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Cross-Team Collaboration: Benefits, Best Practices, & Examples

Cross team collaboration

Ever wondered why some companies rise to success sooner than others? 

Besides stellar products and services, these market winners have one thing in common – they have understood the incredible importance of cross-team collaboration for long-term, sustainable success!

Whether it’s about launching a new product in the market, devising a new policy, or building a campaign – business functions can succeed only when supported by multidisciplinary, cross-functional teams. 

However, putting together a collaborative culture that is brimming with unique perspectives and varied experiences is much more than tapping a few individuals from each department. 

There is a lot more that goes into the process, right from defining the shared goals of your company to creating a centralized knowledge base

This blog will walk you through the 7 practical best practices for improving cross-team collaboration, along with the several benefits it can shower on your business. 

Let’s uncover the secret to working and winning together!

What Is Cross-Team Collaboration? 

Cross-team collaboration happens when teams across departments come together to work towards common goals. It is a systematic process where employees with different backgrounds, skill sets, and experience levels work closely on specific projects or tasks to generate greater value and impeccable deliverables. 

With the combined strengths of employees, there is increased innovation, and productivity levels witness a significant rise. 

4 Biggest Benefits of Cross-Team Collaboration 

An organization is like a machine, with multiple moving parts that should work well together to ensure smooth functioning. That’s where cross-team collaboration plays a vital part. It builds synergy across teams and facilitates innovation to achieve faster progress on projects. 

Let’s look at some of the key benefits you can enjoy by embracing cross-group collaboration. 

1. Enhance Team Productivity & Performance 

Cross-team collaboration takes away the unnecessary friction from your work processes. There is more clarity and transparency around the shared goals to be achieved, which turns employees into team players rather than individual performers. Driven by a common vision and mission, employees are able to work more productively, and they tend to put their best foot forward in everything they do. 

2. Drive Innovation Across Departments 

Cross-department collaboration ignites innovation by facilitating an environment of knowledge sharing. When employees come together under a common roof, they bring with them unique insights, game-changing ideas, and specific skill sets. With different experiences, perspectives, and best practices flowing freely, your employees will find new ways to solve old and new problems. 

3. Speed-Up Project Delivery 

Experts from across departments working on a project prevent mistakes from amplifying. The more the number of eyes, the easier it is to spot errors in the initial stages of the project. Besides, cross-team collaboration paves the way for better ideas, insights, and perspectives, which expedites project delivery and promises remarkable results. 

4. Reduce Workplace Silos 

Cross-team collaboration creates a unified work environment that pushes employees out of their shelves and helps them work together like a family. With cross-functional teams coming together, workplace silos reduce substantially, and everyone is on the same page with regard to project tasks and goals.

How to Encourage Cross-Team Collaboration: 7 Actionable Best Practices 

Implementing cross-department collaboration requires a systematic approach. Let’s explore X simple ways to kickstart collaboration in your workplace and build a culture that facilitates innovation, trust, and creativity. 

1. Define Your Organizational Goals 

When the destination is crystal clear, the journey becomes all the more exciting. 

Defining organizational goals gives teams a straightforward path to walk on, thus keeping confusion and chaos out of the picture. 

Clarity around the objectives to be achieved, timelines to be followed, and outcomes expected by higher management set your teams up for success right off the bat. They are better prepared for the challenges ahead and work proactively to overcome them. 

The goal-setting process gives wings to your cross-team collaboration initiatives by helping employees set priorities at the very beginning of the journey. Teams gain a better understanding of how the goals fit into the larger picture, which keeps them on the same page throughout the journey. 

2. Promote Knowledge Sharing Across Departments 

Cross-department knowledge sharing lays the groundwork for organization-wide collaboration. 

A culture of continuous knowledge sharing pushes employees out of their cocoons, urging them to come up with new ideas to solve problems and accomplish goals together. 

So, how do you build a collaborative, knowledge-sharing environment? 

It’s more simple than you might think. 

Creating a centralized information hub comprising how-to articles, detailed guides, and training materials on pertinent business topics is one of the easiest ways to boost knowledge sharing. It is an open platform where employees can freely share their unique insights with each other and give feedback on articles created by peers. 

Besides, employees get access to department-specific best practices that further aid learning and collaboration. This also helps to make the overall work experience more pleasant and stress-free. 

Here’s a quick video on how you can create an internal knowledge base to encourage knowledge sharing in your workplace. 

Read More: 10 Best Knowledge Sharing Platforms in 2022

3. Maintain Transparency With Clearly-Defined Team Roles

“What am I supposed to do?” 

“How do my contributions matter?” 

“What role do I play in the collaboration process?” 

These questions often erupt in employees’ minds if their roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined from the start. Lack of clarity can be so frustrating that employees might lose all the motivation to work on a project. 

For collaboration to work its magic, defining what each member and team is responsible for from the get-go is crucial. This sets the right expectations and helps employees prioritize the work that really matters for the role they have been assigned. 

For example, on a project like creating an internal knowledge management platform, you might want your employees to collaborate across teams. In such projects, confusion often creeps in, and miscommunication takes center stage if expectations and responsibilities are not set straight at the beginning. 

Defining the roles of employees and teams can be a savior here. With tools like ProProfs Knowledge Base, you can infuse transparency in teams by detailing who is responsible for doing what. 

Depending on the knowledge and experience level of employees, assign them roles such as contributor, editor, and administrator, so they can work cohesively towards maintaining a thriving knowledge base

Here’s a quick video that shows how teams can collaborate to build and maintain your company knowledge. 

