So, you and your team are great at collaborating, but what about when you have to start collaborating with a new department? Maybe you want to bring in environmental policy or standards? It can be tricky to keep your internal communications strategy running smoothly across different teams, but there are steps you can take to streamline them.
Tips for Effectively Communicating with Teams in Different Departments
Use the right team communication platform
Choosing the right team communication platform is the first step towards improving team collaboration in your business. Using an all-in-one team chat app and workspace, like Spike, makes a huge difference in productivity, especially when you have to communicate with team members in other departments.
It’s much easier to stay organized and keep track of important information when all your messages and notes are in one place, instead of being spread around in emails and various apps. Also, with team chat apps, you can create chat groups based on team, project, client, or whatever else makes sense.
So, let’s say you and your marketing team are collaborating with the graphic design department on a big client project. You can create a chat group for that project with key team members from each department to optimize your cross-team collaboration.
Everyone in the group can see what everyone else is talking about and working on, and all the messages are archived in one place where everyone can instantly review them. All you have to do is use the chat app’s built-in search and filtering features to look for key pieces of information. That way, everyone has access to the info they need to complete their tasks.
Get everyone on the same page
Once you’ve chosen a team communication platform for your cross-team collaboration, it’s important to make sure everyone in all departments is on the same page about how to communicate questions, requests, and updates.
For instance, maybe your immediate team members are all accustomed to giving you daily updates on their project tasks, but people in another department might do things differently. If you need team members in the new department you’re collaborating with to do things a certain way, communicate this clearly to them to ensure you’re all on the same page.
Encourage open, transparent communication
Nothing puts a wrench in team collaboration like a lack of communication, especially when you’re working with different internal teams. If people don’t communicate, it’s very hard to know how projects are progressing and if there are any delays or other issues you need to keep an eye on.
Once you start working together with a new department, encourage them to openly communicate with you and your team about how they’re doing and make a promise to do the same. This fosters a strong working relationship between departments and helps everyone in the organization understand how others work.
Use common language
Different departments use different jargon or technical terms and abbreviations that not everyone knows the definition of. In order to ensure clear cross-team communication, make sure everyone uses common-knowledge language.
If there are certain department-specific terms that you can’t avoid using, you could create a collaborative cheat sheet with the terms and their definitions. Whenever anyone uses an unfamiliar term, call it out and ask them to add it to the database, so everyone can learn it.
Ask for regular feedback (and listen to it!)
It’s very hard to improve cross-department collaboration and communication if you don’t get feedback about how it’s going so far. Ask your immediate team members and people on the other teams you collaborate with to give you feedback on how they think communication and processes are working. If there’s room for improvement, ask your colleagues to give you specific ideas for how to do so.
For example, if you’re working with the design department, they might have a different idea for how to give them design orders from what you’re currently doing. Listening to feedback and taking actions to improve workflows helps everyone work more efficiently and increases your business’s overall productivity.
Celebrate wins together
Working with new departments gives you and your team opportunities to get to know others in your company better and build stronger relationships. When you successfully complete a project with another team, celebrate the win together, no matter how big a role the other team had in it.
For instance, if your marketing team scored a big client after a presentation you gave with a video the graphic design department put together for you, invite their team out to lunch or happy hour. These small chances to celebrate together are great for team building and cultivating trust between departments.
The Bottom Line
Working with new departments for the first time doesn’t have to be awkward or complicated. By following the steps we outlined above, you can effectively communicate project needs and collaborate efficiently between teams and do amazing work together!
Just remember, it all starts with the right team communication app. From there, just try the tips we discussed in this article for smooth cross-team collaboration.