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Trainer’s tip: Increasing Staff Versatility


Karyn Romeis advises that adaptability can be the key to success

Setting up a schedule of rotations is a great idea, especially since it will also get staff to re-examine what it is that actually do, as they train one another.

In a company my mother used to work for (donkeys' years ago) all the office staff had to complete a brief 'internship' on at least one essential factory floor job so that, in an emergency, or in case of a strike, they could keep things at least ticking over and not have to power down the plant.

After the internship period, they would revisit that role for one day every how-ever-many-weeks. I understand that the MD used to drive the forklift truck. He loved it, and the regular drivers had a ball teaching the 'big boss' how to do something they were expert at.

One thing, though: team leaders will need to be given a heads-up on how to deal positively with team members who are providing support to 'interns', rather than coming down hard on them because their usual KPIs are suffering.

It might even be necessary to revise the KPIs to accommodate that. If managers fail to do this, and if the whole thing remains completely numbers-driven, team members will become increasingly reluctant to participate in the mutual upskilling process and the initiative will die on its feet.

One possible approach is to appoint champions/superusers in each team, and to ensure that they are supported by management as their role changes slightly to accommodate the new task.

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Increasing Staff Versatility

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