Effective communication between departments can mean the difference between completing stellar work and falling short of objectives. In fact, interdepartmental communication is key to increasing your company’s performance levels.
But communication is tricky and not at all straightforward. Some people spend their entire careers studying communication theories, obstacles, and ways to improve how we talk to each other. That’s because even in a place where everyone uses the same language, different backgrounds, cultures, and personal context can change how we interact or view scenarios.
The Importance of Communicating Workflow
Understanding workflow means understanding the tasks at hand. When your employees know how work is done at your company, they’ll have a better understanding of what’s expected of them and what they need to do to complete their tasks.
People within each department need to know what’s expected of them, and that is only possible when your entire company is communicating with each other.
How does your company currently establish and share workflow? How do employees learn about it? Are employees only aware of the small part they complete, or do they get to see the entire picture?
If you’re only sharing with employees the small aspect of workflow that’s relevant to them, that’s going to greatly impact the quality of your work overall. When employees don’t understand the overall context of their work, they’re more likely to encounter communication barriers and create more work for the rest of your team.
Instead of focusing on aspects relevant to what they do, help employees understand the greater picture of your company workflow. When they can see the whole picture, they’ll have a greater understanding of what’s expected and how they can contribute to your company’s overall mission.When employees don’t have the greater context in which their work will function, they can’t produce effective work. Click To Tweet
Common Communication Obstacles
So if communication is so important, what are the biggest obstacles to communicating effectively? What prevents team members from understanding each other?
Here are the top 5 communication obstacles you’re likely to face in your company.
Lack of Interest
For most of your employees, work isn’t their entire lives. They have other things clamoring for their attention. They might be worried about family at home, or they might be thinking about what they’re going to do after work. If your employees aren’t interested in work, they’re less likely to connect with coworkers about work-related tasks.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, those things can take up all of their attention and focus. However, other times, work simply isn’t interesting to them. They might have a list of things they’d rather be doing. While it isn’t the company’s job to make work “fun” they should still have a way to garner interest in what the company is doing as a whole.
Some people have different understandings of the same word. That can mean that things aren’t as straightforward as you might think. People also have different values, which means that one thing that’s crucial to a manager just isn’t important to another member of their team.
When team members are coming from different viewpoints, it can be difficult to get everyone to share priorities. Finding ways to help your team understand the importance of company values can help your department stay on the same page.
People often only pay attention to what’s important to them. That means they often only hear what they want to hear, even if that’s not what was said.
If your workers go into certain situations expecting to hear or experience something, they’re more likely to color the situation to have something like that happen. When people expect something different to happen and it doesn’t happen, it can create frustration, disappointment, or confusion.
Lack of Context
When people don’t understand the overall context of tasks, projects, and meetings, they’re going to have a hard time understanding what’s going on and what they need to do.
When people aren’t very familiar with each other, they might not understand things like sarcasm, irony, or humor. Someone who likes semantics might not get why another coworker keeps things short. This can lead to frustration and difficulty getting on the same page.
How EscapeEd Can Help Your Company Overcome Those Obstacles
Now that you know what the biggest communication obstacles are, how can you overcome them?
EscapeEd is an interactive escape room technology that can help you tackle communication obstacles and improve departmental performance. EscapeEd provides 3 customizable challenges that can support 6-8 people.
EscapeEd is great for naturally facilitating communication between coworkers. For example, one of our challenge blocks is all about decoding words that are hidden behind symbols. If one person on their own tried to do it, they would have way too much work to do. They would have to constantly switch screens on their phone to go between the decoding aide, the screen with the words, and the screen where you type in the answer.
However, when they work with other people, you can have at least one person doing each of those things. That makes solving the puzzle more efficient and less prone to mistakes.
In this technology, if you get a word wrong or solve a word that isn’t related to your theme, you’ll have to start over. In the decoding example, the decoding table will reset and you’ll have to start again.
People like solving puzzles and thinking of clever ways to solve problems. When you bring escape rooms to work, you’re creating ways for people to interact with your company that are enjoyable and novel. Putting company-related content into the escape rooms means your workers will interact with what you’re trying to do in your business. Therefore, it will help address the disinterest issue at your workplace.
As mentioned above, these challenges work better when you collaborate with your team. In some cases, the challenges are not doable without collaboration. Unlike many awkward team-building exercises, this is a more natural way to collaborate.
Facilitate Group Communication
When people work together, they have to learn to communicate in ways everyone understands. If they aren’t able to communicate well, then the team will miss the puzzle and have to start over.
Escape rooms are a great way to encourage group communication. They’ll help naturally show who is a leader and who follows. They’ll also show who refuses to cooperate, or who just tries to get by on the work of others.
Build Workplace Relationships
When people work together to solve problems, they naturally start to form relationships. There’s something about bonding over puzzles that brings people together.
When you bring teams together, you can put people together from different departments. This gives them exposure to different aspects of the company in ways they wouldn’t otherwise get.
Communication is the backbone of your company. Proper communication can help you streamline workflows and task management, while communication blocks can tank your company. Consider using EscapeEd to help you identify communication obstacles and how to overcome them.