1998; Kinicki & Williams, 2005).

However, the economic benefits of cross-training employees to perform multiple roles are hardly limited to the number of staff required to be in-hand by the organization. In fact, virtually every element of job functions that can be learned by multiple employees working in different primary capacities represents additional savings to the organization (George & Jones, 2008). Specifically, organizations that promote cross-training lower their operational expenses on training, travel, and on equipment and supplies. More importantly, the regular use of cross-trained staff substantially mitigates the negative impact of absenteeism, largely by providing operational redundancy; it reduces the high expense of employee turnover by improving employee morale; and it even tends to increase performance, which also confers obvious economic benefits to the organization (George & Jones, 2008).

Operational Efficiency and Redundancy

In typical business organizations, one of the most significant sources of delay is the degree to which various individual components and business units must rely on one another to produce a final finished product (Robbins & Judge, 2009). In the contemporary environment of modern business organizations, it is comparatively rare for any single business unit to produce goods or services independent of essential contributions from other business units. Moreover, in many instances, individual organizational components collaborate with and provide services to multiple business units. As a result, the needs of individual business units for the support from other business units may sometimes conflict with one another, causing delay and, not uncommonly, rivalry and even enmity between and among different departments (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Therefore, the more that an organization is able to develop multiple-role capabilities among its staff, the more efficient it becomes by virtue of the degree to which that capability reduces the interdependence of different business units on one another for products and services that are capable of being produced by individual units more independently.

Furthermore, even under the best conditions and circumstances, there are always unavoidable sources of delay within individual departments and business units, even at the simplest level, such as those caused by unanticipated absences or unavailability of key employees. In organizations that have not embraced the concept of cross-training employees to perform multiple roles, the temporary unavailability of any key player necessarily delays and complicates the production process of any project in which that individual is involved. Conversely, in organizations that have implemented cross-trained employees, that process introduces an element of operational redundancy by allowing others to fill in without causing any diminution in the relative quality of the work being performed by alternate role players. This type of operational redundancy is, therefore, one of the most important benefits to business organizations of cross-training their employees (Daft, 2005; Kinicki & Williams, 2005).

Employee Morale and Rapport

Whereas certain benefits of cross-trained professional workforces (such as cost savings and operational efficiency and redundancy) were specific motivations for implementing such practices, the concept has also been associated with several additional benefits to organizations that were not widely anticipated in advance. For example, cross-trained employees demonstrate improved morale and report feeling more appreciate by their employing organizations (Maggard & Globerson, 1986). Their ability to handle more than a single job function increases their self-perception of being valuable to and valued by their organizations, both of which also tend to be self-fulfilling and to perpetuate higher employee morale and greater appreciation for the organization on the part of employees (Gunn, 2000).

Another benefit to cross-trained workforces is that it also enhances rapport and improves the quality of interpersonal relationships among employees (Gunn, 2000). That is perfectly understandable for several reasons: First, cross-trained employees naturally interact more with one another in the process of their training as well as by virtue of their interactions in any collaboration resulting from their respective contribution to the organizational mission (Gunn, 2000). Second, cross-trained employees naturally appreciate one another more than employees who perform only one function within an organization because they benefit from being able to rely on one another for backup (Gunn, 2000; Russell-Whalling, 2008). Third, and most generally, business organizations benefit from any increase in the degree to which their employees become more involved in business operations and functions (Gunn, 2000; Russell-Whalling, 2008). This is simply a function of the fact that their employees are more involved in the business of the organization than employees whose involvement is limited to the narrow responsibilities of only one traditional job function (Gunn, 2000).

Performance Improvement

Perhaps the single most important benefit to cross-training employees is the degree to which that process increases their work performance (Russell-Whalling,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Proposal to Cross Training Employees.  (2011, February 21).  Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/proposal-cross-training-employees/357373

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"Proposal to Cross Training Employees."  Essaytown.com.  February 21, 2011.  Accessed April 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/proposal-cross-training-employees/357373.