How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Published on July 20, 2022
Venkat Sridhar
Content Writer, Rafiki.ai

Any company’s success solely relies on how its employees come together, keep together, and work together. Take any successful project in your organization. You will find that there is one common thread linking all of them – cross-functional collaboration.

In this post, we’re going to dive deep and understand everything about cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment and the right tool to help you with it.

What is cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

When collaboration happens between employees working from the office and those working from home across all departments, you have cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment.

Zoom call during hybrid work.
Zoom call in a hybrid environment

Here are some common examples of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

  • The sales team (working from home) and the development team (working at the office) are discussing the ETA of a custom feature that one of the prospects requested.
  • The development team (working from the office) and the testing team (working from a coworking space) are collaborating to eliminate all the bugs in the application.
  • The sales team (sitting at the customer’s place) is interacting with the customer success team (working from home) about the possibilities of an upsell.

Factors that get in the way of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

1. Poor selection of tools

Poor selection of tools can often result in information losses, communication gaps, and interpersonal conflicts, all of which can push the teams away from achieving their common goal. 

For instance, imagine a call taking place between the sales team in the US and the development team. The former is explaining the latter about the newest requirement of a client in the application. Now, without a proper tool, most of the important information can be lost, especially if the development hasn’t taken any notes(to focus on the call) or recorded the call.

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However, when you use a tool like Rafiki, all your calls are automatically recorded and transcribed, letting your teams focus on the call. 

2. Lack of transparency

In a hybrid environment, everyone is an avatar on screen – a severe lack of personal touch. Most people do not know whether to trust colleagues from their contemporary team with all the information related to a project or not. As a result of this fear, teams start putting their tasks that impact the common company goal at the bottom of their day’s pile.

3. Improperly aligned common goals

Many teams not only make the mistake of setting misaligned goals but also fail to define the roles and responsibilities of individual team members working towards them. The result is chaos as nobody knows what they are working for, how to work, and why it is vital to achieving that goal in the first place.

4. Linguistic and Cultural Barriers

Many companies have started hiring beyond their borders, thanks to the hybrid working model. However, this comes at a cost. Though most speak English, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can follow along. Factors such as accents, local references, or cultural differences can make everyday communication difficult. ,. 

How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work
Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work

1. Pick the right tools

The most fundamental step is selecting the right tools for your arsenal. Since your teams are at different places in a hybrid environment, the tools you pick will be the primary way they collaborate instead of face-to-face interactions. Gartner has found that there has been a 44% increase in employees’ use of collaboration tools in recent times. 

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The tools you choose should facilitate both seamless communication and track and record the conversations for later references. It should be able to record, transcribe, and capture key moments of every discussion and share them with all the stakeholders.

Rafiki checks all the above boxes and can be a valuable addition to your team to promote cross-functional collaboration. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now. 

2. Set the ground rules

Setting ground rules in a hybrid environment is critical because the chances of conflicts are high. Here are some simple ground rules you can establish – 

  • Be clear on the expectations from everyone towards achieving the common goal. 
  • Highlight what each member needs to do so that no one feels overburdened. 
  • Give your team a clear sense of how everyone is expected to behave during a meeting. Adopting the right virtual meeting etiquette instills a sense of professionalism and confidence in employees.
  • Give them the liberty to speak their point of view, even if it means disagreeing with someone. After all, the cross-functional collaboration aims to find better solutions by bringing diverse people together. 
  • Bring transparency to how financial decisions are taken and ensure all stakeholders are on board.

3. Create KPIs to measure collaboration success

Cross-functional collaboration tends to create the illusion of no accountability in a hybrid environment. The best way to avoid this is by setting up Key Performance Indicators that are measurable in a remote environment. Use these KPIs to track the progress of different teams in attaining the common goal. More importantly, you must reward individuals or teams for high performance.

4. Arrange discussions in the right frequency and duration

Having too many discussions(or too long) in the name of cross-functional collaboration doesn’t leave enough time for your teams to work toward the common goal. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up discussions. On the contrary, you must set up regular discussions between your teams as they are an essential part of cross-functional collaboration. 

But you must ensure that these meetings do not last more than 10 minutes. Longer meetings can be reserved exclusively for discussing important updates, planning new goals, or celebrating milestones.

Drawbacks of not having cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

When you do not encourage cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you can experience the following drawbacks – 

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1. Waste of employees’ time

When your cross-functional teams are not collaborating effectively, it can impact your bottom line. For instance, imagine an employee from the sales team is searching for an important document for hours when it could have been instantly provided by the customer success team. Such situations are bound to crop up if you haven’t promoted cross-functional collaboration in your organization.

2. Loss of talent

Companies across the world are promoting their adoption of a hybrid environment to attract talent. And cross-functional collaboration is an essential part of a hybrid environment. When an organization doesn’t promote cross-functional collaboration, it is considered ‘old school’. Candidates will refrain from joining such an organization. Even employees will move out of such organizations, resulting in a human capital crisis. A study shows that around 99.1% want to be part of an organization that encourages communication.

3. Less Engaged Employees

When there is no cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you will experience decreased productivity due to less engaged employees. Without cross-functional collaboration, your teams will feel less connected with one another, which can cause an environment of mistrust in your organization. A study shows that companies that promoted collaboration were 5 times more likely to be high performing.

4. Reduces creativity

Cross-functional collaboration breeds creativity as it encourages ideas to flow from all sides of the organization. When there is no collaboration, creativity automatically goes down. Lack of collaboration narrows everyone’s perspective and reduces their problem-solving skills.

How does Rafiki promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Rafiki is a conversation intelligence tool that tracks every conversation in cross-functional collaboration and provides valuable insights from it. Here are the different ways in which Rafiki can promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment 

  • Rafiki automatically records, transcribes, and analyses all your meetings.
  • With Rafiki, you can create snippets of key meeting moments, add them to a playlist and share them with your colleagues.   
  • Rafiki’s Call Notes and Moments, ensure your teams can focus on the discussion instead of jotting down every word. This helps them stay present in the meeting and contribute instead of focussing on mundane note-taking tasks. The best part? Rafiki automatically sorts the meeting notes by topic and syncs the notes directly to your CRM.
  • Time-stamped comments, scorecards for each call, conversation metrics such as talk-listen ratio, question rate, interactivity, and a whole host of other features ensure that your team is completely in sync. 

Conclusion

Cross-functional collaboration is that binding agent which brings different teams together in your organization and gets them to rally for a common cause. It fosters creativity, productivity, and trust among your employees, thus ensuring organizational success. As you have seen in this post, picking the right tool is the key to promoting cross-functional collaboration. 

A tool like Rafiki can be an asset for your organization. It can not only track every communication but also offer tips and insights that can help improve future communication and get your teams closer to that final goal. Explore the power of Rafiki on your own by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

⋙ Checkout how Rafiki helps SDR's to convert more leads

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