In the past two years, we have consistently noted that questions in our Employee Engagement Surveys related to cross-departmental communication are being rated less positively, regardless of the industry. A quick review of our data from 2010 – 2011 indicates that approximately 75% of all our survey clients experience challenges effectively communicating across team and department lines. For these clients, questions related to cross-departmental communication were among the lowest in the entire survey, and for many, ranked as the lowest, or second lowest.
In talking to managers and employees after we have conducted their survey, we ask for examples of where cross-departmental communication has been compromised. Many state that it is the stress of the economy, resulting in employees doing more with fewer people on the team. Employees talk about working harder, faster, and focusing solely on their own survival. Every case in which we ask for specifics, it’s apparent that teams are not trying to undermine the success of another team by withholding information they need to be successful. Rather, the issue lies in employees struggling to keep up with their job responsibilities and lacking the time to properly communicate with employees in other departments.