Every company and organization has a goal they want to achieve, so it’s not so much a question of “what,” but a question of “how.” How can companies achieve their business objectives?
While there are numerous ways to go about it, we believe that there’s a specific core strategy that stands out above the rest — cross-team collaboration.
When we say cross-team collaboration, we are referring to professionals from different departments coming together to work on a project or specific goal. This type of collaboration capitalizes on the diverse skills and specializations of each member to come up with better ideas, achieve better results, and solve different challenges within the organization.
Cross-team collaboration is a vital tool. It allows members from any level and any department to work together to provide a fresh perspective on a specific project. From entry-level employees to long-term managers, everyone can contribute to reaching a common goal.
Companies utilize this strategy because it offers a wide range of advantages. Some of the benefits of cross-functional teams are as follows:
- Increasing employee engagement
- Streamlining workflows and processes
- Defining the goals and roles of each team member
- Improving alignment across various departments
- Building leadership skills
- Keeping work more interesting
We believe that one of the best ways to improve collaboration is through events.
Why Events Are Great for Improving Cross-team Collaboration
Events are the perfect avenue to build and improve team collaboration. Since events are a multi-faceted way to bring people together to take part in a unified experience, they are appealing to team members and can create unification. A company can explore new and creative ways to organize events and involve all team members to ensure maximum effectiveness. Below are just a few team collaboration ideas.
Team-building activities can foster a sense of community and camaraderie among staff members, which in turn, can cultivate a conducive and effective working environment for everyone.
Activities at these types of events are extremely beneficial in a corporate setting. They can help improve communication and cooperation among your employees. In addition, they can also boost team morale and build a comfortable atmosphere in the workplace.
Employees, especially new hires, tend to feel intimidated if they are not comfortable with the people they work with. With team-building exercises, they can get to know their colleagues and build relationships with them.
Another great event idea to boost collaboration is mentoring. Mentoring allows your senior employees to connect with and coach your new hires so they can have a smooth transition to their new roles. However, for mentoring events to be successful, you need to be persistent.
For example, you can promote monthly check-ins between mentees and mentors so the former can share their progress with the latter, and the latter can provide continuing guidance all year-round.
Once the mentees are comfortable enough in their new positions, they can transition to becoming mentors for new hires. That being said, this mentoring initiative can be a cycle that keeps on going to ensure that everyone in the company is settled in their duties.
Although networking events usually refer to businesses meeting offsite to form a connection, this concept can also apply internally among departments. In other words, you can use networking events to enable members from one department to get to know other members from another department, and hopefully open doors for collaboration opportunities.
Besides these business-like event ideas, you can also explore something more unconventional and fun to bring the different members together. One example of this is organizing a competition.
Competitions have been shown to increase productivity. Especially with a prize on the line, your employees will feel motivated to participate in different activities any way they can. While your initial instinct is to have a cross-department competition, where different departments battle it out for the prize, a more interesting alternative is to form teams with members from different departments.
Doing so will encourage communication and collaboration across functions and jumpstart good working relationships with your employees.
Another fun way to boost cross-team collaboration is through office parties. Whether that’s celebrating an employee’s birthday, a company milestone, or just having a monthly get-together, office parties are a great way to bring everyone together in one room and encourage mingling in a fun and relaxed environment.
Since office parties should be a time of enjoyment and entertainment, you can incorporate games and activities within the program that will further promote bonding and communication. To make it even more exciting, you can add prizes to the mix to motivate everyone to participate.
These are some of the event ideas you can explore to increase cross-team collaboration.
Tips for Planning Events That Promote Cross-team Collaboration
With so many options on your plate, it can be easy to get carried away with events that you want to have. To make it simpler and more streamlined for you, we have come up with effective tips and team collaboration best practices you can use to make event planning more manageable.
Set a Goal
Before you begin to plan an event, you need to first establish the goals you want to achieve. If this is your first initiative in introducing cross-team collaboration to your company, perhaps the main objective is to let your employees get to know each other. At this point, your main focus should be bridging the gap between teams. Then, once everyone is comfortable with each other, you can move on to more complex objectives to boost collaboration.
Pro Tip: You may have numerous goals in mind, but we recommend sticking to one goal and core message. Doing so will make it clearer to everyone what the event is all about. They can set their expectations appropriately and you can establish a clear strategy.
Understand Your Budget and Timeline
Planning an event is not as simple as just having a good idea and getting started. You also need to understand your budget and work within your timeline to ensure success.
For example, if you have a tight budget, having an out-of-town team-building excursion may be out of the question. Instead, try to achieve your goal with something simpler, like a quick office get-together. Finding alternatives that offer the same results is a great way to adjust your event to meet budget requirements and time constraints.
