Every company is a collection of departments working together to achieve shared objectives – at least in theory. In reality, departments are frequently like self-contained, independent city-states that just happen to occupy the same building. They often have their own social structures, ways of working, and non-shared goals. Needless to say, this isn’t a desirable state of affairs. It can impact productivity, morale, and long-term company growth.
Today, WORKERS.COM discusses the importance of interdepartmental communication and collaboration (C & C) and offers some tips for improving it.
WHY INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION MATTER
Interdepartmental communication and collaboration are critical for several reasons:
- Better productivity and performance
Better C & C increases productivity and performance by 25 percent, reports Zippia. When your departments work together better, tasks get done faster and organizational-wide goals are easier to meet.
- High morale and job satisfaction
Everyone likes to work in a supportive work environment. Increased C & C tends to make the culture happier and healthier, which leads to high morale among employees, heightened job satisfaction, and better employee retention.
- Personal growth
Talking to colleagues from different departments, backgrounds, and experiences can help employees to broaden their horizons. Working closely together with colleagues can also help your employees gain new skills or sharpen existing ones.
- Better customer care
When dealing with clients or customers, employees often have to pull information from other departments or talk to an expert working elsewhere. With better C & C, this process is faster, which leads to less waiting time for customers.
WHY INTERDEPARTMENTAL C & C IS A CHALLENGE
Interdepartmental C & C can be hard to achieve for various reasons, says Chron. By understanding the problems properly, you can learn how to solve them:
- Personal conflicts: Managers and individual employees don’t always see eye to eye. There may be friendly or unfriendly rivalries getting in the way.
- Separation: A geographical separation – like a department being on a different floor or even a different city – can make face-to-face meetings tough to pull off.
- Lack of time: Workers tend to be busy people with a mountain of responsibilities. They may not have enough bandwidth to engage with workers from other departments.
- Silos: Departments have specific functions, often only loosely related to other departments. This may make collaboration opportunities hard to come by.
- Lack of communication frameworks: Information-sharing and communication between departments may not be an official part of how the company works.
STRATEGIES TO MAXIMIZE INTERDEPARTMENTAL C & C
Here are some ways you can improve interdepartmental C & C:
- Hosting official meetings or social events
Meeting time between different departments is a great way to bring everyone together, solve problems, and come up with shared goals. Social events like game nights can also help break the ice and get people to bond.
- Encouraging open communication and feedback
If you want there to be more communication between teams, you may want to encourage feedback and open communication. This is allowing employees to freely say what’s on their minds, which automatically builds stronger ties.
- Tech and tools
Technology can go a long way toward bringing down communication barriers and facilitating collaboration. For example, there’s Google Doc’s collaborative function, like in-document annotations. Trello, the project-management solution, has powerful task-management features that assist real-time collaboration. Discord offers real-time voice collaboration, document sharing, radio, and other useful communication features.
- Sharing examples of collaboration
You may want your employees to be collaborative between departments – but what does that mean exactly? You can introduce more communication and collaboration by sharing examples of behaviors you’d like to see or goals you’d like your teams to achieve. Being collaborative yourself helps your people learn from your example.
- Applying business process management (BPM)
Business process management is a powerful methodology that analyzes how people, systems, and data interact and then offers up process optimizations and automation. You can use BPM to make processes smoother between departments, boosting C & C greatly. It eliminates previously laborious processes, smoothing out operations. You can also define, automate, and manage business processes for better results. If applying a BPM framework, constantly monitor the current effectiveness and then keep making changes to improve the process and output.
- Presenting a report to leadership or investors
Writing a business report for leadership or investors is an excellent opportunity to practice C & C between departments. You can assign individual and group research responsibilities, discuss the content of the reports as a group, and get all departments to weigh in together.
You’ll need to proactively troubleshoot common problems for better communication and collaboration between departments. Using strategies like using collaboration apps, applying business process automation (BPM), and creating a feedback culture will help. Heightened productivity, a healthier atmosphere, and happier customers will be your rewards.
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