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Few things are as crucial to a flourishing business as interdepartmental communication. Consistent communication prevents many unnecessary problems and ensures smooth workflows among teams. Whether automating repetitive tasks, scheduling regular meetings, or drawing on fresh perspectives, every company has room for improvement. Below, Eloqui shares some practical advice for boosting interdepartmental communication and your business overall.
Optimize Your Processes
Everyone is happier when things are going smoothly. Part of improving interdepartmental communication is automating mundane tasks and using data to boost workflows for the team. Data analysis is an excellent way to optimize business processes and streamline tasks, making it easier to maintain consistent communication.
Process mining can take your collaboration to new heights . Every team member will be better equipped to work more efficiently, and your organization might notice more sales, fewer risks, and new opportunities. Determine your key stakeholders and data sources before creating your process mining timeline.
Transparency has never been more vital to business teams. Employees expect openness and transparency from their companies more than ever before, and ensuring your team members at every level are comfortable giving feedback will do wonders for employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
It’s also essential to use the same basic processes and communication tools in all departments. Trello, Google Docs, and other cloud-based solutions make it easier for team members to stay connected and productive while meeting deadlines. Incorporating a team chat app like Slack is an excellent way to keep a distributed workforce on the same page.
While you’re at it, revisit your company's internal communication structure to ensure it keeps up with the modern business landscape. Many antiquated structures lead to silos and other situations that harm team productivity.
Strategize Your Meetings
You’ll be hard-pressed to foster communication and collaboration without scheduling regular meetings with well-defined agendas for your department heads. During these meetings, cultivate the concept that the company's departments are a single team instead of each department being its own team.
Adjust your language and encourage consistent, respectful communication among all employees. You might be surprised how much more connected the various departments feel, making them want to communicate more often with other departments.
Schedule Cross-Departmental Meetings
Another practical way to encourage communication is to invite one or two people from a different department to most of your meetings. Besides providing an opportunity for your team members to build rapport, this will also produce better solutions for the problems your department is facing. If you’re making a significant decision about a client, for example, someone from another department might have the answer.
Having other departments present in your meetings will give you a new perspective. You could have a marketing representative participate in your accounting meeting, expanding the marketer's skill set while providing you with a new angle for your accounting decisions.
Communicate Company-Wide Goals and Outcomes
Every team has specific goals to establish and accomplish. Improving interdepartmental communication and collaboration requires setting company-wide goals, outcomes, and initiatives that all your departments share.
You also must be fully transparent with employees on these goals and expectations. Besides boosting overall organizational efficiency, this will bolster trust among your team and ensure everyone remains on the same page and accountable. Additionally, transparency keeps each department aligned with the company’s short-term and long-term missions.
Set SOPs for Projects
Another strategy for enhancing communication and collaboration among teams is to establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all your projects. And be sure to clearly define each team member's tasks and designate a point of contact for each department. Doing so will prevent communication breakdowns and create a smooth workflow that inspires your teams to work more efficiently and build better relationships.
Demonstrate Departmental Interdependencies
Every company project involves multiple departments depending on each other for the desired outcome. Take the initiative to spell out these business interdependencies and show employees how their contributions influence the organization's overall success.
Boost team collaboration by establishing shared rewards and accountability, and use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress weekly. Moreover, try to transition to a project-focused model instead of a department structure to prevent a silo mentality.
Identify the Essential Team Members
One of the biggest challenges companies face with interdepartmental collaboration is that employees must focus so much on their work to stay on track with projects. The lack of space for cultivating intentional awareness often leads to communication gaps.
Your company must maintain well-defined goals and implement the necessary strategies for achieving them, but be sure to clearly communicate the specific employees that are needed at each stage. This includes identifying managers, collaborators, specialists, and those responsible for raising awareness.
Do Your Job
Perhaps the most powerful way to cultivate interdepartmental communication and collaboration is to practice what you preach . You don’t want to be a leader who tells people how to do their job without first taking care of your responsibilities.
Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts, and exceed expectations. If your company is implementing a new collaboration platform across departments, learn how to use it and take the time to guide others through the process. If the company decides to transform a business process, lead the way by clearly communicating the reasons and asking for feedback at all levels.
Part of your job will also be understanding the common challenges companies face with interdepartmental communication. Corporate politics, general dissatisfaction, lack of recognition , and poor salary are common culprits. Keep learning what you’re up against so that you can find solutions and implement strategies that boost collaboration.
Interdepartmental communication and collaboration are vital to running a well-oiled organization. Revisit your internal communication structure and find collaboration tools that equip your employees to work well together and complete projects.
Be intentional about scheduling cross-departmental meetings and activities. And explore the other tips above for building healthy relationships in the workplace. You’ll have a happier, more productive team and accomplish steeper goals than you thought possible.
Written by Elena Stewart, Guest Contributor
Image by fauxels