Lateral Training & Development

Lateral Training & Development

Dear GPTW,

I’d like to bolster the development opportunities available to our employees by including some cross-functional or ‘horizontal’ training programs. I am hoping to both build competency and break-down some of the silos that exist in our company.

~ Lateral training & development ~

Dear Lateral,

Many of Canada’s Best Workplaces use cross-functional or ‘horizontal’ training for the very reasons you’ve outlined. Not only will you bolster talent, but this type of program tends to deepen the sense of understanding and appreciation your team members have for one another. 

Below, is a sampling of programs from workplaces that have been CERTIFIEDTM by Great Place to Work®. These Best People Practices can be used to stimulate ideas and brainstorming for your organization. 

Encouraging Lateral Moves
At The PEER Group, employees are encouraged to make lateral moves within the company to build on their skill set and use their strengths. They have created broad salary bands so people can move back and forth amongst a number of jobs without having to change their salary. This means that people can try other career paths in the company – and step back to their previous job with minimal risk if the new idea doesn’t work out.

Internal Internships 
Sometimes, employees want to explore other areas within the company, but making a big career move can feel risky. That’s why SC Johnson Canada has recently introduced the Internal Internship Program to give employees an opportunity to explore other areas of interest within the company without the long-term commitment. Through the Internal Internship Program, an employee can spend three to six months in another area of the company working on independent projects and being part of the team to determine if the role is a good match to their skills and interests. The employee remains a member of their original team and returns to their position when the internship is completed. The skills and knowledge acquired make the employee a viable candidate if a comparable position should become available in the future.

Customer Call-Back Program
At Intuit Canada, one of their values is Delight Customers, which puts customers at the heart of everything they do and reminds them that customers ultimately determine the success of a product or service. To bring this value to life, they have recently instituted a Customer Call Back Program. Every employee in Canada, regardless of their job function or role, was assigned the task of calling a customer who has had an unsatisfactory experience with Intuit. The purpose of the calls was to understand what went wrong, what they could do differently and letting the customer know they do care about their experience.   

Virtual Careers Website
TJX Canada has a creative and robust Virtual Careers Website, intended to equip internal Associates with a database of information to be used as a resource in exploring the careers available to them at all levels of the organization. Associates can explore career paths in all departments including their own, browse jobs and even apply for a position or refer/recommend others. 

Internal Career Fairs
TD Bank Financial Group is committed to helping employees reach their career potential within the organization.  Internal Career Fairs are events hosted every 12-18 months in major centres across Canada. Open to all employees, they provide an opportunity to learn about different businesses within the organization and gather information about various jobs and career opportunities. At each booth, employees speak directly with business representatives, ask questions and collect business specific literature.   

Job Jar
Hitachi Solutions Canada has rolled out a new initiative called the Job Jar. This initiative allows employees who are either new to the company and have yet to be assigned to a project, or those who are simply between projects, to work together on meaningful internal tasks. This also provides consultants the opportunity to work on internal projects with other consultants that they usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with and learn more about the company as they interact with employees from different lines of business.


FOR MORE SUPPORT, OR TO BECOME CERTIFIEDTM BY GREAT PLACE TO WORK® CANADA CALL US AT (866) 712-0630

We welcome you to comment on this article!  Please use this public space respectfully and in alignment with our User Conduct Guidelines.