Last week we looked at how to improve morale through a business culture and how healthy competition can go a long way to motivating your team.
This week we’re looking at how to help different departments in your business work together to solve problems.
It can be healthy and productive to encourage different departments to work together on problems. Have you ever heard your staff complain that others don’t understand their job role, or how much they must do? Or operations staff complain that the sales team haven’t properly set the foundation with the client for what they will provide?
Encouraging collaboration between departments is a fantastic way to reduce this. Staff will learn more from each other, be more understanding of the roles other people in the business have, and how they can help each other.
It also helps avoid office ‘heroism’- where only one employee in a business or department knows how to fix a certain type of problem. Avoiding this helps protect your business’ security and reduces risk- if your hero leaves the business suddenly, where will you be?
For example, we’d recommend you discourage having an ‘IT hero’- one person who solves all IT issues. Instead, consider offering training so that many staff are able to provide this service.
An example situation
If you provide a service and your staff are split between sales & operations, encourage the two to solve challenges, or help each other with their work. Breaking this divide can lead to many benefits:
- Increased appreciation for each other
- A better beginning to long term relationships, when sales staff understand more about the products they sell
- Higher client retention rates
- Better service for clients
- Happier staff
How to encourage departments to collaborate
Set challenges for your staff, in which they must work together. Consider your product & service, and the ways each department overlaps. If work or clients are passed between the departments, how can you integrate this process and involve both?
Here at Liberonet, we frequently create integration challenges to bring sales, marketing and development staff together. It began as a teambuilding task, but we now encourage this collaboration all the time. Everyone has great ideas, no matter their role- and we often found some of the best design suggestions coming from sales staff, marketing staff able to consider user experience and colour choices, and developers able to help with sales. Let your team be creative, and you’ll be amazed what they produce, and the new respect they’ll have for each other!