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Guest writer: Joe Lewis Jackson
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Strategies to Foster Good Interdepartmental Communication in Your Workplace
As the name suggests, interdepartmental communication is the process of sharing information across different teams in an organization. Reliable communication across teams provides various benefits, such as high productivity, minimal wastage of resources, good employee satisfaction levels, and much more. But, achieving the optimum level of interdepartmental communication requires a plan and consistent effort.
In this article, Easy Time Clock explores the best communication strategies businesses can follow and the common fit falls to be aware of.
Importance of Interdepartmental Communication
At any given time, your business will have numerous projects being managed by multiple teams. While they’ll have some separate objectives, at the end of the day, all projects need to have synergy to ensure business goals are met effectively and efficiently. Here is where interdepartmental communication comes into play and provides the following benefits:
- Improved Productivity: As reported by Orange Scrum, when all teams are on the same page, there is minimal scope for confusion and delays. This results in the timely completion of goals and optimum utilization of resources.
- High Employee Satisfaction: According to Desk Alert, good and timely communication results in employees having a clear idea regarding expectations and timelines. As a result, they can plan their work hours better and not have to depend on others to get work done, leading to high confidence and satisfaction levels.
Common Communication Pitfalls
Here’s a list of common communication pitfalls that businesses across industries are accustomed to facing:
- Low Employee Engagement: While managers serve as the driving force for good interdepartmental communication, employees need to actively contribute to the process as well. Low employee engagement leads to project delays and confusion. As suggested by Harvard Business School, an effective way to overcome this pitfall is to empower employees to become decision-makers and hold regular cross-team meetings.
- Inconsistent Communication: Communication in all teams needs to be regular and consistent. For instance, instead of simply holding a meeting at the start of a project and letting employees figure things out single-handedly, hold timely meetings to discuss progress, questions, and concerns.
Strategies to Improve Interdepartmental Communication
Creating a communication plan is the first and most important step toward achieving optimum communication and collaboration across teams. Your communication plan should include the following:
- List of teams working on the project.
- Point of contact from each team.
- A schedule of weekly meetings to be shared with the teams.
- Creating minutes for each meeting.
Additionally, here is a list of tools that all teams should be mandated to use:
- Messaging Tools: Tools like Slack should be used for all company-related communications. Each team should have its own channel and be active on the common channel as well.
- Project Management Tools: Asana is a great option as it provides a centralized dashboard to be used for creating projects, adding stakeholders, and assigning deadlines.
- Document Management System: Similarly, implement a centralized place for all document storage. The location could be anywhere safe, like a cloud drive or a shared and password-protected drive on your internal system. Regardless, use a stable and universally accessible file type, like a PDF.
- Video Conferencing Software: When it comes to holding cross-team calls, tools such as WebEx are the go-to option as it provides a smooth connection, encryption, and the functionality to record calls to be shared with stakeholders who couldn’t attend.
When it comes to projects of utmost importance, such as creating a pitch deck for investors, releasing an earnings statement, or a new product, interdepartmental communication and collaboration need to be on point. In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are a few more to implement:
- Assign SPOCs: A SPOC is the single person of contact through which all communications will flow. Each team working on the project should choose a SPOC to avoid communication delays.
- Use Collaborative Tools: As inputs will be required from numerous teams, it’s best to mandate the use of collaborative tools such as Google Docs, which can be edited, reviewed, and shared easily by everyone.
- Keep a Task List: Teams should be encouraged to use tools such as Trello to create daily task lists, which can be shared with all members. This results in contributors being on the same page and timely completion of the project.
Implement Process Mining
Process mining is an invaluable asset for businesses looking to refine interdepartmental communication. When you’re working with process mining, you’re able to visualize entire processes, as process mining lets organizations better identify overlapping activities, bottlenecks, and changes that need to be made to facilitate smoother internal communication.
This can drastically reduce the time spent troubleshooting and enable teams to quickly identify solutions and take decisive action while flattening hierarchies. Process mining also helps dispense with administrative duties, so leaders can put their full focus on their core tasks and achieve more efficient decisions.
Collaborate for Happy Team Members
Achieving strong interdepartmental communication is not a one-time activity. Rather, it involves constant effort from employees across the team. To make this process simpler, invest in collaborative tools that empower employees to make informed decisions and promptly share information with team members. You can also refine interdepartmental communication by implementing process mining.