6 benefits of a cross-functional team
In a cross-functional team, team members from various departments with different skill sets come together to work on a project or reach for a common goal.
August 29, 2018

In a cross-functional team, team members from various departments with different skill sets come together to work on a project or reach for a common goal. While there are many benefits to cross-functional teamwork, it also comes with challenges for any organisation.

Each person in a cross-functional team may bring conflicting processes and varying work styles to the table. To clear these hurdles, project managers and team leaders need to create group rules, set out a clear decision-making process and encourage robust communication and flexibility.

Today, we will review some of the most powerful benefits of cross-functional teams.

We’ll look at six ways they can impact your bottom line and corporate culture — and how to leverage technology to make cross-functional collaboration easy.

1. Cross Functional Teams Build a Collaborative Culture

It's common to hear an organisation embrace teamwork as a core value, but what does that really look like? In many companies, departments work in silos, rarely communicating with one another. They often end up duplicating work and have a low level of transparency.

Cross-functional teamwork naturally creates a collaborative culture because it gets more of your team members working together, regardless of what department they are in. Shared decision-making, regular team building and working towards a common goal improves communication skills throughout every layer of the organisation.

2. Team Members Learn From One Another

When everyone brings different skill sets to a group, they are naturally going to learn from one another and expand their own skill set and knowledge base.

Imagine people from different parts of the company working together in a group, such as a human resources manager and marketing specialist.

Through working with the marketing specialist, the human resources manager might learn better strategies for writing job descriptions and sharing them on social media. The marketing specialist might learn more about the hiring process and the best ways to recruit candidates via online channels.

Cross-functional teamwork also allows team members to learn about the varying tools other departments use and if they can benefit from incorporating them into their work.

For example, maybe the human resources department uses a tracking system for applicants that would help the marketing team keep track of internal requests for various marketing materials across the organisation.

3. Cross-Functional Teams Foster Employee Engagement

When team members have a reason to work together, they will naturally engage one another and communicate more. They might even develop lasting friendships, and people who enjoy their co-workers’ company are more engaged and satisfied with their jobs — and less likely to leave.

Employee engagement is critical to the success of any organisation. Despite that, one Gallup poll suggests only 33 percent of employees feel engaged.

When cross-functional teams work together, they feel more connected, particularly across different departments. When team members feel connected, have common goals and trust one another, they are also better at problem-solving and conflict resolution.

4. Cross-Functional Teams Build Leadership Skills

At its core, project management is all about driving a team to successfully reach goals or milestones on time. Building an effective cross-functional team isn't the easiest thing to do for any project manager.

One of the most unique benefits of a cross-functional team is being able to try out different team members in leadership roles, see how they perform and if they thrive. In cross-functional collaboration, the usual C-level executive isn't always the one leading the group. Furthermore, a different leader can bring new energy into a project while making them feel appreciated and respected.

The team leader has to learn how to bring team members together that have different processes, attitudes and work methods and empower them to work together towards a goal. While this can be challenging, leaders are actively building skills in the process such as conflict resolution, time management, decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.

5. Cross-Functional Teamwork Keeps Work Interesting

No matter what your organisational structure is, things can get stale in any company. When team members get bored at work, they are more likely to leave for a more interesting work environment.

Cross-functional teams are stimulating purely because they disrupt the status quo and allow innovative ideas to flow in a mixed group. Help your employees get re-energized and think more creatively by putting them in a new environment with different people. Shake it up a bit!  

6. Cross-Functional Teams Are More Productive

Every employee in each department is painfully aware of their direct team’s barriers, weaknesses and productivity killers. However, they also know what areas they thrive in. There is no reason for departments to keep their best secrets to themselves!

Cross-functional teamwork allows different departments to share their best practices while collaborating towards the common goal. When a cross-functional team is using not just one best practice, but those from five other departments, they become much more agile and leverage the knowledge of the entire group.

Make Cross-Functional Teamwork Simple With the Right Online Tools

In today's highly technological work environment, cross-functional teams work best when they have a dedicated online space for the working group to manage their tasks and targets. Having the best cross-functional team members is pointless without a way to efficiently organize the group.

Samewave is social performance management software that keeps every member of the group up to date and on the same page, no matter where they are. While remote working has become more popular, cross-functional teams are even more likely to be spread out across different offices and time zones.

Our software allows teams to create and communicate about individual and team goals in one transparent place. Chat streams, file storage, automated reporting features and accountability towards goals helps small companies and large organisations manage any project, on any device.

If you're ready to embrace the benefits of cross-functional teamwork to bring your organisation to the next level, sign up for Samewave and begin building a more productive, engaged and successful workforce today.

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