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Why is Cross Skilling Important in 2024? – Detailed Guide for Corporates & Employees

Updated on: Nov 9, 2022
cross skilling featured image

A lot has changed in the past decade in regard to the skills that get you the dream job. While the early 2000s saw degrees as criteria, from 2010 onwards digital and technical skills were given significant importance.

And today, not just the quality but the number of skills also affect the hiring process. This is where cross skilling comes into the picture! Confused? In this blog, we discuss, in detail, the concept of cross-skilling and why both corporates and employees need Cross Skilling in 2023!


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What is Cross Skilling?

Cross Skilling is defined as the process of onboarding or training employees in multiple skills. In layman’s terms, it means that an employee is trained to work in roles outside of his current position. Cross Skilling is beneficial for both the employee and employer & we have discussed the importance for both parties below. 

When we talk about Cross Skilling, we must talk about it in regard to the Indian working environment. India is a developing country, so we are working towards improving our tertiary sector – the service sector. Companies in the service sector often face a higher attrition rate owing to various factors such as stress, lower bandwidth of resources, unsatisfied employees, etc. Hence, Cross Skilling poses to be a benefit for Indian companies. However, very little awareness about Cross Skilling exists in both Indian companies and MNCs.

In the last few months, top corporate training companies such as IIDEPro have updated their corporate training programs keeping in mind the need for Cross Skilling by their clients, especially in digital skills. Let’s now know what is Digital Cross Skilling in brief.

Digital Cross Skilling 

If you are a job seeker or someone who is actively onboarding or training existing employees, you need to know about 2023’s top hiring trend – Digital Cross Skilling!

Ever since emails, corporate environments have constantly assured that their employees are updated with the latest technologies. Today and 10 years from now, technology will rapidly grow. Consequently, it is important that irrespective of your job profile, you are well-adjusted to digitization in your workspace. This particular phenomenon is known as Digital Cross Skilling. 

For employees, it improves their productivity, focus, and ease-of-doing tasks. On the other hand, for companies, employees who are well-versed in their job profile and digitization contribute much more than just their daily tasks resulting in more business, customer satisfaction, etc. 

Let’s read about the difference between cross skilling, upskilling, and reskilling as all three concepts have a significant distinction and offer different benefits.

Cross Skilling vs Upskilling vs Reskilling

upskilling vs cross skilling vs reskilling - cross skilling

(Source: ITA)

The term Cross Skilling, Upskilling, and Reskilling are misunderstood as similar when actually they are vastly different. 

Cross Skilling – When corporates or employees choose to be trained in a skill other than their primary skill, it is known as Cross Skilling. Cross Skill benefits the employees in their annual appraisals and helps corporates cut hiring costs. For example, a graphic designer learns the basics of digital marketing to understand the target market’s intent and preferences. 

Upskilling – When working professionals choose to stay constantly updated and learn more about their primary skill, it is known as Upskilling. For example, a marketing associate does an MBA in Digital Marketing to sharpen their current skills and earn a higher salary. 

Reskilling – Reskilling is when someone changes their primary skill altogether to start a new career. Reskilling is a long process and is taken up by those who want to change their profession. For example, someone who has a career in finance with 5+ years of experience quits their job, and trains in digital marketing to start their own digital marketing agency. 

Now that we have clear distinction angst Cross Skilling, Upskilling and Reskilling, let’s understand why Cross Skilling is slowly becoming a corporate favorite. 

Why should Corporate Opt for Cross Skilling?

Cross Skilling is a newer concept and very few HR Departments have adapted to it. If you are responsible for the development of your employees, here’s why Cross Skilling is the need of the hour!

1.Higher Productivity Collectively

Leading a team is difficult but ensuring that the team grows together and is on the same page at all times is even more challenging. Conducting Cross Skilling sessions for an entire team or department always results in higher productivity as it keeps them collectively motivated. When Cross Skilling sessions are curated keeping in mind a particular company’s goals and strategies, the team stays aligned and works hard to achieve those goals.

Watch how IIDEPro trained Mahindra’s sales team in digital skills. This is a great example of how the sales team in Mahindra will adopt digital skills in their current roles to perform better collectively.


2. Lower Hiring Costs

Imagine if you have a versatile employee who can not only do their own job but also contribute towards an out-of-department task. Wouldn’t it save the HR Department’s time and cost? As corporates, when you invest in Cross Skilling sessions for your employees, you are making them future-oriented and ready to perform tasks that were once out of their bandwidth. Let’s take an example of Company X’s HR Department. 

