Most mid- to large-sized companies are organized into different departments. This makes it easy for companies to keep various operations separate and handled by professionals skilled in each particular area. For example, most companies that sell a product or service have a customer service department that handles customer issues and concerns. In order for a business to be successful, it must implement and maintain effective interdepartmental communication.
Interdepartmental communication is the process through which various departments send and receive messages between themselves. For the communication to be effective, one department must send a clear and comprehensive message to another department, and the message must be clearly and completely understood. If it's not, there will be problems. Ineffective communication can lead to confusion, lack of morale and frustration among employees and departments.
Effective interdepartmental communication ensures that all departments are on the same page as work situations change. One department may make a change that affects another department. If the first department doesn’t communicate those changes to the other department, there can be confusion, frustration and anger. Without effective interdepartmental communication, a company can end up in chaos, with a lack of motivation among employees and an absence of trust and respect between departments.
Oral communication is often carried out between departmental leaders via the phone, video conferencing and one-on-one meetings. Written communications are commonly seen interdepartmentally in the form of emails and memos. Corporate communication, in which the overall leadership of the company sends a message--whether by newsletter, email or other method--is another type of interdepartmental communication.
A needs assessment is an objective overview of the effectiveness of interdepartmental communication. It's usually performed by communications specialists and provides a detailed outline of weaknesses and strengths in areas of communication between departments. A communications specialist may interview members of the organization, provide surveys and determine satisfaction among employees and areas that need to be improved. Communication is a continual process of improving.
Effective interdepartmental communication creates a vibrant and trusting corporate culture. Employees feel empowered and able to rely on the decisions of other departments. Organizational leaders trust other departmental leaders and the customer has faith in the company’s word and reputation. Effective interdepartmental communication makes it possible for people to stay informed, make changes when and where they're necessary, and feel comfortable confronting issues when they arise between departments. There's no resentment or unwillingness to deal with members of other departments.