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How to Connect Employees from Different Departments

6 Mins read

Every organization needs multiple departments working well to succeed. You need your marketers, your salespeople, your customer service team, and many more squads with the aces in their places. But while every department needs to function well by itself, your employees also need to know how to cross collaborate successfully and efficiently.

But why is this important, and how can you connect employees from different departments to ensure maximum productivity? Let’s answer both of these questions and more now.

Why Do You Need to Connect Employees from Different Departments?

Simply put, because it helps your company thrive in the competitive modern market.

Lots of medium to large-sized companies have different departments that handle distinct aspects of corporate operations. For example, you might have:

  • A marketing department, which handles advertising and bringing customers to your brand
  • A sales department, which handles converting leads into customers or selling physical products
  • A customer service department, which takes care of any customer complaints or which collects testimonials to improve your brand reputation
  • A management department, which handles all the big day-to-day decisions of the company
  • And more

Those different departments serve distinct functions. “In some cases, the employees can be so isolated from each other that they don’t know what other departments do or, in the worst cases, cause issues for the other departments by accident,” says Susan K. Shaffer, President of Pneuma Nitric Oxide. “It’s not uncommon for isolated departments to step on each other’s toes or accidentally cause long-term negative impacts for their companies.”

Kyle Clements, CEO of Quipli says, “Imagine a circumstance in which your marketing team comes up with an excellent campaign and slogan for a new product. There’s just one problem: the marketing team has misunderstood what the product can do and is in danger of misrepresenting that product in official company advertisements. If someone were to purchase the product under false pretenses, they might be angered when they discover that it doesn’t have a feature or perk they expected.”

This is just one example of why your employees need to communicate and collaborate frequently. You must help your employees connect from different departments if your brand is to operate as a cohesive, agile organization.

In addition, isolated employees who don’t connect with different departments may eventually feel more loyalty to their departments instead of you or the overall company. This makes them more vulnerable to poaching from other companies and less likely to feel loyalty to your brand in the long term.

Luckily, there are ways you can facilitate that connectivity as an executive or business owner.

Mandate a Shared Communication Platform

For starters, you should mandate that all your employees use one communication platform, such as a project management software app or a remote work communication platform like Slack. It doesn’t matter what platform you use; the core value is that all your employees use the same platform, so employees don’t have to download multiple apps and bounce between them all day long.

By mandating a shared communication platform, your business will see benefits like:

  • Increased communication efficiency between employees. Employees will be able to immediately send messages to each other through email or another communication platform without delay
  • Easier collaboration. If two employees need to exchange data or numbers, for instance, they can do so on the shared communication platform without having to learn two separate applications
  • A general sense of belonging and community. If all your employees use the same workplace software to communicate and collaborate, it’s easier for them to subconsciously think of each other as all being part of the same team

Note that these benefits are present even if your employees don’t meet each other face-to-face. “In fact, mandating a shared communication platform is more important if you have a hybrid or remote workplace where some or all of your employees work from home rather than working together in an office environment,” says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB Sports.

Cultivate a Shared Language

Similarly, you can connect employees from different departments by cultivating a shared workplace language. “If you need to discuss different KPIs or metrics, for instance, make sure your employees all use the same terms for those metrics,” says Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO and nurse practitioner at Skin Pharm.

By doing this, you’ll ensure that different department members aren’t confused and that everyone in your organization understands the same key aspects of products, services, company rules, etc. Cultivating a shared language can help, for instance, avoid the example above about a marketing team misunderstanding what a product does to the detriment of the company.

Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You says, “If you’re an executive, you can start this cultivation in many ways by using the appropriate terms and gently correcting employees who use inappropriate terms. Over time, everyone will grasp the correct ways to speak about company topics or products, and everyone will get on the same page.”

Encourage Cross Departmental Collaboration

As a leader or manager, it’s also your responsibility to encourage more cross-departmental collaboration. “Leaders are the ones who set the tone for the whole organization,” says Alex Novak, CEO of SLR. “Therefore, it’s up to them to make it clear that cross departmental collaboration is the name of the game, and not something optional that some teams can ignore.”

For example, have your sales and marketing teams work together to create a new advertising campaign. By having the sales team members input their opinions into the marketing materials, you’ll ensure that the marketing team doesn’t accidentally misrepresent the product or lead to other issues.

Similarly, you can have your sales team work with your manufacturing department (the department that physically makes the products the sales team sells). Once your sales team knows how the products are made, they’ll have a more in-depth understanding of those products and be able to sell them more authentically. 

More cross department collaboration is always beneficial, regardless of the departments or the exact situation at hand. If your team members are resistant to this idea at first, keep at it; eventually, they’ll see the benefits and start independently collaborating together.

Lead by Example

It’s up to you to lead by example with all of these strategies, of course. “The best way to connect employees from different departments is to walk between those departments, interacting with team leads and managers and praising employees from each,” says Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce Luggage Storage.

If you act like a mediator or cross departmental master, you’ll drive a similar behavior in supervisors beneath you and in your front-line employees. Don’t treat one department like it’s more important to the company or that its team members are superior, for instance.

Host Employee Get-Togethers

Nothing brings people at a company together more than after-work social hours. To that end, you should host employee get-togethers fairly frequently, at least once per quarter but ideally once per month.

If everyone works at the same office, for instance, you can host a quarterly dinner on a Friday evening. Lindsay Malu Kido, CEO of Empower Pleasure says, “Put all the tabs on the company card in the name of socialization and team bonding. As your employees interact with each other outside of strict workplace contexts, they’ll become friends and acquaintances, strengthening their collaboration efforts.”

The more your employees see each other as fellow people, the less they’ll see other departments as competitors or roadblocks. Not only does this help to connect employees from different departments, but it also increases employee loyalty to your company.

People are more likely to give 100% every day if they like the people they work with and if they think of their fellow employees as family members. They’re also less likely to jump ship for a competing organization, even if that competing company offers them a higher salary or other benefits.

What if your team is mostly or somewhat remote? No problem. “You can host employee get-togethers or social occasions using videoconferencing software,” says Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer of Paradigm Peptides. “Play online games together, have everyone make the same cocktail at home while Zoom streaming their progress, and come up with other ideas to ensure that everyone bonds over the Internet if they can’t do so in person.”

Celebrate Victories Together

Lastly, it’s your duty as a company owner or executive to celebrate victories from each department with everyone in the office. Don’t only celebrate the successes of your sales team, for instance. That just gives the sales team members inflated egos and makes employees from other departments less likely to collaborate with them.

If an employee does something great at your company, celebrate it and make sure everyone knows across the different departments. Be consistent in this attention and you’ll help to foster a unified, cohesive team across the departments throughout your organization. 

“In the end, you can connect employees from different departments by fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment. You’ll also help drive more cross departmental collaboration by being an effective leader and by celebrating victories from each department, not just one,” says Brian Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of ARENA CLUB.

Follow the tips above, and you’ll find that your employees become more tight knit, more efficient, and more collaborative than ever, all of which are major benefits to your business!

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DN News Desk is the editorial wing of Digital Nod, an award-winning digital PR & marketing agency. Committed to delivering timely and insightful news coverage of global events, DN News Desk's team of seasoned journalists and editors ensures that readers are well-informed about the latest developments across various domains. With a finger on the pulse of current affairs, DN News Desk strives to provide accurate, balanced, and thought-provoking articles that shed light on the ever-evolving global landscape. From breaking news to in-depth features, DN News Desk's contributions aim to empower readers with knowledge and perspectives that matter.
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