In order for a recruitment agency or in fact any company to operate smoothly and efficiently, it is vital that the different parts of the business all get along. Often there are frustrations between departments, particularly where processes overlap or one department’s work can affect or hinder another’s. From back office, compliance, sales and marketing or even IT, personalities aside, working in harmony is no easy feat. Just because the company is split into departments, it doesn’t mean they should be working separately and there certainly shouldn’t be any rivalry between departments or individuals within the business. Often employers can find employees building their own hierarchy or teams within the company and this can impact the wider team spirit. This is often caused by poor internal communication which can lead to frustration among employees and have an impact on your customer experience, company culture, employee retention, motivation and even productivity amongst your work force.
Communication and collaboration is of the utmost importance when it comes to working well together and it can make or break even the biggest of companies.
This recruitment blog post contains some of our top tips on how to improve your companies interdepartmental communication.
Educate Your Staff
Improving the communication between departments can be particularly challenging, especially when employees don’t realise how important it is to the business and your internal processes. Be sure to not only teach your staff how to work, but also ensure they understand how collaborative working and clear interdepartmental communication in the workplace can benefit them and the company. After all, communication is what we are trying to improve here right! An internal meeting focussed on your strategy and reasons behind improving communication will certainly do the trick and set a president for communication moving forward. Set out what you as an individual and business will be doing to improve things, as well as what you expect from senior members of staff, team leaders and other members of staff at both an individual and department level. Let them know of any immediate changes they can expect and open the floor up to suggestions and let your staff voice their opinions.
Organise team building activities
One of the most effective ways you can start to improve communication and collaboration between different departments and individuals, is by allowing them to get to know each other away from their day to day work. One great way of doing this is by organising some team building events, ideally offsite. There is a huge range of activities which vary from escape rooms, to raft building, to a game of rounders, to building a spaghetti and marshmallow tower so there’s something for everyone and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Be sure to select different people from different teams and for different activities, i.e. don’t put all you sales people together, that defeats the point. Ideally try and make up teams that have at least one individual from every department and with varying seniority. Try and avoid team leaders and maybe consider challenges that has different elements so roles and responsibilities can be assigned, think the apprentice but with less idiots. Don’t worry about closing the whole business for the day, these activities can be done by teams individually and this works well for things like time based challenges and because you have mixed your teams has little impact on the company.
Monthly staff newsletters
We’ve raved about the results of our monthly staff newsletter before and the benefits it has brought to our employees. It gives different teams an opportunity to inform the rest of the company on what they’ve been up to and any important news which everyone should know about. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways you can improve interdepartmental communication and is so simple and easy to do! Simply send an email to head of departments once a month for an update and gather the content, make it look pretty and send it out. Try and make it fun and not boring to read, you could mention customer acquisitions, new clients, numbers of placements, company records or even personal achievements by employees.
Your computer software or recruitment CRM can play a huge role in interdepartmental communication. Some of the best systems (*cough* itris 9) give users and recruitment agencies the ability to assign tasks to other users or allow notifications for certain tasks or processes once they are completed. In 2021 we released our Community Hub which gave recruiting and staffing professionals the ability to work collaboratively, within the software from any location. Recruiters can share candidates, jobs as well as what they have been up to on the weekend as well as look at the companies twitter feed. Business owners can also share important announcements via a separate feed to ensure everyone is aware of any important events or updates in real time. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the best recruitment software to hand, Microsoft Teams or Slack also offer team chats and collaborative work platforms. Any other software you can use for an internal content hub or can produce data driven information such as Powerboards can also be very effective at increasing awareness and productivity across the board.
Whenever we have a new employee join our company, we ensure they dedicate some time to familiarising themselves with every department. Each department head not only gives them an overview of their tasks and responsibilities, as well as personally introduce them to members of their team. They also highlight where their processes overlap what systems they use and the communication that is expected others in the business and at what points it is triggered. This allows them to get to know people elsewhere in the company on a personal level, but it can also give them more of an idea of how and when they’ll be communicating with them. If they can start building relationships with colleagues early on, it’ll make their peers seem more approachable if they have any questions or problems. When humans don’t understand something, they tend to treat that thing with suspicion, dislike or disdain.
Recognise and Reward
Hopefully with some of the above in place, you will see an improvement in communication and therefore your culture, individual as well as team performance, and the overall motivation and buzz around the office. Be sure to highlight good examples of communication, support it as much as possible as well as reward it. This doesn’t have to be a financial reward, just a simple recognition from a team leader or senior member of staff can encourage others to follow suit and crave the same recognition.