Accavallo & Company, LLC

Boosting Organizational Resilience and Productivity through Cross-Training

Elite athletes train intensively to excel in their specific sport, yet they also engage in cross-training. For instance, a sprinter doesn’t just run; they also lift weights, swim, and cycle. This holistic approach strengthens all major muscle groups, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing performance in their primary discipline.

Similarly, cross-training employees in your organization can yield significant benefits. When staff members temporarily rotate roles or learn the responsibilities of other positions, they acquire new skills and become capable of stepping in when needed. This approach fortifies your entire organization, making it more resilient to unexpected events, workload fluctuations, and even potential fraud.

Strengthening Your Organization

Cross-training involves teaching staff members how to perform each other’s jobs. This ensures that if someone is unavailable—whether due to resignation, disability leave, or vacation—another employee can seamlessly take over. This flexibility not only maintains workflow continuity but also enhances overall productivity. When one department faces a surge in workload, employees can be reassigned to manage the demand.

Additionally, a fresh perspective from a cross-trained employee can lead to innovative process improvements. Cross-training is also a crucial component of robust internal controls. By segregating sensitive duties, such as financial oversight and client management, your organization can reduce the risk of fraud. This strategy signals to potential wrongdoers that their activities could be scrutinized at any time.

Benefits for Employees

Employees also gain from cross-training. Learning tasks that require more responsibility or skill than their usual duties can make them feel more valuable to your organization. Even lateral training—tasks at the same responsibility level—provides a deeper understanding of your operations and fosters a culture of mutual support.

For optimal results, select employees who are interested in other areas of your organization and are open to change. For example, a program coordinator interested in development could be trained to support your fundraising team.

Integrate cross-training into your hiring process by selecting candidates who demonstrate flexibility and curiosity. Inform them that they may need to learn and perform duties outside their primary role.

Building Organizational Resilience

While cross-training isn’t a novel concept, it remains an effective way to enhance your organization’s resilience. It’s important to note that not every role or employee is suitable for cross-training. Some positions require specific skills, training, or certification that cannot be easily transferred. For instance, specialized roles like registered nurses in a health clinic can only be cross-trained with other qualified nurses.

By implementing cross-training initiatives, your organization can become more adaptable, productive, and secure, ultimately leading to better service for your clients and a stronger, more cohesive team.

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Sherri Fisher is a Tax Manager at Accavallo & Company, LLC.  Sherri has longstanding expertise in Trust and Estate Taxation, Eldercare, and Estate planning. Sherri appreciates the relationships she has built with estate planning attorneys and advisors, to provide a team approach to assisting her clients. Sherri also has seasoned experience in business and individual taxation and is partial to assisting start-ups in developing overall accounting and operating plans.

Prior to joining Accavallo & Company, LLC, Sherri was a manager in a large firm, servicing high net worth trust clients, business, and personal clients. She was also a Partner in a large bookkeeping firm, which specialized in cloud accounting systems for regional and national companies. Sherri led a team in assisting clients to organize their accounting systems.  She is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a B.S. degree in Accounting.    

Sherri’s experience includes working with companies and organizations in a variety of industries including:

  • Investment Trusts

  • DAPT and Family Investment Partnerships

  • Estate and Probate Administration

  • E-Commerce

  • Manufacturing

  • Construction

  • Real Estate Investment

  • Marketing and Service-based industries

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Sherri is an Intuit Advanced Pro Advisor, Intuit Future Firm Advisory Board member, member of the Valley WIN Network, and proudly served as past Connecticut Public School liaison for the Yale Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer. Sherri enjoys time with her family, Cleveland sports, thrifting and gardening.