Communication is key to the success of any organization. The challenge is often that there are different groups within organizations that have more or less ability to communicate with one another.
For example, two coworkers in the marketing team are going to communicate more frequently (and hopefully more effectively) than the marketing team communicates with the finance department.
Here are a few ways to improve interdepartmental communication:
- Avoid silos: It’s natural to develop specialized teams but make sure they don’t turn into completely isolated silos without outside interaction.
- Make them interact: Find ways to force different teams to work together from time to time. You don’t need to invent reasons; there are probably plenty of opportunities for collaboration.
- Hold weekly leadership meetings: Getting the leaders of departments together is a great way to encourage greater communication among their teams.
- Make it contextual: Help your individual teams see where they fit within the broader organization.
- Set companywide, high-level goals: Set goals that can’t be achieved by one team alone, but need to be achieved collaboratively across departments.
- Form cross-departmental teams: Set up teams comprised of members of different departments.
- Hire someone to act as a bridge: It doesn’t hurt to have a designated liaison whose primary purpose is to facilitate cross-department cooperation.
- Use general channels: Utilize technology to help different teams more effectively interact.
- Create clubs: Social groups not focused on work activities can help create social bonds between members of different departments.
- Throw social events: Similarly, one-off events from time to time can have the same effect.
- Set up quarterly retreats: Isolating different groups together at a retreat can help accelerate communication and socialization through pure necessity.
- Hold team lunches: People love free food. It’s a great enticement to get people together who might otherwise not interact.
- De-compartmentalize workshops: Promote cross-department meetings as opportunities to learn from one another.
- Schedule facetime—literally and figuratively: Conference calls don’t build the same kinds of relationships as in-person communication or even video conferencing.
It’s key for different departments to work together effectively, and communication is crucial in this regard. The larger and more specialized your organization gets, the more difficult that interdepartmental communication can become.