An organization requires the following two factors to enhance productivity and maintain profitability, i.e., inter-departmental communication and collaboration. Therefore, different departments within your company must coordinate and pool resources to operate in harmony. This practice can unlock many opportunities for the company and increase overall efficiency. The trend of cross-functional collaboration has become widespread recently. What makes a team cross-functional? Well, it simply involves people with different expertise working together to achieve a common objective. Therefore, employees from several departments within the company (HR, sales, marketing, and others) can join forces, for example.
Advantages of setting up a cross-functional team
A cross-functional team has several benefits we’ll discuss here. It isn’t even challenging to form such a team as we have internet access 24/7 that makes universal connectivity convenient. When several employees collaborate to accomplish a shared goal, they also share intelligence and resources. A cross-functional team produces the desired result only when it has clear goals, competent influencers, and apt change-makers. Hence, here are some benefits of cross-functional collaboration for you:
1. Mutual learning: –
Enhancing their learning curve helps your workers improve their “soft skills” and polish their expertise. Your workers learn from each other when they collaborate with people from different departments. Besides, you can also invest in employee training to enhance their academic credentials and skillset. For instance, you can offer finance employees the opportunity to pursue MBA with accounting concentration to update their financial understanding. These digital learning options are convenient for workers unable to attend physical classes. They help your employee base expand their skillset and become competent workers.
2. Higher productivity: –
Cross-functional teams are productive; that’s the primary reason why such collaborative efforts have become widespread among organizations. Since employees – generally – are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, i.e., they know what curbs one’s productivity. When they work together, workers share their best practices to bolster the organization’s overall efficiency. Cross-functional collaboration allows them to leverage their mutual knowledge to accelerate their performance.
3. Encouraging innovation: –
It enables workers to leave their comfort zones and pursue creative ambitions as cross-functional collaboration compels them to look at problems from different viewpoints. A cross-functional team lets employees from various departments synchronize their creative energies to create something new and original. Coworkers inspire each other to conduct research, perform experiments, and become more productive. Moreover, it’ll discharge “stuck energy” that curbs your employees’ motivation.
4. Better conflict resolution: –
Cross-functional collaboration improves conflict resolution and makes it easier for the team to resolve disagreements and reconcile differences. In traditional workplace settings, we have every team favoring its different perspective. But, in a cross-functional team, everyone has a shared goal, i.e., the project’s successful completion. So, when members disagree about a particular strategy, they try resolving this conflict instead of abandoning it altogether so that the project continues.
5. A culture of teamwork: –
When workers from different departments team up, it creates a collaborative atmosphere inside the workplace. Since cross-functional collaboration helps siloed groups pool resources and cooperate harmoniously. It also generates better coordination among different departments. Your employees join forces – sales, logistics, marketing, HR, and others – to reinforce each other’s strengths. When coworkers team up, it makes them effective team workers, communicators, and problem-solvers.
6. Fosters employee engagement: –
Cross-functional collaboration fosters employee interactions, boosts engagement, and allows people to communicate effectively with their colleagues. Organizations can’t prosper unless employees feel actively engaged at work. Yet Gallup revealed that in 2017 only one-third of American workers felt engaged. Engagement brings satisfaction that makes employees more willing to work for you. This willingness increases as you motivate several departments to collaborate on projects more often.
7. Everyone plays leader: –
In a cross-functional team, everyone gets a chance to demonstrate their leadership/management skills. Since it’s a coalition of several departments, the group isn’t necessarily supervised by a C-level executive. A cross-functional team can rotate leadership between different candidates. This practice helps a new leader rejuvenate the team and bring new energy into the project. So, cross-functional collaboration enables your employees to test their management capabilities and continue learning.
8. Puts customers first: –
When your employees collaborate, they become mutually productive. Their mutual productivity will help them prioritize the customers’ demands and satisfy your audience.
Undoubtedly, intra-organization cooperation increases the efficiency of operational procedures and enables your workers to improve customer experience. Effectual communication allows employees to provide a cohesive experience to all customers, thereby enhancing your brand reputation quite significantly.
9. Higher accountability: –
Accountability motivates everyone to be more productive, whereas its absence makes workers less careful about their responsibilities. In a cross-functional team, people are held accountable for the completion of their tasks. Since the entire team relies on each other thus, nobody can work sluggishly and get away with it. As a result, team members automatically feel liable to fulfill promises. Undeniably, cross-functional collaboration encourages people to work as productively as they can.
In 2015, Harvard Business Review revealed that 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional. They’re unproductive because the company often lacks a systemic approach, strong leadership, and accountability system. If implemented correctly, cross-functional collaboration goes beyond simple cooperation and allows employees to work in harmony to achieve more. Cross-functional teams perform better than other teams since they’re motivated by a common objective. Also, communication collapses when everyone’s opinions aren’t heard in the decision-making process. Cross-functional collaboration ensures that nobody feels left neglected. That’s how it promotes a culture of teamwork in your office.