4. Get Buy-In From the Leadership Team 

Daydream of something, and the next day you see it for real – well, that only happens in movies!

For the idea of cross-team collaboration to travel from your mind to your company’s culture and bring a real difference to how employees work takes hard work. Gaining the confidence and approval of your leadership team can kickstart the process on the right foot. 

Start by showing to team leads the poor deliverables and delayed projects caused by ineffective teamwork. Give leaders a true picture of where the company stands in terms of collaboration and how it is stalling the growth, innovation, and creativity of your workforce. 

Once you get the green signal from leaders, creating policies for collaboration and seeking approval will get easier. As policies get implemented, department heads will have clarity on the course of action to be followed during collaboration and the goals to be accomplished as they move forward in the process. 

Strong leadership will facilitate cross-team collaboration, ensuring that it trickles down to every level of your organization. 

5. Set KPIs to Measure & Improve Performance 

Why should teams take the pain to collaborate when they can easily work in their comfort zones? 

Teams need the motivation to follow the collaboration path. That motivation can come when employees know how their performance will be measured and the rewards they will receive for successful collaboration.

Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will give employees a transparent picture of the metrics against which their cross-team performance will be assessed. The KPIs can include employee engagement level, employee productivity, and overall project performance. 

When analyzing your employees’ collaboration efforts, weigh in their familiarity with tools like Slack and knowledge base. Analyze their proactiveness when it comes to coordinating with cross-functional teams and getting things done. Look at how much they have achieved as individuals and how collaboration had a role to play in their performance. 

Regular analysis of your team’s collaboration endeavors will bring to the surface the bottlenecks hampering the projects and the areas where your employees lag. 

Once you are abreast with both the favorable and unfavorable sides of the initiative, you can take the necessary corrective actions. 

6. Encourage Employees to Share Feedback

Healthy collaboration thrives on employees’ ability to openly share feedback without any inhibitions or fear of judgment. 

A systematic approach to capturing feedback will give employees a chance to express their concerns and voice their opinions, which will strengthen internal communication across teams and improve internal customer service

Such a practice will bring to spotlight the burning issues of employees that is impacting the overall team productivity and project performance. Constructive feedback about the way things are moving will help you identify risks early on in your projects and take steps to prevent problems from amplifying. 

For example, employee feedback can expose you to instances of inequitable sharing of workload, inappropriate behavior by specific members, or ineffectiveness of a particular collaboration tool. 

Leaders can leverage these insights to craft innovative solutions to employees’ challenges and improve how teams work together on projects. 

7. Adopt the Right Tools 

Your collaboration endeavors are likely to fall flat if they are not supported by strong tools that drive knowledge sharing and project management. 

Adopting the right tools not only expedite the process but also promises maximum efficiency during implementation.

A good idea is to employ a couple of tools that integrate well with each other. For example, you can go for the best knowledge base software that works seamlessly with collaboration platforms like Slack and Jira. 

This way, your teams will get an all-in-one platform where they can share knowledge, track projects, and stay aligned on tasks. With no juggling between platforms, an integrated system of tools saves time and effort, making the process of cross-team communication a lot more easy and fuss-free.

This is also a great way to steer clear of any miscommunication or information silos, as teams have a centralized platform to keep a close tab on what everyone is up to. 

Examples of Cross-Team Collaboration to Inspire Your Own

Let’s now look at cross-team collaboration in action. 

Here are a few examples to give you a gist of what collaboration across teams looks like: 

1. Sales & Customer Support

Since both these departments are customer-facing, improving collaboration between the two can lead to positive outcomes in terms of sales, retention, and customer satisfaction. 

Your sales team can provide the support staff with valuable insights into popular product use cases, customer interests, and preferences. This information can help your support folks proactively solve customer problems and deliver better experiences. 

2. Product Development & Marketing

No one can have better insights about the pros and cons of your product than those who have created it in the first place. The product development team can share useful insights into the product’s functionalities and upcoming releases with your marketing team. This helps your marketing folks craft compelling strategies with the right messaging. 

In return, the marketing team can inform your product development staff about the features that are in high demand and use cases that don’t work well for most people. 

These examples of cross-team collaboration will inspire you to follow a similar approach and unleash the strengths of multiple teams working together. 

Harness the Power of Cross-Team Collaboration to Achieve Peak Productivity & Performance 

Cross-team collaboration requires great effort, but it all seems worthwhile once you start experiencing the impeccable benefits it brings to the table, such as improved team productivity, innovation, and creativity. 

Whether your employees are working remotely or from the office, cross-team working is essential for projects to proceed at a faster pace and never cross the defined timelines. With open lines of communication, leadership buy-in, and an environment that encourages feedback-sharing, you can easily integrate collaboration into your work culture. 

Along with the cross-team collaboration best practices, you also need the support of a tool like  ProProfs Knowledge Base to optimize your collaboration efforts. 

Sign up for a free trial now and witness how it can strengthen collaboration in your company!

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About the author

Bryan Wills is a seasoned expert in knowledge management with over a decade of experience in the field. His expertise extends across various domains, including Security & Compliance, User Management, Knowledge Management, Software Documentation, and Customer Support. His writings not only reflect his deep understanding of these subjects but also offer practical solutions and strategies to help organizations enhance their knowledge management processes. Bryan’s work has been published in GetFeedback, CustomerThink, and Apruve.