Hiring the right people can make all the difference in a company. But when it comes to collaboration between individuals and departments, things get tricky. Luckily, these strategies from Workast can enhance your workplace communication and make your business more effective.
Why Work (Better) Together?
Though each department has its strengths, unity is a requirement when it comes to achieving organizational goals. But even with teams run (and populated) by dedicated professionals run into challenges with communication and collaboration.
A solid workforce management strategy is crucial for growing a team that works well together, no matter how many departments or branches are involved.
Tips for Interdepartmental Coms
If improving interdepartmental communication and collaboration is on your organization's to-do list, these tips may prove priceless.
Depending on your industry, terminology could vary widely between departments. The finance department may speak a bit different language than the customer service team, and those jargon differences can cause confusion. Think about what you can standardize or translate between departments and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Agree on Priorities and Procedures
Any functional organization needs a handbook for operations, but you'll need to factor in the various dynamics and needs in each department. Thought Exchange explains that creating company-wide alignment keeps everyone tuned in, even as they work on separate elements of your product or service. Develop policies and procedures as a team (not in a vacuum) and get staff buy-in before implementing any radical updates.
Implement Business Process Management
Many departments waste a lot of quality time on small, time consuming tasks. Remove that burden from them by implementing business process management tools and automation processes. This is a good option to consider because it will free up more time for departments to develop relationships with one another and collaborate on more significant projects.
Make Use of Meeting Time
Though meetings can be helpful for both team-building and getting key decisions made, too many meetings can cause disruption in the workday, notes BBC. In fact, many companies find that meeting duration and frequency can be cut down significantly — while still getting things done.
It's a simple communication tip that can work wonders: when people feel comfortable asking questions, they're more likely to ask for clarity rather than muddle through. Clear communication is always the goal, and asking for feedback when sharing ideas or giving instructions helps hone the delivery.
Encourage your teams to use a free tool to provide questions and comments on digital documents. It’s always better to write for an actual audience, so when team members draft up an important document, have them save it as a PDF and share it with other colleagues. They can ask questions, add comments, and leave virtual sticky notes on the document to ensure everything is clear before formalizing the document.
Common Communication Issues
Even with the entire team's buy-in, difficulties can arise with communication between departments. Be sure to consider potential pitfalls and find workarounds that work for your organization. For example, if your company is composed of diverse individuals, cultural differences could impact communication. Prioritize effective communication that addresses those differences before problems arise.
Another possible complication is a too-casual communication environment, specifically in online channels. Grammarly suggests that, if your team uses chat apps, create guidelines to keep discussions focused and professional.
Apps to Improve Interdepartmental Collaboration
While communication is key, connecting remotely presents unique challenges. There are apps that support collaboration, whether your team is down the hall or in another time zone. Workast is a great option for teams already using Slack but who could use some project management help. Members can assign tasks, run meetings, and streamline processes directly through this add on.
Sharing Google Docs among teams allows for in-document annotation and even a document-specific chat. Trello provides project management features in real-time, and tools like Miro let you create mind maps, charts, and diagrams that leave nothing to interpretation.
Keep in mind that overdoing it on the technology could create its own challenges, though. Offering ample opportunities for your teams to connect outside of documents and presentations can encourage communication and reduce department divides.
Streamline Messages to Stakeholders
Though the members of various departmental teams do the heavy lifting, the buy-in of key stakeholders (including leadership or investors) is a deciding factor for many business outcomes.
When it's time to present reports to executive leadership, focusing on facts and figures is an ideal way to bridge gaps. Graphics, visual representations, and illustrations of the main takeaways and decision points help reinforce big ideas.
Though big presentations can be daunting, interdepartmental participation unites teams for a single cause and facilitates positive business outcomes.
Provide the Tools to Work Together
There's no way to build a flawless organizational structure that eliminates all communication issues. But building a collaborative environment forges stronger inter-departmental teams that can do more, more efficiently. By implementing business process management tools and project management apps, your team will be on its way to stronger communication practices in no time.