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Four ways you can improve your cross-team collaboration

There are many ways to improve cross-team collaboration. The crucial step is recognizing its importance.

Four ways you can improve your cross-team collaboration
[Vadim Pastuh/AdobeStock]

The 2020s are quickly becoming the era of hybrid work. Remote work is the way of the future, with more than half of workers projected to be freelancing (an activity dominated by remote work) by 2027. At the same time, companies, including many forward-thinking Big Tech brands, are trying to reinstate a post-pandemic in-person office experience.

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This is leading to a growing number of hybrid work scenarios—which makes things like team-building and communication a challenge. Cross collaboration between departments and groups is particularly difficult.

Here are a few tips to help make sure your cross-collaboration efforts are effective, even if you’re working in a hybrid environment.

1. START WITH A GOOD FOUNDATION

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If you want cross collaboration to be successful within your organization, you need to start from the ground up. Establishing a collaboration-friendly environment for your workplace starts with getting buy-in from leadership. Make sure all of your management and C-suite understand the value of effective collaboration, particularly as it pertains to different departments, groups, and skill sets.

From there, make sure collaboration is a core value for your organization. Include it in your onboarding documentation to keep remote workers in the loop and make them aware of the importance of collaborating with others.

This will help ensure both your leaders and your team members understand the value of collaboration as they work toward a common goal.

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2. CREATE A CROSS-COLLABORATION ENVIRONMENT

Communicating cross-team collaboration as a part of your company culture is a good starting point. From there, though, you also need to establish a structure to facilitate your team’s ability to collaborate.

You can create this cross-collaboration-friendly environment by:

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  • Educating your employees on the value of cross collaboration on a regular basis
  • Creating well-defined protocols for communication and collaboration within your organization
  • Using project management and communication tools—many of which are cloud-based, and ideal for hybrid teams—to make information easily accessible and eliminate silos within your workplace

Remember, culture helps create the right mindset. Structure enables that mindset to thrive.

3. SET AND UPDATE CLEAR GOALS

When team members from different parts of your company come together for a common purpose—especially when portions or all of your team aren’t on-site—they may need help getting on the same page. That’s why it’s essential for you to set expectations for every cross-collaboration project.

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Use the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goals process to keep these expectations precise and applicable to the entire group.

Also, take other important goal-setting factors for cross-team collaboration into consideration, such as:

  • Defining who has what role on a team
  • Outlining the purpose of the group
  • Communicating budgets, resources, and schedules to the right people
  • Above all, outlining the objectives and key results to everyone involved

Once you’ve set goals, make sure to regularly review them and keep them updated over time.

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4. FOLLOW UP

Cross collaboration isn’t an up-front activity. It takes place over days and sometimes weeks of time. Many cross-collaboration responsibilities are recurring, too, like IT and marketing employees coming together to post online promotional content on a regular basis.

With that in mind, make cross collaboration a full-circle activity. Once you’ve set the stage and created good goals, schedule time for follow-up activities as well. These can include things like:

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  • Celebrating milestones when they’re achieved by your team
  • Publicly recognizing moments of good collaboration
  • Asking your employees for feedback on cross-collaboration effectiveness
  • Following the data and using analytics to track the success or failure of your collaborative efforts

In a hybrid workplace, this is especially important. Data and feedback translate to virtual workspaces well. Don’t be afraid to use your remote work tools to communicate celebratory moments, too.

There are many ways to improve cross-team collaboration. The crucial step is recognizing its importance. From there, use the recommendations above to address the weak points in your company’s cross-collaboration activities to help ensure everyone is communicating and interacting effectively.


Chalmers Brown is the Chief Technology Officer of Due

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