7 Benefits of Cross-functional Teams

Cross-functional teams can be the right solution for companies that want more flexibility and opportunities for innovation. In fact, 83% of digitally maturing companies use cross-functional teams for this purpose.

Since both small and large businesses are constantly faced with new challenges, finding new ways of functioning in new environments is imperative. Cross-functional teams enable just that – experimenting and learning in a new environment to find the appropriate way to respond.

But that’s just some of the benefits of having a cross-functional team. Here are seven reasons why you should implement cross-functional collaboration in your company.

1. Cross-functional teams encourage innovative ideas

Although most people would associate creativity with art and business with making money, that’s far from the truth. Namely, possessing creativity in business is also essential because it encourages the development of innovative problem-solving ideas while unlocking the ability to make the most of business opportunities.

That said, bringing people with unique perspectives and skills can enhance creativity even more. Cross-functionality transforms traditional brainstorming sessions by encouraging the flow of ideas from all departments.

Simply put, by using different approaches to problem-solving and learning how people from other departments think, you’re expanding people’s viewpoints and boosting their analytic capabilities.

This mutual collaboration leads to progressive resolutions that might never have happened if these people had continued to work in highly specialized teams.

2. Cross-functional teams promote flexibility

Business flexibility has many advantages. For example, it can give you a competitive edge over your rivals. It can also create a positive work environment that will ultimately increase the productivity of your workers.

Furthermore, since flexibility is closely related to adaptability to others’ insights, ideas, and approaches, team diversity will give everyone plenty of room to learn.

By sharing their ideas, your team members can see the bigger picture, motivating them to work together towards mutual business objectives.

Cross-functional teams also promote accountability, as each member is accountable for their own responsibilities.

3. Cross-functional teams foster a collaborative culture

Cross-functional teams are a pillar of cultural collaboration as members from different sectors work together towards a shared goal. Building a team that makes decisions together will close the gap between isolated teams, encouraging a more inclusive company culture.

In addition to fostering innovation, cross-functional teams can improve connectivity among colleagues, which will lead to a flawless collaborative culture.

4. Cross-functional teams create greater employee engagement

According to the latest stats, only 32% of full- and part-time employees are engaged in their work. And, as you know, a lack of engagement leads to lower productivity. On the other hand, 52% of US workers believe that collaboration in the workplace is very important.

Why is having engaged workers essential for your business? Because it affects profits, improves work culture, increases productivity, and reduces turnover.

Cross-functional teams will not only keep your workers engaged. They’ll also improve the overall workplace dynamic. Namely, when you give people from different departments a common task, they will bond and start trusting each other.

In addition, they’ll begin to understand and appreciate each other’s roles. Let’s say you put a customer service representative and a developer on the same team. By working with each other on different issues, they’ll realize how vital their roles are to the company’s success.

This common goal will make them appreciate each other more, improving their engagement rates.

5. Cross-functional teams can boost team performance

When teams succeed in mastering communication, conflict resolution, and cooperation, their effectiveness increases. Since cross-functional teams are basically putting people in unique situations, these three elements become critical to their success.

In addition to a common goal, team members become more willing to imagine the success of the group in relation to their own, thus increasing their responsibility and motivation. With this, team cooperation is reproduced in the parent departments, where it slowly becomes a new team interaction model throughout the company.

The result? These teams will work at a high level by replacing hasty judgments with open communication. They’ll also try to find the most suitable way to work with the rest of the team.

6. Cross-functional teams get things done faster

The most significant feature of cross-functional teams is mutual learning. Since each member brings different skills to the table, all members are learning something new. Moreover, all members are exposed to new tools used by other departments. This can help them understand how other teams use these tools to approach problem-solving.

Since each department uses separate tools, cross-functional teams complete tasks much faster.

7. Cross-functional teams improve communication skills

Good communication is the foundation for every successful business. Poor communication, or the lack of it, can easily destroy even the best teams.

Cross-team communication, i.e., cooperation between different teams to create joint projects, leads to progressive solutions because people from different domains combine their knowledge and expertise.

This type of communication will also contribute to developing a common jargon. Using common jargon will help team members convey their opinions to other members more quickly and precisely.

According to a recent survey, 89% of workers use workplace jargon, while 70% prefer their co-workers to communicate informally rather than remain strictly professional.

Main reasons to include cross-functional teams in your business plans

Cross-functional teams work great regardless of the type of business they are implemented in. Why? Because they include individuals from different departments working together towards the same goal.

As you know, heterogenous and like-minded teams often face problems due to a lack of ideas. On the other hand, cross-functional teams go against conventional thinking patterns to contribute to better decision-making.

By creating teams that include members with different skills and perspectives, you’re essentially constructing a supergroup that will transform your company’s organizational structure.

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