Choose the Right Theme and Format
Based on your goal, try to think of a relatable theme and format that will encapsulate the messaging of your event.
For example, if you’re only at the introduction phase of this cross-team collaboration initiative, you can plan a small conference event to make everyone aware of what this project is all about. Within this conference, you can have a roundtable discussion where representatives from each team say their piece and share their insights regarding the topic.
Team building as a theme is another excellent example. Compared to the idea of holdind a conference, a team-building event is more engaging and immersive. As such, you may want to incorporate activities to promote better collaboration.
Whatever you decide, just make sure that the theme and format are appropriate and something that your employees can get behind. It’s best to keep it as straightforward as possible.
Create Mixed Teams
For events like team building or networking, one way to ensure effective collaboration across functions is to create a team composed of members from different departments.
Think about it: back in your school days, when your teacher would ask you to form groups, you would normally group with your friends because they are who you’re comfortable working with. Well, this mentality carries over even in your adult working days.
Many professionals are inclined to team up with people that they have previously engaged with because they’re comfortable. It’s your job to encourage them to mingle with new peers by bringing individuals from various groups together.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t only apply to team-building activities. You can also use this tip in more formal situations, like year-end events, conferences, and networking sessions, through seating arrangements and breakout rooms.
Incorporate Interactive Activities
Your employees may be more familiar with more passive corporate events. Corporate events like trade shows, conferences, lectures, training programs, and meetings are often filled with presentations and downtime. In these situations, the primary role of your employees is to sit back, listen, take notes, and — in some situations — ask questions.
But to boost cross-team collaboration, proactive participation is necessary. We want your employees to get involved throughout the whole program, and what better way to do so than by incorporating interactive activities?
Interactive activities like games, competitions, raffles, and so on are effective ways to get people to participate in the event. Not only that, but they are also a great way to boost team spirit, motivation, and productivity.
By utilizing interactive activities, you can channel this increased productivity into something fun and inclusive. So much so that your employees will end up bonding and working together more organically.
Ways To Encourage Collaboration During Events
Here are some ideas that can help you increase collaboration between different functions during events.
Creating Team Challenges
There’s nothing that unifies a team better than a challenge. When there’s a challenge, every member of the team is more inclined to collaborate to formulate a solution. This is a great way to build trust and foster long-lasting relationships.
Examples of team challenges in events include escape rooms, scavenger hunts, trivia showdowns, and other activities where the primary objective is to work together to win. Each of these ideas focuses on highlighting the strengths of every member, such as their creativity, innovation, analytical skills, time management, or leadership.
Another idea is to facilitate discussions. At your event, you can have a breakout activity where you create a safe and conducive environment for your employees to share in a productive discussion.
To make sure that your discussion sessions are as productive as they’re supposed to be, here are some pro tips to keep in mind.
- Assign a moderator: Team discussions, especially with individuals with no prior working relationships, work best when there’s a moderator who is initiating the discussion and monitoring progress. When the discussion lulls, the moderator is there to pick up the pace and keep the conversation going.
- Provide a structure as a guide: One way to ensure that everyone knows what to talk about is to provide a clear structure or an outline. This will help keep members on the right track of the discussion.
- Develop points of discussion: In relation to the previous point, if you want to add more substance to your outline, you can enhance the structure further by developing points of discussion. This can include possible questions to ask, relevant topics, or statistics. Using points of discussion as reference material can jump-start the discussion session and get the ball rolling.
- Take notes: Make sure that the moderator is keeping notes from the conversation. During discussions, your employees may share valuable insights, challenges, or solutions that can cultivate a more inclusive and collaborative working environment.
- Limit distractions: It’s easy for discussions to go off-topic if there are distractions in the way. Notifications, noise, or any other external distractions can ruin the flow of the conversation. For this reason, it’s best to have discussion sessions in a controlled environment, such as a quiet meeting room.
Promoting Brainstorming Sessions
Similar to facilitating discussions, promoting brainstorming sessions during events is one of the ways you can improve your collaboration. To make brainstorming more productive, here are some quick reminders to help.
- Have group brainstorming sessions and one-on-ones. Group brainstorming sessions are great if you want to develop multiple ideas in one meeting, but sometimes, people can’t think clearly in large crowds. In such cases, scheduling one-on-one sessions with your employees can encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas with you in private.
- Create a trusting environment. Fostering healthy relationships and conversations with your employees requires trust. If they feel as though you won’t respect their ideas and opinions, then they will hesitate to participate in brainstorming sessions. As such, make an effort to ensure they feel heard and respected. It’s the only way to create a trusting and collaborative environment.
