The Benefits of Cross-functional Collaboration in Online Teamwork
Many innovative software companies, such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon, have begun to recognize the benefits of cross-team collaboration. Do you understand why? Because of creativity and innovation, as well as coordination, organization, and speed. If you are still reliant on siloed departments, you should reconsider.
Collaboration among cross-functional teams is beneficial. When teams from various departments come together to work, it brings a global perspective to your work. For this reason, according to research, 75% of businesses consider online collaboration tools to be important for their operations. This is true because online tools facilitate collaboration and add added value to business communication.
Online collaboration is becoming more prevalent in today’s business teams. Managers may believe that this is the solution to all business problems: “What we need here is more team collaboration!”
However, business communication is sometimes used as a scapegoat for project failure or dysfunction: “How could I possibly succeed if that department doesn’t collaborate?” When it works well, online collaboration can transform a company from a disconnected set of information silos to a streamlined, cohesive entity that achieves synergy in all sorts of places.
What is cross-functional collaboration?
The process of running a project that spans multiple teams and functions within an organization is known as cross-functional collaboration. It combines expertise from various departments and directs all team members towards a common goal.
It’s a strategy for reducing silos and increasing online collaboration within a company. When done correctly, cross-functional collaboration can foster greater camaraderie, a more enjoyable work environment, and what many businesses consider the holy grail: increased productivity & synergy.
Here is an illustration. Consider the blog post you are reading right now. A task or project like this is typically completed by a single team. Outside of the marketing department (and possibly its associated vendors), no one would typically get involved — and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, suppose an organization requires a blog post on a highly technical topic, or the executive leadership requests that its marketing team create a comprehensive flagship document. Marketing does not have all the information it needs to produce the blog, so a cross-functional team is formed.
Personnel from various teams collaborate: Someone from the development team, as well as others from various relevant departments, are brought in as subject matter experts, and a customized project management plan is established. Instead of constantly soliciting expertise from people outside the project, project leaders assign cross-departmental resources to a project — and allocate some of those resources’ time accordingly.
Cross-functional collaboration can occur both naturally and intentionally. A designer who is having difficulty understanding the audience for a specific asset may reach out to someone in another department (such as sales) for assistance, resulting in an instant, organic moment of cross-functional collaboration. Alternatively, an entire special project could be approved, designed from the start with cross-functional collaboration in mind.
Benefits of cross-functional collaboration
Cross-functional collaboration is popular as it aids in the resolution of many persistent business problems. If these objectives have proven elusive, an effective cross-functional collaboration strategy may be the answer.
1. Increases team member engagement
When team members repeat their tasks for weeks, months, or years, it is easy for them to become stagnant and disengaged. They work with the same small group of people repeatedly, which is ineffective. We have seen this trend worsen for some because of the distance and isolation that can accompany remote work.
Online collaboration is one of the simplest ways to increase employee engagement. When you disrupt the status quo in this way, someone new relies on the work of that disengaged employee, and new conversations emerge. Employee engagement improves as employees work together towards common goals (especially team members who have not previously had a reason to interact).
How effective is collaboration in terms of engagement? Consider the following statistics:
- According to a survey, people who collaborate and have access to online collaboration tools are up to 17% happier with their jobs and work cultures than those who do not.
- The ADP Research Institute discovered in a global study of 19,000 workers and their engagement in the workplace, that employees who “felt like members of a team” were more than 200% likely to stay and be engaged in their workplace.
2. Improves the efficiency of the work process
Most teams discover that cross-functional collaboration leads to more streamlined processes once it becomes the new way of doing business. Cross-functional teams can achieve more than siloed ones by leveraging each team member’s unique strengths. This is because everyone in siloed teams does what they do best — plus a little bit of what they are not as good at. In marketing, for example, there is always a little sale, and a little editing, and a little research — you get the idea.
When you break down those silos, you prepare your teams for more efficient workflows. Just keep in mind that this will not happen overnight.
3. Encourages a more creative and innovative workplace
When your teams work together, more great ideas have a chance to emerge. Your marketing and sales teams may not be able to build products or apps, but they may have great ideas for new features. Similarly, your product development team has no business launching marketing campaigns, but they may be the ones most familiar with customer pain points.
Cross-functional teams foster ideas from all directions, resulting in greater creativity and innovation. However, keep in mind that this will necessitate some management. Not every idea is good, and someone must ultimately decide what goes in and what goes out. However, allowing for more ideas is usually a net gain.
4. Combines a wide range of skill sets and experience
You have people with hidden skills and talents all over your organization. It could be a marketer with a minor in STEM. It could be a sales representative with a background in creative arts. It could be a seasoned project manager with experience in the client’s industry.
When organizations compartmentalize their employees, these ancillary skills and talents go unnoticed and rarely benefit the business. Organizations that prioritize online collaboration and openness, on the other hand, foster environments that welcome diverse viewpoints. People are much more likely to speak up in situations like these, saying things like, “You know, I could help with that!” or “Here is an out-of-the-box idea.” Platform for project management facilitates cross-functional collaboration in a variety of ways.
The ability of teams to collaborate is a major factor in determining the success of a project. There will undoubtedly be obstacles, but there will always be a solution to each. Cross-functional teams are the secret weapon of the workplace for all creative problem-solving methods. Get your cross-functional team collaboration right, and you will reap the benefits indefinitely.
Use online collaboration tools like Clariti to improve your business communication. Clariti is a business productivity app that consolidates your emails, chats, calls, to-dos, and documents into a single app. Clariti is ideal for small/medium businesses and startups looking for a more comprehensive team collaboration platform than just a messaging app.
Clariti has a “Content-rich subject chat” feature that is ideal for teams that need to multitask like professionals. Teams can quickly switch between conversations by streamlining them into organized content-rich chat messages, giving them the context, they need to move forward with their work. Try Clariti for free today to reap these benefits!