Picture your last company party. Where were the IT people? Who were they talking to? What about the sales team? They were most likely hanging out with department friends, or perhaps they were awkwardly chatting with their bosses. The fact is, shoving people from various departments together in a social setting to forge relationships and improve communication just doesn’t work. People from different departments usually aren’t close friends — they’re colleagues. However, through an ongoing company project, you can promote mutual respect and open communication between departments and resolve conflict. So ditch the lame icebreakers, and use your company blog to build real connections among employees.
Identify Pain Points
Before you can foster collaboration through the company blog, you need to pinpoint the barriers that create tension between departments:
The Blame Game
Hostility from past slip-ups can easily build between departments. When one department is constantly blaming the other for missing deadlines or losing customers, it’s hard to get things done.
Not everyone likes to interact in the same way. While IT may prefer a quick email, creative departments might work better in person. When people from one department don’t consider preferred communication methods, they may come off as cold and terse when addressing members of another.
Working with other departments can lead to an ego play. Sales, for example, won’t take no for an answer, so working with finance — a department infamous for saying no — produces natural conflict.
Competitiveness disrupts collaboration. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they’re playing for the same team. Considering the complexity of these issues, it’s no wonder internal discord is often pushed to the bottom of the priority list under more pressing concerns such as budgets and day-to-day operations. Luckily, solutions for these problems don’t have to be wildly expensive, complicated, or time consuming. A simple company blog can help break down barriers and promote open communication and collaboration.
Blog for Peace
Business leaders often focus on a blog’s external benefits, which are important. Blogs draw customers and potential clients to your site, engage them, and offer something of value that’s uniquely yours. However, blogs also strengthen interdepartmental relationships. Joining forces to produce an essential but low-stakes project helps build internal connections and elicit collective pride and ownership. Here are six ways you can harness a company blog to resolve or avoid interdepartmental problems:
1. Communicate Among Departments
People from different departments often struggle to find common ground in conversation. While work lunches and social gatherings essentially force employees to interact, conversation comes naturally when both teams are working toward a shared goal.
2. Foster Teamwork and Understanding
A blog encourages understanding within and among departments without draining resources. By blogging about specific challenges each department faces, employees can educate your company’s audience and inform other departments.
3. Make It a Resource Library
A well-thought-out blog can be a valuable reference point for employees to quickly find information about their own department, as well as others. When employees can learn about other departments, they start to understand and respect the value each one brings to the company.
4. Create a Non-Threatening Environment
Working on the blog gets people to gather around a seemingly harmless task. When budgets or schedules are tight, people are on high alert and quick to point fingers. Because the blog doesn’t affect anyone’s job status, it helps people relax and open up. Then, when high-stakes projects arise, teams can work together more easily.
5. Promote Equality, and Destroy Favoritism
Negative feelings often develop between departments if one group doesn’t receive equal attention or funding. Allowing every department to contribute to the blog means everyone’s voice is heard.
6. Diversify Your Communication Channels
Not everyone wants to resolve issues through email, chats, or even face-to-face conversations. A company blog offers yet another way for departments to communicate. Getting your employees to buy in to a blog can be a challenge, but it’s a valuable asset for your company and creates a fun opportunity for people to collaborate across departments. When employees start working together and actually interacting, they’ll understand what other departments bring to the table and create a helpful resource in the process. What are you waiting for? Get sales and finance in the same room, and start blogging. You’ll be amazed by the results.