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Tips to Help Business Owners Encourage Interdepartmental Collaboration

Companies have discovered the benefits of getting separate departments within a business to collaborate on a single project. If you nurture the team effort and create a safe space for your employees to express themselves, your business will thrive. Consider the following tips to help encourage interdepartmental collaboration.

Provide Your Team With the Tools

When you have staff that works in different departments or even different locations, you need the proper technology to allow them to collaborate. For example:

• Messaging apps provide them a space to communicate digitally when they are not face-to-face.

Project management programs allow you to assign tasks and give everyone access to the project's status.

• File editing platforms, such as Dropbox or G-Suite, allow real-time editing where employees can see who contributes what to the work.

New cloud-based tech appears often, streamlining the collaboration process and making it easier for employees to communicate.

Encourage Feedback

Encouraging employees to give constructive feedback creates a safe space that promotes innovative thinking. When employees feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of one another, they challenge each other to be more creative. As an employer, a creative environment is an asset to your company.

Foster an Environment of Open Communication

If you look at every opportunity as a multi-dimensional task that needs cross-team collaboration, then you create an environment for open communication. Experts say that when people from every department feel that their opinion is valuable and needed, the company culture will encourage teamwork until it becomes the everyday norm.

If you are concerned that departments are too divided, break down the cubicle walls and bring them closer together. You can make physical adjustments to the layout of a workspace that makes people feel more comfortable about collaborating. Steve Jobs used this technique at Apple. He put all departments in a single large space to encourage them to communicate with each other on projects.

Also, you can get company initiatives and activities ‘out there’ in many ways. Colorful and attractive pamphlets can foster excitement and create the necessary buzz to engage your employees. As a tip, use a free pamphlet maker that you can find online to make designing pamphlets and other materials an easy enough task.

Create a Common Goal

Create a common goal within the team by using a shared language that everyone collectively understands. You need a clear mission with defined roles for every team member, and explain those roles not just to the individual but to the entire team. If everyone understands each person's part in the overall purpose, you can collaborate together more effectively.

Be an Example

A good leader must do more than just delegate. You have to portray what you want from employees through your own actions. For example, if your goal is to foster a work environment of trust, avoid micromanaging your employees. Micromanagement hinders an employee's ability to reach their full potential and often negatively affects progress, productivity, engagement, and aptitude. You can be a strong leader and a member of the team at the same time.

Value Empathy and Kindness

You cannot force anyone to be empathetic. However, you can help your employees get to know one another better. Host team-building exercises that allow them to collaborate on a personal level. The more they know about one another, they will have more empathy and willingness to communicate when someone is struggling to complete a task or work as efficiently as they normally would.

Remember to reward your team when collaborative efforts are effective. When you acknowledge their hard work, you nurture the need to feel appreciated. As a result, you boost company morale and create a healthy work environment that promotes productivity.

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