7 Ways to Improve Interdepartmental Communication
Introduction to Interdepartmental Communication
Organizations that have multiple branches or sectors will oftentimes depend on effective interdepartmental communication to ensure all workflows are connected. Regularly collaborating and sharing pertinent information with other departments will also improve efficiency in the workplace.
What is Interdepartmental Communication?
Interdepartmental communication is when a business's departments communicate with each other. They may share information about shared projects, adjustments to inventory, marketing campaigns, and sale projects. Essentially, any matter that may affect more than one department is communicated thoroughly.
Also known as cross-departmental communication, interdepartmental communication is often conducted through emails, newsletters, or meetings. Having an effective communication system across departments in an organization is imperative because it guarantees all teams are informed. In turn, this will enhance overall performance and provide other benefits, such as the following.
- Better Customer Service - When the marketing team tells the sales department of a new promotion, the sales representatives will make sure the customer gets the deal. Once a sale is made, the finance team will be informed and will process the transactions; therefore, ensuring that the customer gets the goods they want.
- Collaboration - Interdepartmental communication will drive all teams in an organization to work together to achieve shared goals
- Eliminate Conflicts - Transparent communication will build trust among teams. Additionally, since all parties are informed of key business information, there will be less room for error and inefficiency.
7 Tips to Improve Interdepartmental Communication
According to statistics, 86% of respondents in a study said that lack of collaboration and communication caused failures in the workplace. Organizations can prevent this by implementing these best practices for improving interdepartmental communications.
1. Build Relationships and Trust
Team members need to build strong relationships with people from other departments. This will foster trust between the teams and allow them to work together effectively. They can do this by having lunch together or by taking part in activities after work.
Management teams can promote interdepartmental communication by organizing company-wide events where employees can talk to different colleagues. For example, holiday parties, seasonal events, team building programs, and celebrations will encourage personnel to get to know people from other departments.
2. Have Regular Meetings
Employees should meet with other teams regularly to discuss new information and how each party can help one another. A monthly meeting can be scheduled at a convenient time, for example, so all staff in multiple departments can gather.
In the case of a marketing and sales department meeting, managers should consider asking questions, such as
- How many leads does the marketing team need in order for the sales team to hit its sales targets?
- Are there any adjustments that need to be made to marketing campaigns to improve sales conversions?
- What can sales representatives do to promote marketing campaigns and promotions?
3. Create Shared Goals
Staff members should utilize their interdepartmental meetings to establish goals and action items for each team. Therefore, employees can leave the meeting knowing exactly how they can help their colleagues.
4. Avoid Specialized Language or Jargon
Every sector will have its own specialized language that employees from other departments will not be able to understand. When communicating with other teams, these terminologies should be avoided to prevent confusion and to avert creating a divide between departments.
When working with multiple teams, employees should either explain certain terms or use familiar language that everyone can understand. This will also boost employee engagement since all personnel will know what is going on.
5. Utilize Communication Tools
In order for all departments to communicate, there need to be effective tools that employees can utilize. For example, there should be a conference room where team members can congregate without disturbing or interrupting other employees.
In the instance that teams cannot attend in-person meetings regularly, the organization should offer digital tools like company emails, online chats, or video conferencing platforms.
6. Promote Business Goals
Competition between staff members can often occur, in which the employee will try to work towards personal achievements. This can result in a lack of communication because the employee will only collaborate if it helps their personal cause.
To prevent this, department managers should train employees about business goals and coach them into considering how the overall company can improve. It is important to demonstrate that teamwork is valuable and that every employee will thrive as long as the entire company works together.
7. Redesign the Office Space
Having a welcoming and open office space can encourage employees to collaborate and talk to other staff members. Organization executives should consider developing a spatial design that makes it accessible for teams to work together.
For example, removing barriers that divide departments or having multiple teams work on the same floor will help promote inclusivity. Common areas, such as cafeterias, mailrooms, and coffee bars can also be created. Since people will likely visit these areas throughout the day, natural meetings and conversations can occur.