- Avoid rejection. Besides not feeling heard or respected, another reason why some of your employees may be hesitant to share their thoughts and opinions is because they fear rejection. Instead of saying no right away, try saying yes, and see where their ideas lead. Having a more positive response to your employees’ ideas can help them feel more comfortable with the team and with you.
- Ask follow-up questions. Asking relevant questions after an idea has been shared can lead to more innovation and in-depth self-reflection. That’s why we encourage leaders and other team members not to shy away from asking questions. Who knows? These questions have the potential to lead to revelations that can solve bigger problems.
- Make it a regular practice. Being consistent with your brainstorming sessions is key to guaranteeing progress in terms of collaboration. Even after the event is finished, it’s important to continue doing brainstorming sessions in the office, whether it be every week or every month. This is the only way for you to bring new ideas to the forefront and promote a healthy environment built on communication, collaboration, and companionship.
In events where people are just getting to know each other, there will be some awkwardness at first. Don’t worry, this is normal. One strategy we recommend combating this is using icebreakers.
An icebreaker game like “One Word at a Time” is not only a fun activity for everyone to enjoy but, more importantly, brings employees together by encouraging each of them to contribute equally to achieving the same goal.
In this game, the goal is to form a cohesive sentence related to the given topic. The catch is, each member can only say one word in the sentence, so they take turns adding a word to string a complete sentence.
Another icebreaker activity is known as “Have You Ever?” In this game, all your employees will sit in a circle. The facilitator will ask a question, and if any person answers yes, they stand up.
To avoid any lull in the activity, the facilitator should prepare at least 20 questions to ask the group before the event begins. This will ensure that the icebreaker will flow smoothly without any hitches.
To help you get started, some questions can include:
- Have you ever traveled to Asia?
- Have you ever arrived late to work?
- Have you ever missed a meeting?
- Have you ever performed in front of a crowd?
The list goes on and on, and it’s up to your facilitator to be as fun and creative with these questions as possible.
Ideas for Follow-up After Events
You have to remember that events with the abovementioned activities are just the starting point to improving cross-functional collaboration. If you want to sustain the momentum of cross-team collaboration after the event, you need to provide other opportunities for your employees. Some ideas can include:
- Collecting insights and feedback from different departments
- Tracking the progress of collaboration in the office
- Having office get-togethers regularly
- Inviting members from various teams to work together on a project
- Going out for work lunches
If you want to know other ways to increase collaboration among your employees, we suggest looking at tools like Attendee Interactive. We have the solutions you need to facilitate follow-ups with your employees, track progress, and get valuable feedback.
What’s more, if you want to plan another cross-team event in the future, our platform can aid in the entire organization process. We offer a comprehensive approach that aims to streamline logistics and maximize time, budget, and staffing. Everything we have to offer is flexible, easy to use, and instantaneous. With our solutions, you can plan team events with convenience.
Examples of Successful Cross-team Collaboration Events
Planning events is an effective strategy that brings teams together and fosters collaboration. But if you don’t know how to get started with planning one, take a look at these successful cross-team collaboration events.
As the name suggests, team-building retreats are events that aim to build teams and encourage them to work in harmony toward a common goal. The benefits of this type of event include better planning skills, increased communication, more employee motivation, and — of course — employee collaboration.
Unlike other events that are more rigid and structured, team-building events incorporate fun activities for employees to see each other from new perspectives. In doing so, it allows them to build deeper connections even outside the office setting.
If you’re wondering how to increase collaboration, try incorporating hackathons into your event lineup. Hackathons are a type of hyper-focused working event that typically happens within a technology company, university, or healthcare institution. During these events, programmers work together to address a specific challenge or accomplish a project. In this competitive setting, the goal is to be the first team to finish the task as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This cross-functional collaboration effort enables participants to engage in networking opportunities, learn new skills, increase motivation, and exercise listening or leadership skills.
Compared to hackathons, cross-functional workshops are not competitive. Rather, they are welcoming, engaging events that aim to help team members learn new skills and knowledge together. Also, some activities in the workshop can revolve around teamwork to improve cross-functional collaboration and bridge the gap between departments.
If there’s anything you retain from this article, it’s the answers to the questions: what are cross-functional teams, and how to increase collaboration between teams?
Remember, your company is only as good as its people. Making sure that your employees get along and work well together is the key to success. The only way to guarantee this is by making efforts to build collaboration through events.
If you need more tips on how to build effective collaboration in your organization, reach out to us at Attendee Interactive. We provide cutting-edge event management solutions and would love to help you take your events to the next level!