The Web Developer of Company X suddenly resigned and the HR Department was actively looking for his replacement. With a lack of resources in the market, they received very few resumes that actually fit into their profile. But the budget and salary expectations of the interviewees were hardly met.  Due to this, urgent tasks for their website remained untouched.

Now, if Company X had held annual Cross Skilling sessions about various topics, they would have a few employees who would know how to handle the website and urgent tasks could be performed. Hence, Cross Skilling leads to lower hiring costs and saves a lot of time.

3. Lower Attrition Rate

An attrition rate or churn rate is the rate at which employees leave the company. Post the lockdown in 2020, the average attrition rate in India has increased from 6% to 20.3% in 2022 (according to Livemint). This rapid growth of attrition rate only signifies that employees are leaving their jobs or being laid off at a higher rate than ever. While cost-cutting after the lockdown might be a reason for such a high attrition rate, low job satisfaction, monotonous work, and poor learning opportunities have weighed much higher. 

Cross Skilling is the correct opportunity for corporates to lower their attrition rate and also safeguard unique talent who otherwise could leave the company due to monotonous work and fewer learning & growth opportunities.

4. Good Change for Employees 

Apart from annual appraisals and perks, it is important for corporates to keep their employees emotionally and mentally satisfied in their workspace. In India, where only 1 in 5 employable people are skilled, companies must try their best to offer an environment where they feel cared for. 

Hence, the Learning and Development or HR department must hold regular Cross Skilling sessions on different topics so that employees know how various other departments in their company operate. This gives them a chance to look beyond their cubicle and gain fresh perspectives. Such a change motivates them to work unitedly towards the company’s goals.

5. Adapting to Latest Technology and Work Trends

Work trends are changing in 2022 and you no longer need to write a long email to reach out to your upper management. Flexible modes of communication have enabled the discussion of strategies across multiple departments in one single company. Cross Skilling helps corporates keep all employees (irrespective of their department) updated on the latest technology used by various departments. 

For example, a Cross Skilling session on Data Analytics will help Graphic Designers understand how to read the target audience and create graphics to suit their demographics and preferences.  

Now that we know why Corporates should consider Cross Skilling as the need of the hour, let’s know why it is important for employees to be skilled outside their job profile.

Why should Employees opt for Cross Skilling?

Even if corporates hold regular Cross Skilling sessions, a lot of employees find it unnecessary to step out of their comfort and be multi-skilled. Here are 5 reasons why employees should take Cross Skilling seriously.

1. Fruitful for Appraisal Season

More than feedback, it is a salary hike or increment that employees look for during the appraisal season. If your managers find you working hard towards not just your tasks but also actively contributing to other departments, they will definitely offer a salary hike. 

Cross Skilling gives an impression that you care for the company and want to explore much beyond your horizons. Employees who train in skills other than their primary skill are appreciated by managers much more than those who just look to upskill. 

2. Break the Monotony

According to a 2020 research, monotonous work, however creative, leads to stress, affects mental health, and hence leads to burnout. In your lowest professional moments because of monotonous work, you might take decisions that affect you in the long run. To save yourself from reaching the burnout stage, it is important that you create a positive distraction. 

Here’s where Cross Skilling can help employees! With Cross Skilling, you can distract yourself from your current skill a little bit, learn about other skills, and brainstorm with other departments thus reducing the chances of burnout.


3. Work across Multiple Departments

The generation that is currently going to apply for their first jobs is an impatient one. Employees today want to learn every day and count the on-floor experience as their primary factor of job satisfaction. With Cross Skilling, employees are self-trained in multiple areas and can directly work in multiple departments instead of being restricted to just one. 

For example, if you are a content writer, you work closely with the SEO and Social Media departments. Having prior knowledge of how both works will always help you be productive across multiple departments.

4. Creates an Impressive Resume for Future Purposes 

Cross Skilling doesn’t just help employees in their current job roles. Those looking for a change in their professional life always seek growth opportunities in terms of salary offers and job expectations. 

When your resume talks about your personality and capabilities as a whole instead of just focusing on your primary skill, it creates a good first impression for those wanting to hire you. This is also where Digital Cross Skilling is important. 

If your resume states that you are well-versed in the technology that is required in your field, you will definitely find yourself in front of the race of acquiring a particular job. 

To learn how to create an impressive digital marketing resume, click here.

