If you are looking for leadership tactics to help your team come together to achieve a common goal, then cross-functional collaboration may be at the top of your list. Here is a beginner’s guide to why cross-functional collaboration is helpful and how to get started with your own teams.
What is Cross-Functional Team Collaboration?
Cross-functional team definition can best be explained by bringing together people from different departments to achieve a common goal. Many companies have silos that divide teams based on task or workplace location. These separation gaps might be further widened by teams using different tech stacks, applications, or processes.
Cross-functional collaboration supports a more unified working environment by bringing together different teams. This kind of intentional grouping might be an essential solution for teams with hybrid or remote teams. Cross-functional team collaboration is designed to solve a specific problem, and it can be a temporary or permanent process.
Benefits of Cross-Functional Team Collaboration
There are three main reasons cross-functional collaboration is valuable for a company.
Bigger Company Perspective
When you pull perspectives from different departments and teams, you get solutions that are department agnostic. Ideally, your company will make choices that aren’t just in the best interest of one department, and cross-functional collaboration can help bring together perspectives that provide different viewpoints.
Knowledge and Data Sharing
Understanding how other departments operate or the data available can help your teams work more efficiently as a whole. Cross-functional collaboration makes it possible to build more trust and empathy within your team. Getting everyone on the same page can boost productivity.
When different minds with different perspectives come together, innovation is often the result. Your teams have different jobs and see different aspects of your customers’ needs. By bringing together teams for cross-functional collaboration, you enable your company to solve problems in new ways. The diversity of thinking can help challenge preconceived ideas about how workflows or projects should go.
Tips to Increase Cross-Functional Collaboration
Here are some quick tips to get cross-functional collaboration started within your workplace.
Get Leadership on Board
If your company leaders don’t see the value of cross-functional collaboration, you may experience head butting and some toes being stepped on. Your leaders need to understand why this initiative is valuable and how you plan to bring it about.
You may find that your leaders are strong individuals who struggle with other leadership styles. It’s important not to make your executive leaders and managers feel like the rug is being pulled out from under their feet.
Assign Cross-Functional Teamwork Tasks
Start small so you don’t overwhelm your team. Look for cross-functional team tasks that aren’t a big stretch. For example, marketing and sales might be a natural fit in examining how leads are labeled and handed off. If you already have this kind of basic cross-functional collaboration in place, then you can try a task with a further reach.
When establishing initial cross-team assignments, think about the natural alignment of teams based on personalities and working styles—not just department function. Choose teams that will work well together because the professionals within those teams are naturally well-liked and inspirational. By establishing success early on, you can increase the buy-in for future cross-collaboration teamwork.
Include Remote and Hybrid Workers
Do you have a dispersed workforce? This is the perfect opportunity to help your remote or hybrid workers experience more of your company culture. Rather than let those individuals be siloed because of their location, use the cross-functional collaboration initiative to draw them in.
When creating cross-functional collaboration tasks, choose teams that have a mix of in- and out-of-office workers. Use communication tools like Zoom and Slack to help strengthen connection and discussion among your teams. Choose a project management tool with communication tools designed to support small team management.
Provide Training and Ramp-Up Time
When you are asking your teams to learn new processes or software, it’s important to give them enough space to do so. Planning for a less productive start will help your team be successful. While it might feel like you are taking a step backward in expecting less productivity, you are really setting the stage for a big leap forward for future growth.
Starting with a lower expectation takes some of the pressure and stress off your teams. You can create a happier team culture when your employees don’t feel burdened by expectations for a quick changeover. Provide time for hands-on training and a slower ramp-up schedule that gives employees a clear idea of when you expect productivity to return to full capacity.
Establish SMART Goals
It’s not enough to have an established idea of what you want to accomplish. In order for your cross-collaboration efforts to be productive and efficient, you need to set SMART goals.
- Specific: Use numbers, percentages, or other details to help define what your goals are.
- Measurable: Choose the KPIs (key performance indicators), metrics, and outcomes that will show success or failure for each goal.
- Attainable: Choose goals on projects that are within your grasp or control (for example, you can’t control the economy or buyer trends).
- Realistic: Set goals that aren’t too far from your current position (and established after taking a baseline measurement so you know your starting point).
- Timely: Set checkpoints and deadlines so goals aren’t open-ended—choose a time to evaluate and reassess.
Set Clear Workflows
With cross-functional collaboration, it’s extremely important that employees know who is responsible for which task. Using Time Tracker by eBillity, you can see what employees are working on and how they are spending their time on cross-functional collaboration projects.
When setting up cross-collaboration projects, you need a tool that helps you see your budget and how allotted hours are being used. Set up a workflow structure and tools before starting cross-functional collaborative teams to avoid confusion during the project.
Get Started with Time Tracker by eBillity
Whether you are working on cross-functional team collaboration or just want a better way to manage projects, Time Tracker can help. Time Tracker enables company leaders to achieve clear project management and better employee oversight.
Getting started only takes a few minutes. Start your free trial now to experience how eBillity can help your business grow and increase profits.