How many times have you heard employees say they wished internal communication were better? That valuable information should be shared rather than dispersed reactively? It’s an open item on every organization’s “to do” list as cross-departmental communication and collaboration are a vital aspect of any business and the employee-employer relationship.
Unforeseen benefits of properly flowing communication include strengthening the foundation of trust between departments, employees, and the management team, and improved productivity. Encouraging employees of different departments to communicate and collaborate with one another ensures any geographic gaps are minimized (all locations know what the others are doing and what the status of open items are) and that teams are on the same page.
Employees will always err on the side of wanting knowing more about the company’s operations, financials (stability), and goals in a transparent-like communication strategy, rather than only hearing operationally significant information, (e.g. layoffs, mergers, reorganization, etc.). In addition, while first understanding what information to share with employees, the second hurdle will be how the information is best delivered, and lastly you will want to gather feedback from employees.
Options for improving communication and collaboration are endless considering all of the different advancements to available technologies. For example, most businesses are equipped with email and the internet, which opens the avenue of instant messaging and posts to the company intranet. Technology aside, in-person communication avenues include town hall meetings, company-wide updates, and one-on-one meetings between employees and their supervisor(s).
For employers starting at the bottom rung of introducing communication improvements to their business, we recommend including these strategies:
• Focus the Teams. Meet with the team stakeholders and primary contributors from each of the departments looking to unite, who will be vocal and share their opinions about necessary communication and collaboration improvements. Use this time to get a pulse on what the teams are looking to share, what they hope to learn about the organization and goals, and what they need to be able to work together effectively and efficiently.
• Commit to Making a Change. With all of the feedback you’ve gained from team meetings, collaboration huddles, and one-on-one check-ins, it is up to you to not only get the department leaders to commit to making improvements but also ensure the right people are included and don’t feel left out. Some non-manager level employees may want to have a voice in improving the organization’s communication and cross-department collaboration strategy. The more involvement, the better! Cut down on frustrations on the back end by opening the opportunity to the people who want to see changes implemented company-wide.
• Foster a Collaborative Environment. Unite departments in a common goal. This is one of the best ways to break down any communication or social silos and, as a by-product, teams should also be able to have more effective and results-driven meetings and interactions. Encourage departments to be mindful of competing schedules, communication objectives, and comfort level spanning team members. Managers can offer opportunities for job shadowing or cross-training between employees or departments that interact frequently. Employees will leave the experience with a basic understanding of how the other team/department functions and a better perspective as to the larger picture of operations and organizational goals.
Making communication and collaboration a priority at your business with help to reinforce the importance of performance, productivity, and goal-oriented results through these channels to employees. Commitment to making improvements across the board in communication and cross-departmental collaboration will also have a positive impact on employee culture. Vensure Employer Services helps clients around the U.S. change the way our clients manage people, retain talent, accomplish goals, and improve company culture. The time to start is now! Contact Vensure to learn more.