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Recommended Reading: Cross Training Critical When Hiring Outside Distribution

Teaching multiple facets of business can create management candidates.

Distributors can broaden the development of new hires and prepare them for a variety of positions – including branch management – by letting them work in multiple departments, according to industry executives in Benefits of Cross Training.

Showing employees the different roles at a distributorship actually fills a few different needs. It keeps the employee engaged and excited about learning new things, which is especially critical for younger workers. It helps both the employee and the employer find the right fit while potentially avoiding a bad hire. And an employee that succeeds across departments could be groomed for a management position.

“If they’re well-rounded they can turn into a pretty good branch manager candidate,” says Ed Flemmons, president and partner, Pool Contractors Supply, Memphis, TN.

Cross training also taps into the younger generation’s curiosity about the industry's many different career paths, which is critical when hiring outside the industry, according to Kevin Martin, vice president of operations, Pipeline Packaging, Fairfield, OH.

Martin says cross training helps Pipeline place new hires in the right job because they'll spend a year in one department and then the second year in another.

“After that second year we’ll figure out what you want to do,” Martin says. “We’ll put you into that department, whether that’s where you are currently, or move you again, and give you the opportunity to do that and keep giving you new challenges.”

Read more about how cross training is a critical component of today's training programs – including how it can help you retain millennials – in Benefits of Cross Training.

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