There's a growing trend among businesses: cross-training employees to wear more than one hat as firms move to expand not only their horizons but also those of their workers.

In fact, a survey shows better that four in ten firms are now engaged in cross-training employees to play more than one role. A 2011 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 43% of employers offer cross-training of some kind to help workers develop proficiencies not related to their current jobs.

Carl Van Horn of the Rutgers Workforce Development Center says there are many reasons for doing this, but one of the biggest is the fact the the firm is wlling to invest money in training the employee, knowing full well that the person might eave at some point and take a job and another firm is really a statement that the company really has an interest in retaining themfor the long run.

Van Horn says cross-training also gives companies a chance to assess the, "fit," between what the worker has an interest in and what the job demands. By wearing more than one hat, they may also take on training and skills as older workers retire.

Some expert believe skills-based rotations are more valuable than swaps that are purely geographic. Still, global exchanges can be a valuable retention tool for multinational companies even when they don't involve a great deal of cross-training.