Let’s be honest; we all have asked ourselves this question: how to improve collaboration between departments? A lot of us can relate to this equation because communication plays a vital role almost everywhere.
Despite that, some companies fail to perform better because they lack basic communication strategies at the departmental level.
To that end, a company that doesn’t value synergies cannot stand-out from the competition. The secret to high productivity is no secret at all, it is common sense.
Different departments working to accomplish different goals will always stay a step behind the organization, with all departments working towards a common goal.
Companies with an outstanding value chain system, where teams collaborate to produce the end product or service, have several advantages.
Needless to say, project managers are in the best position to provide the necessary push to collaborative efforts. They must encourage the project team to get insights from all the concerned departments to make better decisions.
What is The Importance of Collaboration Between Departments?
To make you understand the importance of collaboration between departments, we will start by exhibiting what will happen if there is no collaboration.
Regardless of the size or structure, what do you need to complete projects as an organization? People. More specifically, people from various departments.
The majority of the projects fail due to non-collaborative practices between these departments. For instance, a common issue is that the departments start competing with one another.
Another reason is poor communication. Departments may not share correct information timely. This has a negative cascading effect on the entire project.
Sounds terrible, right? That is why you need to improve collaboration between departments right away.
Here are some of the steps that you can follow to improve collaboration between departments:
1. Follow Organizational Goal
It is the first and foremost requirement for an organization to be successful. The operations will be in high flow if all the departments have a single goal to focus on.
The organizational goal is the stepping stone of achieving an efficient value chain system throughout the structure.
Managers should act as mentors to try to bridge the gap between employees’ aspirations and the organization’s objectives.
A workforce that works as a single unit can go above and beyond the expectations.
2. Consistent Communications
Effective communication is the key to success.
The 21st century has given birth to fast-paced work environments. There is a plethora of information that gets exchanged every single day.
I would be straight up lying if I said that communication is not what makes or breaks a company. Authentic and timely information must be ensured throughout the hierarchy. Departments cannot work together if the aforementioned requirement is missing from the firm.
In a nutshell, you cannot hope to improve collaboration between departments without streamlining the communication processes.
Check out the best collaboration tools:
3. Start from the Top
Yes, that is the way to go when it comes to promoting collaboration in a company. Leaders play an integral role in it. So, if you have some influential leaders at your disposal, now is the time to get the best out of them!
Successful leaders have a knack for bringing the entire workforce on a single page. If you are wondering how to improve collaboration between departments, turn towards these individuals ASAP.
Leaders can act as a catalyst to the whole process of collaboration between departments by doing the following:
- To allow departments to learn about each other.
- To figure out how to achieve synergies by pooling resources from various departments.
- By pointing out the obstacles that may be faced in achieving excellent collaboration between the teams
4. Develop a Common Language
Taking on from the importance of communication, you NEED to develop a common language across the organization. That means jargons and technical terms are a big no-no.
Encourage employees from a different department to interact inside and outside the workplace to get a better understanding of each other’s work.
Moreover, developing an easily understandable language saves the company a lot of time. Every employee from every department is clear about the dos and don’ts of the work.
It may take some effort, but trust me, it is worth it!
5. Trust Is Essential to Growth | Don’t Forget That
Trust is not only imperative for personal relationships but also for professional collaborations. You cannot hope to work with a team or individual if there is no trust.
It is even more important for long term collaborations as the teams will be spending a considerable amount of time together.
As a manager, your job is to promote trust between all the concerned departments. It’s a two-way street – a single department’s effort won’t cut it.
Departments who trust each other, perform a lot better than those who don’t.
6. Team Building Activities
Practicality – the one thing that you need to focus on to improve collaboration between departments.
There is a lot of empirical evidence that suggests that work-related activities are more beneficial than taking a verbal approach as it is said, action speaks louder than words.
Team building activities and exercises are a great help in improving collaboration between departments. Employees can learn more from a single day of practical activity than a week of attending verbal training.
How to collaborate across departments within your business? Check out the best apps:
7. Job Rotation Exercises
Adam McKinnon from Merck KGaA, demonstrated a case study involving a practical approach with text analytics for facilitating job rotation at #NordicPeopleAnalyticsSummit last year.#NPASummit #NPASummit2020 #NPA #NPAS #PeopleAnalytics #HRanalytics https://t.co/xFcPR9SpPH
— Data Innovation Summit (@DISummit2030) July 2, 2020
Job rotation is not a new word for the people over at HR. It is a great practice to get the teams to know their co-workers.
This technique has been around for a while and has proved to be an absolute hit with the managers.
This rotational exercise is exigent to let the employees have a ‘taste’ of how other departments work. The result is a higher collaborative environment all over the workplace.
8. Use of Tech Tools
If you hope to survive and thrive in the market today, technology is your best friend. Automation is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity.
This seems like a perfect moment to coin the famous meme ‘modern problems require modern solutions’
9. Promote a Healthy Environment
Simply put, if you nail this, you will not have to wonder how to improve collaboration between departments again.
Workers spend most of their conscious time in the workplace. Therefore, the environment at the office impacts the productivity of the workforce greatly.
It may not seem to be a significant factor in improving collaboration between departments. Some might say that the workplace environment is the same for every department. Well, it is not true.
No matter how perfect the planning is, human nature is always a factor that must be considered while jotting down a plan. It is one thing to be the ‘hero’ of your team but a different thing to work with other departments.
Unless there is a healthy, friendly environment that encourages ideas and opinions, people will not speak openly. The management must make sure that all departments are warm and welcoming to the notion of collaboration.
10. Celebrate Wins, But Don’t Forget Setbacks
Criticism is important to make sure the mistakes are not repeated. Or to help the project ‘get back on track.’
However, celebrating ‘wins’ is as essential. Every milestone achieved calls for a celebration. It’s a great way to boost the morale of the whole team.
Celebrations are opportunities for the team to interact outside the routine workplace environment. Most of the employees get to know more about their colleagues on a single outing than a week on work.
It doesn’t have to be a grand celebration, the gesture counts. It could be as simple as a celebratory lunch or dinner with the project team. You will see the result of this small gesture the next day when the team returns to work.
It is a game-changer.
11. Constructive Feedback Plays a Vital Role Because…
There are a lot of ways to improve collaboration between departments. But few elements are compulsory for the process of collaboration to work well.
Feedback is one of them.
Unfortunately, the more vital this component is, the more the project managers overlook it.
Constructive feedback is a sure way to streamline the collaborative efforts of the departments. Consider making it a part of the organizational culture.
Over to you!
Effective collaboration is easier said than done. If done right, it is a sure way to achieve remarkable results as an organization.
Having collaborative departments can be a tremendous competitive advantage for any firm. The whole concept of value chain depends on how well the teams within a company work towards a common goal.
Now that you know the path to improving collaboration between departments make sure your plans are well executed.
Don’t forget to use the comment section below for your insightful feedback.