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Improving Communication & Collaboration Across Your Organization

Warning signs to identify if your company is having communication issues and what to do

Erica LaCentra headshot
Insider
Erica LaCentra
Improving Comms

Everyone has heard the phrase communication is key, but this is especially true in organizations where each department is responsible for their own piece of the process, like in the mortgage industry. Especially when volume is high and deadlines are tight, it can be so easy for each department to put on their blinders, keep their heads down, and think only of the tasks at hand that they are responsible for. However, as we all know, a loan cannot go through the entire origination process smoothly unless all areas of a mortgage lending company or a mortgage brokerage are communicating efficiently and working in tandem to get that loan to the closing table and beyond.

Companies with siloed processes typically experience a lack of open communication across departments and little thought as to how their piece of the puzzle factors into the overall company vision meaning there is a greater likelihood of choppy processes, avoidable delays, and ultimately unhappy customers. The problem is many organizations don’t even realize they are working in silos until the cracks begin to show and customers and business begin suffering. So, what are some of the warning signs to identify if your company is having communication issues, and most importantly what can be done to improve communication throughout your entire organization before the damage is done?

 

Share Your Vision

Have you ever worked in a company where one department or certain employees seem to constantly receive all the accolades and recognition regardless of how much work others are doing to get to the finish line? It can be very easy for businesses to focus on who they view as the “money makers” but this mentality is extremely detrimental to the overall success of an organization.

That lack of recognition across an organization is likely to cause animosity and cause departments to fight to share the spotlight, leading to reduced communication across departments and a greater unwillingness to collaborate. This is particularly dangerous to growing organizations as new hires are likely to take cues from more seasoned colleagues, leading to a deeper divide in a company and employees focusing on their task at hand rather than how their work fits into the bigger picture and how their work affects other departments.

If this sounds familiar, you were likely working for a company that lacked vision, or that vision was never properly articulated to its employees. Having a lack of vision in an organization is one of the top reasons why siloed workflows start occurring and communication and collaboration don’t happen. When employees don’t have a common goal to work towards and understand where each department not only fits into the process but the importance of how each department interacts with each other, collaboration and interdepartmental communication simply don’t seem necessary even when this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Creating a vision and instilling the mentality that each department is critical to the organization’s success is one of the best ways to ensure departments don’t work in silos and are communicating and collaborating. Rather than focusing on individual goals for each department only and having those goals exist in a bubble, departments will develop their goals and objectives to benefit the organization. This often also allows organizations to not only recognize where bottlenecks are occurring, but it encourages departments to work together to figure out how each area can improve efficiencies to make the overall process more seamless and smoother. Working towards a common vision helps organizations look at the bigger picture and builds greater trust between departments because everyone is looking towards how to reach that goal rather than how their department can be in the spotlight.

 

Unite Your Teams Through Technology and Socialization

Especially with a shift post-COVID to remote work or hybrid work models, many companies have simply failed to acknowledge that employees don’t have as many opportunities to easily communicate with their fellow colleagues. A lack of appropriate technology that encourages or allows for easy collaboration can also be a huge pitfall for companies because employees simply may find it too difficult to accomplish it. While video meetings or company chat services like Teams or Slack may be in use, those tools probably only scratch the surface as to how departments can better interact with each other.

Organizations should be looking at digital collaboration tools to help unite departments whether they are remote or not, foster greater communication, and most importantly develop clear workflows that can give greater visibility across teams. Project management platforms, like Monday and Trello, can be a great place to start for companies that are just dipping their toes into digital collaboration tools. Tasks across departments can be clearly seen so there is no question as to where something like notes can be left along the way to better inform departments that may be picking a task up mid-process, and collaboration can usually happen in real-time to improve efficiencies and keep things moving. Being able to see what initiatives and projects are in process and providing greater transparency with tools like this can be key when teams cannot always easily collaborate in person.

In addition to adopting better technology, sometimes there really is no better solution than ensuring that cross-departmental interactions are happening. Joint department meetings, cross-departmental training and shadowing, and even good old fashion team-building events can be extremely beneficial to fostering a more cooperative workplace. Cross-departmental training and shadowing can provide new perspectives to improve efficiencies. It can also provide greater context as to how one department affects another and how departments can work together or make that interaction smoother. Encouraging these interactions leave lines of communication more open which will ultimately lead to greater collaboration.

 

Don’t Wait, Collaborate

Lack of communication and siloed workflows can be extremely detrimental to an organization’s success. That’s why whether your organization is big or small, you should constantly be encouraging greater communication and collaboration. Small changes, like what was mentioned above can have a huge impact such as creating more efficient workflows, reducing duplicated work, and creating a much more enjoyable customer experience. So, empower your employees to work together, and get people talking.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine November 2022 issue.
Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra

Erica LaCentra is Chief Marketing Officer for RCN Capital.

Published on
Oct 27, 2022
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