In a corporate environment that is defined by severe competition and excellence in performance, investing in a cross functional team makes for a wise decision. Today’s corporate culture is defined by a shift from principles that have been prevalent hitherto. Individual contribution has given way to team work while centralized power has been replaced by empowerment. Hierarchical structures are now on the decline, while collaborative team work is given prominence. In light of such practices that seek to enhance productivity and thereby profitability, cross functional training can prove to be a significant tool in team development.
A cross function team is one that comprises of members who are trained in roles outside their designation. An often overlooked leadership tool, these teams bring to the organisation a multi-faceted advantage program. The benefits of a well-planned training program could result in several significant changes:
- Cost Benefit
A cross functional team is one way to exploit the talent that exists within the organisation. Enabling and equipping existing employees with new skills is a much cheaper proposition as against recruiting new candidates. This benefit can be greater appreciated in small businesses, where an in-house cross training equips employees to swap roles and take on additional responsibility, without having to incur the cost of bringing in a new employee.
- Employee Motivation
Recognizing talent in employees and enabling them to build on the same is one of the best ways to boost employee motivation in a non-monetary manner. Giving an employee the freedom to work in a role that is in line with his/her field of expertise and interest can have a direct impact on their performance.
- Uninterrupted Process
A cross functionally trained team is equipped to ensure uninterrupted processes. Employees will be trained in roles outside their designated responsibilities – a process that makes the team more independent. With greater scope and depth of information, work processes are bound to get smoother and better.
- Competitive Advantage
Investing in a cross-functional team brings together a number of advantages that is rarely matched by any other leadership tool. With an impressive workforce that is versatile and effective in performance, the organization is at a competitive advantage and with a good lead at that.
Although not necessarily restrictive, cross functional teams are effective in the process of product development. A good team can make a measurable change in the cost factor of developing a new product. To make sense of how a cross functional team works, it would be imperative to compare a conventional system of product development as against the above mentioned technique. In the past, a new product entailed an elaborate and time consuming process. Data had to be sequentially obtained from various relevant and functional departments. After a dedicated team did design a new product, these had to again go through another round of inspections and approvals before it was developed and introduced into the market. A cross functional team, on the other hand, involves members of all crucial departments. After due diligence, the team develops a product that is in line with each of their respective departments. This way, the time taken in assessing and developing is far lesser than in conventional techniques.
The concept of a cross functional team is quite progressive and beneficial to any organization. However its implementation is not as simple as it sounds. In order to create a cross functional team, members from various departments are brought together to achieve a common goal. On a practical and functional level, there are a number of issues that hinder the achievement of this common objective. While every department may want to prove its supremacy, conflicts and delays are not new obstacles in such a setup. Effective training can make a significant impact in such a scenario. We, at The Umbrella specialize in developing training programs that will enhance team performance. Outbound training sessions are essential in binding group members. A sense of trust, mutual dependency and responsibility towards a common goal can be imbibed during a training session. A well thought out and trained cross functional team has the capability to build an organization. And we can help you build that one team that can make a world of difference to your organization.