No matter how big or small your team is and whether you are heading a co-located or remote team, keeping everyone on the same page can be an obvious challenge. The success of any company depends on effective team communications with either internal staff members or external parties like clients and business stakeholders.
Cross-team communication has become even more crucial with the expanding adoption of digital communication following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even as most businesses embrace remote working, appropriate strategies must be implemented to streamline communication within the digital workplace. Otherwise, a company might face a challenge in getting the most value from digital communication tools. That said, here are a few ways to improve communication in your workplace.
Take a Comprehensive View of How Different Teams Interact
Before providing a solution to a problem, the first step is to identify where the problem lies. Think about the current methodologies, handovers, and how processes are designed. Ask members of different teams to share feedback on how they collaborate and what they think should be improved.
Evaluate thoroughly if you have more communication tools than needed. Having different communications apps for different teams might be a red flag, and you may have to consolidate them where necessary. Since every department plays a vital role in the success of your business, they need a shared vision to empower and unite them to do their best work.
Strengthen Your Leadership Capabilities
Strong leadership is key to getting things moving in the right direction. Firstly, assign one member of each team or department the responsibility of taking charge of cross-functional collaborative efforts.
To start with, create policies and procedures that each team will follow as they carry out cross-team collaborations. The right policies and procedures will enable leaders and their departments to understand what is expected of them. Team leaders can therefore engage with other team leaders to figure out the best way forward.
Develop a Shared Vision
Different departments need shared goals for their collective efforts and a vision of what their efforts will enable the company to become. A joint purpose drives collaboration and strengthens your team’s dedication to the vision. Always ensure your teams have the same end in mind when working on their assigned tasks.
By merely focusing on the task ahead rather than larger shared goals, their efforts to collaborate may fall short. Having the same vision keeps your teams tightly knit and develops joint trust in the organization. As everyone works to achieve a common goal, collaborating becomes easier.
Develop Purposeful Cross-Team Projects to Create a Sense of Belonging
When the team understands the importance of projects and how the results can benefit them as well as the organization, they are more likely to engage more effectively. To succeed, staff members should be allowed to build collaborative relationships freely. Individual team members should also be allowed to decide how they would prefer to work with others while having a pre-developed self-management process in place.
Invest in the Right Collaborative Tools and Technology
Using the wrong tools makes communication harder than it needs to be. As a company head, you can avoid endless confusing emails, unnecessary file versions, and lost documents by acquiring collaborative tools that foster collaboration in the workspace. There are plenty of tools that promise to improve teamwork and task management.
However, some of these tools are less reliable than they sound. Instead, go for tools with more communication features, less complexity, and better collaborative capabilities. For instance, a good project management tool includes chat software used across different departments in the organization for a faster exchange of information.
Aside from a conducive space to work and manage projects, teams need an environment that enables them to communicate quickly, share project timelines, and monitor the progress of other team members.
Encourage Creativity and Openness
Every great leader knows that not all projects become successes instantly. There will always be bottlenecks, growing pains, and unmet targets. Nevertheless, that’s all part of the learning process. Giving your teams much-needed resources and time encourages them to explore ideas and experiment with different methods and techniques. Of course, some may fail.
However, having patience with members of your various teams will eventually pay off. Some of the important pieces of equipment are tools that will enable them to get creative and brainstorm to cover all bases. Going with the first and loudest idea is always tempting, but it may not always be the best option.
Document and Track to Encourage Accountability
There are times when collaboration gets in the way of accountability. This may create the illusion of team members having little responsibility for project outcomes, thereby affecting productivity. To avoid this, there should be a centralized system where project goals and key performance indicators are registered, owners are assigned, and tasks are listed. This could be as simple as a Google spreadsheet or a project management platform.
Maintaining a Good Level Of Trust
Collaboration is less likely to succeed when team members lack trust in one another. Lack of trust discourages communication and collaboration among team members from different departments. Building trust has never been more vital than in the current digital workplace. Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, organizational changes and the resultant layoffs have led to worry among employees. This is where team leaders need to intervene and build strong connections with employees.
Providing Supportive Leadership to Teams Under Pressure
Cross-team cooperation needs a considerate leader who helps the team work in synergy. Having a leader who does not support his team amidst cross-functional team communication hurdles may result in project failure.
A good leader encourages employees to continuously work as a team, whether externally or internally, no matter the pressure they may face. They will also maintain a clear vision and objectives to deliver on projects even as technologies and means of communication keep evolving daily. Therefore, they should be ready to adjust and review their strategies when necessary.
Celebrate Success With Your Teams
When your cross-functional team achieves the objective that you laid out, don’t forget to make their success public. Share their achievement with the rest of the company and let others celebrate their success. Recognition boosts your employees’ engagement and morale.
It’s even more vital now that most employees are working remotely. Members of staff working from home may feel disconnected and miss interactions. Recognizing their efforts may be just what they need to keep going and work harder to contribute to your company’s success.
Learn From Mistakes
Even after celebrating your project successes, learning from mistakes enables your company to reach even higher heights. No leader likes mistakes, yet everyone is bound to make them. Great leaders know how to turn mistakes into learning opportunities. Providing your team members with a safe space to learn and improve allows them to work independently and become more self-driven.
It’s also vital to encourage insights and feedback after the successful completion of every project. Even employees of the lowest rank can have valuable input and propositions regarding how processes can be optimized and improved.
Benefits of Cross-Functional Collaboration
If knowledge is power, sharing knowledge empowers staff members to give their best in the workplace. Communications streamlining provides access to new information and resources. They can therefore use this knowledge in their project decision-making when developing company products, providing support, or making sales. Opening up the communication channel ensures employees benefit from the wealth of information spread throughout the organization.
Employee Growth and Engagement
Working as part of a team may present social challenges you do not face working alone. However, challenges push you from your comfort zone and help you develop social skills to grow in your areas of expertise. Teamwork leads to improved performance in many aspects of operations. When employee engagement is encouraged, productivity improves. This is mainly due to the fact that members are working alongside trusted colleagues.
Human beings gravitate toward happier surroundings. At the same time, we all want to feel part of something meaningful. This is why cross-team communications are so effective in businesses. It encourages an organizational culture where colleagues work harmoniously to contribute to the company’s success. In a space where employees prefer a healthier working environment over petty politics, cross-team communications propel them to give their best.
The traditional supervisor used to communicate directly with the manager. However, communications streamlining has enabled everyone to collaborate equally, no matter their rank or role in the company. Working with colleagues from different departments gives team leaders a clear view of different management styles, so they know what works and what doesn’t.
Are You Struggling to Streamline Your Cross-Team Communications?
The future of work is defined by cross-team communication, and it’s even more important to monitor how teams collaborate, especially when working across departments. Any cross-team collaboration can only be successful when all stakeholders are happy and content by the end of the project and the set goals have been achieved with minimal risks.
Great communication is key to any project. No matter the team you manage, collaboration can be improved to benefit your organization. While there are hurdles associated with cross-team communication, the shift to using the right project management tools will make it much easier for your teams to work together.
If you are struggling with cross-functional coordination and project management, worry no more. Heycollab is a project management tool built for teams like yours. With a free 14-day trial you can try out all the cool features. To get started visit https://heycollab.com/