By Amanda Winstead
Interdepartmental communication is integral to the success of all projects. Without clear communication between teams, your productivity will stall and the risk of human error will skyrocket.
As a project manager, you can improve interdepartmental communication by fostering a culture of trust and togetherness. A great team culture will encourage folks to share their resources, verbalize their needs, and relish the opportunity to check in with one another.
The Importance of Communication
Managers report that unclear or ineffective communication accounts for 86% of failures in the workplace. A further 92% of employees say that their performance would improve if they were
given more opportunities to communicate and 74% believe they are missing out on important information about the business.
As a project manager, you can improve efficiency and alleviate employee stress by creating a culture of communication and collaboration. This is particularly important if you work in a high-stress industry, as companies with effective communication are 50% more likely to report below-average turnover.
Clear communication can lead to higher engagement rates at work, too. Everyone wants to feel valued and interdepartmental communication ensures that those who work hard are recognized for their achievements. Over time, improved morale and greater coordination can bolster your bottom line and improve your overall ROI.
Show that you value interdepartmental communication by weaving communication tasks into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. These tasks shouldn’t be overly taxing for you or your staff but should instill a sense of togetherness. Choose a few simple tasks like:
● Regularly highlight the achievements of staff members on shared communication channels
● Plan weekly cross-department tasks that are low-stakes and high-reward
● Keep everyone in the loop with monthly newsletter-style emails
Folks will appreciate the transparency and will be more likely to reach out to other employees if they regularly see their name pop up via shout-outs and in newsletters.
Bear in mind that cross-departmental tasks should be functional and should not detract from your employee’s daily workflow. Folks will resent interdepartmental projects that feel forced and will not appreciate unnecessary tasks that don’t relate to their key performance indicators. To remedy this, set goals that require collaboration and foster a sense of shared responsibility.
Audit your communication platforms on a bi-annual basis. You may find that your current practices are undermining your team’s ability to connect and collaborate. Trial run new messaging platforms and experiment with new channels. If your team doesn’t take to the new channel after a few weeks, feel free to scrap it and keep looking for alternatives.
Survey your teams every quarter to discover bottlenecks and communication inefficiencies. You might, for example, discover that new instant messaging software is causing request for information (RFI) issues further down the line. Lean on automated solutions to simplify complex communications issues like slow RFI responses. This will speed up your operational efficiency, improve internal communication, and give you more time to focus on important tasks.
Automation is a great way to speed up communication. However, most staff don’t want to talk to bots and have unique communication styles that impact the way they interact with other employees.
Account for differences by learning about your staff and the way they communicate. For example, if you have a multigenerational workforce, adapting your communication style can help establish respect, fight generational stereotypes, and help leverage generational differences.
Don’t try to second-guess staff’s preferred communication techniques — ask them. Your staff may want to conform to your style, even if it’s to their detriment. Instead, give them space to tell you how they want to connect with others and give them opportunities to work with folks in other departments who have the same approach
Learn About Trends
As a project manager, it’s your job to stay up to date on current trends and develop your own skills. Fortunately, as a senior employee, you have the scope to set your own schedule and can drop in on departments when you need to learn a little more.
Try not to be disruptive when dropping in on other teams. Instead, observe folks going about their daily tasks and set aside time for questions.
For example, if you spend the day with the marketing team, take notes during the workday and set aside time to ask marketing managers about the hottest trends in graphic design like AI-generated art and 3D design. This gives you a chance to soundboard potential interdepartmental activities without derailing your team’s workflow.
Effective interdepartmental communication is key during long-running projects. Clear communication can improve morale and create a sense of togetherness and trust in the workplace. Collaborative tasks can improve your ROI, too, as folks will spend less time waiting for RFI requests and more time working together.
Improve interdepartmental communication by evaluating your current operations regularly. Give staff a chance to provide feedback and set aside time to learn more about the current trends in every department.