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Three Competencies to Cross-Functional Working | Nestlé Purina Careers

One of the most apparent ways we build up our people and our business at Nestlé Purina is through working cross-functionally. Whether it be at an individual contributor level or across departments, evidence of collaboration and communication between teams to make the work we do stronger is present in both our factories across the country and our St. Louis headquarters. Continue reading to learn what three competencies are key in effective cross-functional working.

Mandy, Director, HR Business Partnering, says three competencies are desired in Purina associates in order to be effective and successful at working cross-functionally.

  • Influence – It’s important that you can influence team members to move decisions forward. You may be in a group of people with competing priorities, so speak up and provide reasoning that supports your ideas. 
  • Empathy – Even if we don’t have the same priorities, we need to understand what the priorities of other teams and departments are to move the mark forward.
  • Courage – When you work cross functionally, you must have the courage to step out of your comfort zone and respectfully challenge the group. Cross-functional projects are one of the ways in which we encourage our associates to embrace the uncomfortable. And people who can bring new ideas in gently with an overall mission to move the needle are needed.

It takes everyone on a cross-functional team to make the metaphorical machine and gears work. While sometimes it can feel like a project is moving slower due to many players having an investment in its outcome, there are a multitude of benefits to working cross-functionally.

From Mandy’s perspective, one large benefit she has experienced is the opportunity to work with individuals that understand things she may not as comprehensively, such as specific processes or systems. When we capitalize on others’ experiences and intelligence to achieve our individual or departmental goals, we can create smarter outcomes and new ways of working that have long-lasting impact. Creating a new connection and expanding your internal network at the company is another large benefit. This web of connections you’re building by communicating with various people and departments will include stakeholders that you can always rely on and lean on for brain power. One other perk is discovering where your own strengths lie. You can continue harnessing what skills and abilities you bring to the table while learning tips from your new connections.

When working cross-functionally and there is friction, or perhaps a lack of empathy during team collaboration, it’s important to find common ground through open communication. At the end of the day, we embrace the obstacles faced and focus on what it takes to move the mark as a team. Through this, we enable results through our people and fresh ideas to move a project along.

If you want to improve or build upon any of the above competencies, two things you can do are build trust and be vulnerable with the people in which you are building foundational relationships. We all must start somewhere, so creating credibility is crucial and can be achieved by opening yourself up to new teams, personalities, and ways of working in pursuit of personal and professional growth. If you’re new and working on a team, be curious and ask questions to better understand those you are working with and the needs and struggles they may have.


Does Purina sound like a place you want to join?  
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