What is Multi-Skilling?
Multi-Skilling is a talent that can prove to be very beneficial and effective in the workplace. This skill is valuable for both employee and employer, especially in today’s fast-paced nature of modern organisations.
- The philosophy in the workplace nowadays is no longer about concentrating only on one’s own tasks, but it is also about adding value to other functions and skills.
- Therefore, the multi-skilled employee has a set of competencies that allow them to work in areas and in departments other than their own expertise.
- This flexibility is a key strength for businesses as employees learn to go beyond their immediate role and become flexible and responsive to business needs.
How multi-skilling is beneficial to employees:
- Greater job opportunity, collaboration and flexibility
- Personal goals achieved efficiently
- Increased job security
- A deeper understanding of the Business as a whole
- Better growth prospects and employee development/building on existing skills
How multi-skilling is beneficial to an organisation:
- Optimal utilisation of workforce, aware of organisational needs
- Easy development of employees across projects and departments
- Increased productivity and better quality of deliverables
- Flexible and adaptable workforce
This business strategy requires commitment and patience from above (e.g. managers and supervisors), however, this goes for employees as well. Genuine commitment requires training and personal resilience. Implementing multi-skilling entails increased supervision until the employee or group of employees are up to speed, possibly resulting in reduced productivity during the training period. Multi-skilling is ideal for a business to have when common unpredictable business issues arise, such as absence due to prolonged illness, staffing levels being reduced due to redundancy or a recruitment freeze and periods of growth.
Nevertheless, there are downsides to multi-skilling:
- Over-burdened and over-whelmed employees, tasks being completed but lacking standard and not filling the role they originally filled - to mention a few. However, this can be avoided if employees are given constant feedback and are frequently motivated and satisfied.
In summary, multi-skilling is a skill that is extremely beneficial to organisations that have to cope with fast-paced, reactive environments (most commonly every business nowadays). Effective multi-skilling enhances efficiency, competitiveness, quality, production and competencies. All in all, having multi-skilled employees gives an organisation the ability to adapt to changes in market conditions and increases in demands. Furthermore, this flexibility allows companies to adopt a consistent business approach which will positively affect productivity.