Today, technology has served organizations with magnificent communication technologies, allowing them to maintain efficient communication across the company. However, despite living in a globalized era, many deem internal communication within the workplace wrought with various challenges.
Sometimes, top management doesn’t interact with middle and low-level employees, or suggestions aren’t taken seriously even if communication exists. Ensuring open internal communication is essential not only from top to bottom but also across functions. It allows each department to remain on the same page instead of quarreling over discrepancies.
But before we look at the benefits of cross-functional collaboration, we must first understand what it means. Cross-functional collaboration stretches far beyond the fundamental rules of coordination. Instead, it is all about working harmoniously with co-workers from different departments to achieve success as a team.
In fact, according to research, collaborative employees and teams stay motivated longer and perform five times better than others. Not to mention, according to a Sage study, around 33 percent of employees also say that a joint working approach results in less fatigue, increased engagement, and higher success rates. If that doesn’t compel you to take a cross-functional collaborative approach at your workplace, listed below are a few benefits that will otherwise convince you.
Improves company-wide communication
Effective communication is the heart and soul of any workplace. It directly affects your business’s success. Concise and clear communication promotes and fosters idea sharing between various functional teams.
When you manage a cross-functional team, you bring together individuals with diverse backgrounds, educational credentials, races, ethnicities, etc. When your teams work together, they brainstorm ideas through constructive feedback and break down communication gaps of each function. For instance, efficient collaboration between the finance and marketing departments will allow them to strategically set product prices.
That said, to improve cross-functional communication, it would be wise to ask your employees to brush up on their communication skills. They can do this by acquiring an online strategic communication masters degree while conveniently managing workload. Such education programs will instill communication skills that will develop your employees to become future leaders, eliminating all communication barriers.
Reduces cycle time for customers
Your customers will approach your business with their pain points sooner or later. However, they will eventually become frustrated if there are delays in providing them solutions to their pain points.
For example, suppose a customer approaches the CRM department frustrating over order delays. In that case, it is crucial to get the SCM department in the loop because they manage shipments. However, if the cross-function communication mechanisms are not robust between these departments, it can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Cross-functional teams try their best to detect inefficiencies and come up with solutions more quickly than others. As a result, your cycle times for customer pain points might can cut in half. Instead of keeping a functional mindset, they achieve solutions faster by adapting a solution-driven mindset.
Teams that follow a cross-functional collaborative approach promote innovative thinking and a free-flowing mindset amongst their co-workers. Moreover, as these teams work heterogeneously, each team member will bring a flexible attitude to the table. They are open to ideas from other team members and appreciate each other’s suggestions and insights.
So, avoid taking a narrow thinking approach as it will be detrimental to your business’s success. Instead, promote cross-functional collaboration between your business’s workforce to ensure work flexibility.
Leads to faster results
As mentioned in the example before, cross-functional collaboration amongst teams leads to reduced cycle times when dealing with customer pain points. Everyone brings unique skills to a single, more rounded team where every member benefits from their co-workers. For example, operations, HR, marketing, and sales teams can take a cross-functional collaborative approach and utilize each other’s overlapping areas of expertise.
Each of these departments utilizes productivity and tracking tools to get work done. So, when collaborating with other internal departments, there is a higher chance of quick execution and swift delivery of projects and tasks. In the end, it is one of the most significant benefits of cross-functional collaboration.
Ensures constructive and quick conflict resolution
Businesses working with diverse teams of employees will most definitely experience employee-related conflicts now and then. It is natural to have conflicts when employees from different talent pools, ethnicities, and backgrounds work together to achieve a common goal. As a result, employees will bring varying work styles and contradictory processes to the table.
However, incorporating conflict resolution tactics into your teams is the best approach business owners can take. It means asking your team leaders and project managers to promote collaboration between internal departments. Such a thing will ensure your teams adopt flawless-decision making and an unbroken line of communication to solve their issues more constructively.
Leads to better team spirit
Teams that take cross-functional collaboration more seriously benefit from opportunities that present themselves by bringing together high achievers. Such teams always take on significant challenges, grow more reliant, and experience high levels of team spirit.
Moreover, they create a sense of unity and promote a culture where everybody pushes each other to achieve common goals rather than personal gains. Plus, it also leads to transparency between team members from various internal departments. Everyone can suggest solutions and adapt to the situation.
Ensures increased employee engagement
In the past few decades or so, employee engagement in workplaces has been declining quite drastically. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, around sixty-three percent of employees are not currently engaged at their workplace. Such a thing makes a considerable difference to a business’s overall productivity.
Therefore, shifting to a cross-functional collaborative approach will boost team bonding and promote a dynamic workplace culture, resulting in increased employee engagement. That said, you’ll need a strong team leader at the helm who can bridge the gap between team members and battle silo mentality.
A significant factor that decides a business’s success is its team’s and employees’ ability to work together. Of course, there will be numerous barriers when working with diverse teams of employees. However, cross-functional collaboration is something that can break these barriers down to the ground. After all, cross-functional teams are a business’s secret weapon when searching for creative solutions to problems. Get it right, and you will reap its countless rewards in no time.