Being “cross-functional” is a term used to describe an employee that has the ability to move in and out of one’s specific job description. The term may eventually go out of fashion, but the significance of its meaning will not.
Why be cross-functional? Well, the more you know of the different components that, when combined, help to make your company function, the more valuable an employee you become. If you are on the operations team and accounting plays a large role in the accuracy of your reporting, a good understanding of accounting and how the accounting department operates may help you do your job. Also, there may be a case when the accounting department is understaffed. If this coincides with “downtime” in your own department, (and, you get the “go-ahead” from your boss) you may find it helpful to offer your services…until the logjam loosens up and you can return to the operations team. If you can do this, you are guaranteed to impress and be appreciated.
Being cross-functional means that you are able to adapt, or be adapted to many different workplace demands. This versatility increases your value to your team and to your company. Being cross-functional demonstrates intelligence, curiosity and a willingness to apply oneself at a level that exceeds the traditional expectations placed on a company employee.