5. Can Help Earning in Side Income 

Cross Skilling purely means being trained outside your primary skill. There are many jobs such as telecommunication or finance that really don’t require you to look beyond your cubicles. in such tight situations, Cross Skilling personally helps you earn a side income. 

There are many employees who work a 9-to-5 job in the day in different job capacities and offer freelancing services after their work hours in a different industry. Hence, Cross Skilling helps you earn a side income other than just helping you get a good salary hike at your day job. 

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3 Methods Cross Skilling Training in 2023

We have used the term Cross Skilling multiple times in this blog, defined it and also stated its benefits for both corporates and employees. Now, the big question is How to Cross Skill? Let’s know how corporates and employees can start their Cross Skilling journey!

1. Instructor-led Online Training

The first and more popular method of Cross Skilling post-lockdown is Instructor-led Online Training. Employees who are looking towards Cross Skilling but have hectic work hours can choose this method. 

If you are looking towards Cross Skilling in the Digital Marketing field, IIDE offers an industry-relevant digital marketing course. The 4-5 month online digital marketing course is flexible and designed to cater to students as well as working professionals. 

During these 4-5 months, you not only master digital marketing skills but also work on multiple brands such as Nykaa, Loreal, Starbucks, and OYO Rooms as a part of the assignments. Hence, you will not just gain a skill other than your primary skill but also learn how to research various brands that might be your current competitors.

2. Instructor-led Offline Training 

Another method of Cross Skilling is Instructor-Led Offline Training. This method is very popular amongst companies who want to conduct Cross Skilling sessions for a large number of employees at once. In this case, the Learning and Development department of a company outsources the task of Cross Skilling to corporate training companies

Talking about corporate training companies, IIDEPro offers customized training in the digital space. Prestigious companies such as Cipla, Volkswagen, Godrej, and Pfizer have trusted IIDEPro to train their employees in various corporate training topics. This has helped them in keeping employees across various departments updated digitally and understand how they all can work together to achieve the company’s long-term goals.

This is what the team at Asian Paints has to say about IIDEPro’s Corporate Training Program –


3. Training at Work / On-The-Job Training

A rarer and more time-consuming method of Cross Skilling is to learn it while you are at work. This method is considered less successful as it leads to faster burnout. It cannot be expected for an employee to perform their regular tasks as well as learn about other departments in a limited time frame daily. 

In this method, both the employee who wants to Cross Skill and the employee/manager who trains need to be at a mutual agreement.


What do you mean by Cross Skilling?

Cross Skilling is the process of acquiring training in a skill other than the primary skill. Cross Skill is beneficial for both corporates and individual employees. 

Which is better- Cross Skilling or Upskilling? 

Cross Skilling and Upskilling are two different concepts and hence cannot be compared. Cross Skilling helps professionals to work in multiple departments while Upskilling helps them in getting better at their current department. For both Cross Skilling and Upskilling, it is important that professionals are trained according to the latest technologies and trends of the digital age. 

Why should freshers opt for Cross Skilling?

Freshers should opt for Cross Skilling as it will help them ask for a better appraisal, add weightage to their resume, break the work monotony, and work across multiple departments. 

Why should corporates consider Cross Skilling?

Corporates should consider Cross Skilling to keep their employees motivated, cut hiring costs, reduce the attrition rate and ensure that the company is working along with the latest technology and work trends. 

Which method of Cross Skilling is better for executives/lower-level management?

Instructor-led Offline Training is more suitable for executive/lower-level management such as provided by IIDEPro. Since the lower-level management forms the largest part of the entire management, training them offline in different departments will keep them motivated and in alignment with the company’s long-term goals. 

In the end, 

Cross Skilling is becoming more and more popular as corporates understand the importance and hidden benefits it carries. The lockdown has taught companies to be ready for any working environment at any time. In 2023, with outside factors such as fluctuating economic conditions and an increase in the number of work opportunities, HR departments must offer growth to keep their unique talent interested and aligned with the company. 

IIDEPro offers three unique corporate training programs that are customized according to the company’s needs. To enquire more or book 1-hour free counseling session, feel free to reach out at  or +91 7304534110.


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Karan Shah

Founder and CEO at IIDE

He is a passionate public speaker and teacher for over 10 years. He has trained over 60,000+ students and 25+ corporates in Digital Marketing via online and offline channels. He is a Harvard alumnus specialising in E-commerce......[Read full bio]


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