10 Tips on How to Improve Cross Team Communication

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10 Tips on How to Improve Cross-Team Communication

Posted on November 20, 2017 by Kristin Proctor

Your business can only run smoothly if you’ve set and upheld principles of good communication across teams. Imagine the disaster that could occur if the kitchen staff didn’t tell the servers that they’ve run out of a marinade that’s a particular customer favorite. Think of the preventable issues that might happen if there is a misunderstanding between your reception staff and managers about your spa’s holiday hours.

Clear and effective cross-team communication is essential. Below, we’ll look at several things you can do to make sure everyone’s on the same page about matters that are crucial to your
establishment, regardless of its size or scope.

Want to make your team communication more efficient? Learn more about how Crew can help you!

1. Define Roles and Responsibilities

It’s crucial for employees to understand what their roles are and the responsibilities that fall within each position. Besides outlining those specifics in a job description, discuss them during team meetings and talk about how certain people are best suited to take care of certain things. For example, a restaurant hostess could ensure the waitstaff know that a larger than expected number of people have booked tables for a particular date, which may necessitate the manager requesting extra shift coverage.

2. Pick a Centralized Communication Platform

Communications between team members can quickly break down and become chaotic if workers use various methods to stay in touch. Maybe some employees chat with each other about upcoming shifts on Facebook Messenger but others don’t even use or share their email addresses. Using various communication platforms means that only some colleagues get informed while others miss out. If that happens, misunderstandings could result and disrupt the workday.

Choose a single way to communicate with all your teams at once. The Crew app is an excellent solution because it works on any smartphone. It sends messages to the people who need the information and informs them all instantly. Because Crew is so easy to use and distributes content in a readily accessible way, it saves time while improving transparency.

3. Enforce Standards for Swapping Shifts

Allowing your employees to swap shifts is an effective way to have consistently better coverage with less work on your behalf. However, make sure to come up with an easily understood process workers should go through to indicate shift changes.

Because the Crew app makes team schedules available on everyone’s smartphones at all times, it’s easier to see the shifts that require extra coverage. Users can depend on the app to communicate with each other, too. If someone needs coverage for a shift, he or she can send a message to everyone, thereby distributing a timely and relevant request. Then, colleagues can check their availability and pitch in when possible.

4. Give Rewards for Communication Compliance

When employees abide by the rules you set for better cross-team communication, they deserve recognition. By using the Crew app, you can give encouragement, say thanks, or otherwise tell employees they’re doing well. Otherwise, consider starting an Employee of the Month program that offers perks like a prime parking space or flexible work hours. You can also give deserving employees a guaranteed weekend day off. Doing those things regularly should help improve morale.

5. Plan Regular Meetings

It’s hard for employees to keep track of need-to-know information, especially if they’ve already got a lot of things going on. Decide to get in the habit of holding regular meetings, use the time to bring up the most pertinent matters, and get feedback from your team.

Requesting people to give input might illuminate some surprising shortcomings. For example, the stockroom team at a retail store might bring up that it’d be easier if sales floor team members immediately gave details about product shortages or depleted supplies so the stockers could respond and help get the shelves replenished before customers complain.

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6. Explain Mission and Goals

When employees come to work, they want to know they’re doing more than just earning income. It’s important for you to inform them of how they can directly support a workplace mission and goals by emphasizing improved cross-team communication.

It’s important to have a mission and goals for each team, plus make sure that team members understand the missions and goals that other teams have. Doing that isn’t easy, but it’s even harder to communicate the mission and goals of a project across teams. Drive home the point that smooth communications across teams results in less confusion and makes objectives get accomplished faster.

7. Be Cognizant of Cross-Cultural Communication Differences

If you lead a multicultural team, make sure you’re aware of the the communication differences that inevitably exist between people from certain places. In some countries, residents may adopt very submissive attitudes while at work and not talk about occupational problems to their superiors despite a growing amount of unhappiness. In other cases, individuals may be used to talking fast or using slang that could be confusing to team members from other cultural backgrounds. There are also numerous nonverbal communication practices that relate to respective cultures. They include things like eye contact, touch, and gestures.

Show openness and convey that you want people to speak up if they notice you’ve said or done something that could unintentionally offend people from other cultures. Try your best to be sensitive to collective communication variations while simultaneously encouraging positive changes that facilitate understanding for everyone.

8. Encourage Cross-Training Within Departments

Perhaps you’re interested in creating a cross-functional team that includes members who can nimbly work in different departments to compensate for staff shortages. Cross-training is also useful for helping teams better understand the daily duties of a position, as well as the goals other teams are working towards. Then, people can better work together and find connection points.

Think about encouraging people to get trained in different departments via rotating job shadowing. That kind of program allows for one-time trainings that last for no more than a couple hours per week. That amount of time let’s workers learn new things while still performing their normal jobs.

This approach not only gives participants access to actionable tips, but helps them understand that even if there are differences between departmental roles, many similarities exist, too. The recognition of that common ground could lead to more relatable conversations between workers from different areas.

9. Help Teams Get Connected on a Personal Level

Ensure you also make workers feel well equipped to communicate with each other due to established trust in each other. Before starting a big project, you could plan a casual meetup beforehand that allow colleagues to get coffee or dinner with each other. If you’re putting a team event together, make sure there are group tasks that help people recognize each other’s characteristics and strengths.

Icebreaker games can also work well for banishing nervousness before a project’s first meeting. They tend to highlight how, even if people begin a project not knowing much about one another, commonalities almost always exist.

When people build trust on a personal level, the benefits carry over into work projects. In turn, group efforts have a higher likelihood of success.

10. Be Observant

One way to recognize cross-team communication shortcomings is to become more observant. Tune into the conversations around you and watch how people interact with teammates. When you notice something amiss, give feedback quickly and privately, so people can know how to get better at communicating across departments.

Achieving better cross-team communication is an ongoing process. But, you can notice clear and meaningful results by putting the tips above into action. Because the Crew app facilitates team communications through employee smartphones, it enables you to distribute relevant information across teams or to a specific one via a user-friendly platform.

Crew helps to improve communications and saves time.
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