Cross-training builds business strength

When building a company, it’s crucial to think ahead. We need to predict and plan for growth and expansion. But it’s equally important to consider the skills your employees will need in order to continue to thrive in their positions, not just today, but into the future.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, it can be difficult to predict exactly what your company — and your employees — will need down the road. Although we may not always have the answers, we do know that investing in our employees is among our most worthwhile and necessary endeavors.

Better understanding

At Velvet Ice Cream, we make sure that all of our team members have insight into all aspects of day-to-day production operations. To better prepare our employees, we cross-train everyone. By knowing what each of your colleagues does in their different positions, and why, we all gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of our own roles and how the entire organization functions.

For example, in order to best represent our business, each member of our sales team trains on production work as part of his or her new employee training. That way, they can share with our customers the care and commitment to quality that goes into every carton of Velvet Ice Cream.

By better training our employees in every area, it helps us achieve another workforce goal: the ability to promote from within.
Team members have a full understanding of our company’s operations because they see firsthand how Velvet Ice Cream runs. This insight is invaluable; it fosters better collaboration between departments and a greater understanding of the needs of your fellow employees.

Team members who understand every aspect of our business are the most valuable, and thus are highly promotable.

Ongoing process

We truly believe employee education opens the door for our team’s future successes. That’s why training doesn’t stop after new employee orientation. We continuously train our staff in all areas.

Our production team receives frequent training in sanitation, ensuring that our esteemed customers enjoy the freshest, highest-quality ice cream. We offer training in ice cream making and all-important workplace safety and have created an annual safety training day, making certain that our valued employees have the best working environment. We have sought out university-level classes, including short courses in management and other important areas of skill development via Penn State University, and offer those to our leadership team.

By constantly improving, we ensure that our team is equipped and empowered to handle the challenges of running a successful ice cream company well into the future. Over our 103-year history, we have learned that building strong employees results in a strong company — and that benefits our entire community.


Luconda Dager is the President of Velvet Ice Cream. Family-owned and operated since it was founded in 1914, Luconda is the fourth generation to run her family’s company in Utica. In addition to leading the company’s tremendous growth, Luconda is a frequent speaker and author, sharing her experiences and ideas with the region’s and her industry’s business community.