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What is job swapping? Is it the same as cross-training?

Job swapping is when two employees in different departments "swap" or exchange jobs for a defined period of time. Typically, the employees have similar knowledge and skill sets that allow each to cover the other while on the job swap and eventually go back to their original positions. While job swapping can be used as a method of cross-training, it is more often used to increase employees' understanding of how other departments operate and promote collaboration among departments.  For example, an individual in marketing might job swap with a person in the sales department. Most employers will have a specific procedure for employees to follow as well as a set of criteria used to assess employees' eligibility for this type of program. Additionally, the company should determine how an employee's performance will be evaluated with the addition of the job swap.

Cross-training is a process that uses training and development opportunities to ensure employees have the skills necessary to perform various job functions within an organization. A well-developed and well-implemented cross-training program benefits the employer by providing coverage during leaves of absences, vacations or periods of high production. Cross-training benefits employees to broaden their skills. It is likely that workers with a broad base of skills will become increasingly important as the pool of skilled workers shrinks, the workforce ages and competition for skilled workers increases. Many employers also believe that cross-training increases employee engagement and retention while preventing job stagnation.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.