A Guide to Cross-departmental Collaboration

Categories: Recruitment Advice, Trends and Learning

Working in multi-departmental teams takes thoughtful planning and strategy. The key is learning how to best collaborate with the different resources, departments, and coworkers you encounter. Cross-departmental collaboration can put a lot of new demands on the person who is coordinating and managing these relationships. Still, it’s essential that they can handle the need to work across organizational boundaries. This article serves as a guide on how to work effectively across departments in a multi-departmental team environment.

1. Educate Your Teams

The first thing to do is to encourage cross-departmental team members to learn and understand the other department’s various processes, procedures, policies, and duties. They need to be fully aware of the other department’s roles, goals, and responsibilities. This information will help them better perform their duties while functioning in their cross-departmental roles. The value of these roles and departments is lost entirely when understanding and education are absent. Education also offers the potential benefit of a more experienced team which may lead to better decisions and results with more effective execution.

2. Setup a Creative Collaboration Workspace

A physical space for collaboration that crosses departmental lines must be available for both teams to access quickly. The cross-departmental teams must be able to meet to share ideas and collaborate as needed. This physical space should be filled with the proper materials, furniture, and technology that help to promote a creative atmosphere and a productive working environment. Furthermore, the workspace should still be divided into areas with distinct identities and functions. For example, the space can be divided into regions that reflect each team’s operations and culture. Each department’s space could have its unique color scheme, signage, and photos.

Not all collaborative workspaces are physical. Professional services automation software is a great tool to help organize a cross-departmental team’s workflow when a physical space is not available or needed. Installing such software for cross-departmental teams can support more efficient tracking and sharing of documents. It creates a digital organizational space that is easy to access.

3. Establish Communication Best Practices

Collaboration across departmental lines should establish the best practices for communication. Since you’ll have the opportunity to work with different people, people must communicate respectfully and clearly. If a cross-departmental collaboration is successful, it will help to promote better relationships between your teams. The communication should focus on always keeping the teams in the loop.

The best practice for communication is ensuring that the teams are fully informed of the information being shared. Communication should also focus on keeping your internal participants informed on issues and decisions that have a cross-departmental impact on the team.

4. Lead by Example

The best way to help promote a successful cross-departmental collaboration is by showing the members of your different departments how to work together and effectively in their tasks. The best practice is to coordinate with each other across departmental lines regularly. The cross-departmental collaboration is more likely to be successful when all department heads are active participants and are vested in seeing it work. Leading by example can mean that each departmental leader must be willing to offer input when required, accept feedback and ideas from others, and be open to helping one another. They should also acknowledge that they are responsible for being accessible and approachable to the cross-departmental team members. They will also have to be willing and available to attend team meetings and make time regularly for these teams.

5. Reward Success

As you work towards your goal of successfully coordinated cross-departmental collaboration, you’ll want to reward and recognize team members who are doing well. Success must be measured across departmental lines, so everyone is on board with the achievements. The reward or recognition should be based on the performance of your cross-departmental team members and how they contribute to the team’s Success. It would help if you always considered what factors are essential to contributors and worked on creating a culture that shows appreciation for their efforts.


In conclusion, cross-departmental collaboration is built on teamwork that encourages collaboration and a unified goal. Each department should have a vested interest in the success of the organization. The cross-departmental team members should be encouraged and rewarded for their contributions just as they would if working independently.