Practical Ways to Optimize Interdepartmental Communication and Collaboration

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"Essentially, it’s well worth your time to ensure your disparate organization teams are comfortable working with each other and getting along well. "

Communication and collaboration (C&C) is the secret sauce to success in the workplace. Teams who communicate effectively report a productivity increase of 25 percent. The lack of effective communication and collaboration, on the other hand, is the single main cause of project failures, reported 86 percent of employees. RingCentral notes that this costs billions of dollars every year.

Essentially, it’s well worth your time to ensure your disparate organization teams are comfortable working with each other and getting along well. This is easier said than done, since interdepartmental rivalries are commonplace and quite frequently unhealthy. Today, PM-Mastery discusses interdepartmental communication and collaboration (C&C ) with tips on why it’s important and strategies to improve it.

Common Roadblocks to Interdepartmental Collaboration

You may find interdepartmental C&C to be a challenge for several reasons:

Physical Separation

Departments are often separated by significant distances or boundaries. They may be located on different floors or even in different countries. This makes it harder for employees to talk to each other. Departments may not share problems, information, goals, or resources. If your teams work remotely, suggest that they spend a few hours or days each week in a coworking space, especially if several employees are in the same geographic location.

Individualism and High Work Pressure

In most companies, rewards and performance reviews are based on individual effort as opposed to collective team performance. That means employees emphasize self-reliance, especially in companies with an individualistic culture, as ToughNickel can confirm. Furthermore, workloads can be high, leaving employees little time to take on other responsibilities.

Conflict

Employees can and will be at loggerheads over the smallest of things. It can lead to distrust, disharmony, communication breakdowns, lack of motivation, and other issues. It can lead to problems forming between entire teams and departments.

Lack of Communication Protocols

Not all companies have internal communication protocols – the emphasis tends to be on communicating with external customers, clients, suppliers, and stakeholders. Many companies lack internal messaging software or may not have a policy about employee communications at all. Whatever communication happens may be in the form of informal conversations or calls. The lack of formal protocols can create material issues for a business’s financial management. Misunderstandings can lead to errors which cost the business time and money.

Tribalism and Corporate Politics

Departments are divided based on processes and attract people with a certain skill set, personality type, and educational background. Tribalism may be the result, with marketing being in conflict with sales or IT being seen as too “nerdy” to fit in.

 Strategies that Improve C&C

Here are some ways you can improve C&C in your company:

Lead with Positive, Open Communication

Creating a culture of open communication is fundamental to leading a motivated and cohesive team. To foster this environment, it’s crucial to maintain an optimistic attitude, which serves as the foundation for a positive workplace. Encourage your staff at every opportunity, focusing on constructive feedback and reinforcement rather than criticism, to instill a strong belief that success is achievable.

While it’s important to set high standards and be demanding in terms of performance and outcomes, ensure that your approach is supportive rather than demeaning. By balancing these elements, you create an atmosphere where employees feel valued, understood, and empowered to share their ideas and concerns openly, driving collective success and innovation.

Use Apps

Technology is a godsend if you want to maximize C&C in your company. You can use office utility, messaging, project management, timekeeping, bookkeeping, and other software solutions to get your teams to work together. For instance, Google Docs has collaborative functions like annotations for in-document notes that everyone can see. Trello offers task management features for real-time collaboration. Slack is an excellent messaging tool that can keep everyone on the same page.

Highlight Information with Flyers

Using flyers internally within your business is an effective way to highlight and remind staff of important information, updates, or company events. By leveraging an online flyer maker, you gain access to thousands of professionally designed templates that can be customized to fit the specific needs of your message.

These tools simplify the process of how to make flyers, allowing you to easily add text, change fonts or colors, and even incorporate your own photos to create visually appealing and informative materials. Whether it’s for promoting internal initiatives, reinforcing company values, or providing essential updates, custom flyers can play a key role in ensuring your team stays informed and engaged.

Culture of C&C

 If you want to make C&C a defining feature of your company, make it a part of your company culture. Encourage leaders to communicate and collaborate, for instance, which will encourage employees to do the same. Offer inter-departmental socialization events to break the ice.

Enhanced C&C Offer Multiple Benefits     

Excellent C&C will confer many advantages:

  • Performance: you can expect employees to be more efficient, tasks to be done faster, and the work to be of a higher standard.
  • Customer responsiveness: your employees will be more responsive to customer needs, with less waiting times and faster closing.
  • Job satisfaction: a culture where camaraderie is encouraged will lead to heightened job satisfaction in your employees.
  • Growth: with free information sharing and collaboration, you can expect your employees to learn more and your company to grow faster.

Present Reports to Leadership or Investors Collaboratively

When you’re presenting reports to leadership or investors, you need to collect data from multiple departments. Traditionally, this data is put into spreadsheets, with a separate spreadsheet being prepared by every department. Needless to say, this is a time-consuming and not-always-accurate process. Some strategies to prepare reports collaboratively are using apps, coming up with the content of the report as a group, and assigning sections of the report to individuals.

 Embrace C&C Processes

You can expect better communication and collaboration by making changes to your internal operations and business structure. Automation and apps will go a long way toward optimizing communications and bringing your departments closer together.