Multi-skilled is a term most commonly used to refer to endowing multiple skills into a single employee. In context of the labour unions, this implies promoting a wide range of skills and knowledge in workers to make them capable of working on multiple projects, even if these fall outside the definitions of the job description.
This thus helps to cut bottom lines and increase productivity, as the company does not require more number of workers to do additional jobs. For example: For a company working in the manufacturing industry, the workers may be trained to both build and produce a product and also perform inspections for quality on these products, thus being multi-skilled.
The advantages of having multi-skilled workforce are:
Having multi-skilled workforce enables the companies to have flexibility in terms of scheduling and arranging the workers to accomplish the tasks for the business. Instead of the requirement for more manpower during absentia of some workers, multi-skilled workers can replace the absent employees in cross functional areas of the business. This enables the business owners to maintain optimum production levels under all circumstances.
• Decreased Labour Costs:
Having a multi-skilled workforce provides the capability to work with much lesser number of employees than that required generally. This is because, the workers are multi-skilled and can move with the workload instead of sitting idle till the work becomes available. This thus reduces the idle hours, subsequently leading to reduce costs.
• Efficiency in Planning
It allows the business owners to have agility in planning the production process by shifting workers from one process to another to meet the changed customer demands. It allows the owner to focus on customer demands rather than worry about capabilities of staff.