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How to boost cross-department collaboration

A recent survey by recruitment specialist Robert Half shows that 39% of chief financial officers believe the biggest challenge when working with other departments is learning to interact with a variety of personalities.

Given a choice of responses, those surveyed said the biggest challenges are:
Learning to interact with a variety of personalities: 39%
Managing stress arising from crisis situations: 22%
Prioritising conflicting deadlines throughout the company: 19%
Conveying financial information in nonfinancial terms: 19%

In response to the findings, Robert half put together the following five tips for improving cross-department collaboration.

1 Build bridges. The person you call out publicly in a budget meeting could be the one you need to sign off on an expense request next week. Instead of burning bridges, try to understand pressures your colleagues may be facing in their own jobs. This can give you greater insight into their approach and help you enhance rapport.

2 Make sure everyone has a voice. Meet frequently with team members and be sure to ask less vocal colleagues for their opinions so everyone has a chance to chime in. Also get to know employees in various departments so it’s easier to work together in the future.

3 Don’t put off the inevitable. Avoiding confrontation doesn’t address the root of a problem or help to foster collaboration. Take the time to peacefully resolve work conflicts and listen as much as you talk during these conversations.

4 Skip the silo mentality. Companies that readily share information across departments tend to see greater efficiencies and higher staff morale. Providing others with insight into processes also helps them understand the time or resources needed for various cross-department initiatives.

5 Put yourself out there. Spend time outside the office with colleagues to strengthen relationships at work. Chat at company gatherings or invite coworkers from other departments to lunch to get to know them better.