We've joined the company to achieve the same goal, so what can we do to help each other work better together? Let's make a list of some specific examples for each other to learn from. Write your idea as a comment and I’ll add some to this post mentioning your name.
1. Onboarding/induction: people often form special bonds/friendships with others who join the company at the same time or are part of the same onboarding experience. So try and design things so that people in Engineering and non-Engineering teams are part of the same cycle. If they're not due to join the company at the same time, schedule onboarding sessions/workshops led by people from different departments to help everyone understand what each team does and how they contribute to achieving the company's mission.
2. Form cross-functional teams. People from Engineering, Sales, Post-Sales, Marketing etc. work together on a specific challenge. A particularly challenging project/time. Get people working towards something they really care about, giving the feeling that we’ll all pull together and play to our strengths to achieve something we'd be really proud of. It might be responding to a crisis point, working on a specific project or customer account, or as part of a cross-company hackday (a day in which people form teams and have the permission and time to work together to redesign something or create something new).
3. Work-shadowing/Pairing: From time to time invite someone from a different team to shadow (or even be more involved) a team meeting or piece of work. For example have Engineers involved in Sales calls, and Sales people in Product/Engineering meetings/projects.
4. Rotation through teams: Extend the previous idea so that people do cycles of one-to-four weeks working in each department. A smaller version of this is having everyone spend a week working in the Customer Support team.
5. Activities where the Department you're part of is irrelevant. Some things that are relatively easy and may seem trivial actually have the most impact in helping form bonds across teams. For example, having a mixed team entering a local Softball league, having lunch in one kitchen-area/restaurant together, Pool tables, Ping Pong tournaments... they really can help friendships form. Employee networks could help with this too, people self-organising around topics that matter to them. The idea that if people build better personal relationships, we'll develop better professional relationships.
6. Help people get to know each other as people, rather than roles/titles/departments. For example, inviting people to do 5-15 minute flash talks during lunch-times/company-meetings about something ‘non-work-related’ that they’re really interested in.
7. Hold conversations/sessions to help people 'start from within'. Gaining an insight into what people mean by 'company culture'. Developing self-awareness of our own, and other people's, styles, biases, and preferences, and what might be causing difference/tension.
8. Recognising that difference and tension may actually be healthy and positive. People are different. Diversity of preferences, experience, styles, habits, opinion, strengths, and so much more. And while there may be tension, could the overall benefit actually be greater. What can we do to help this be positive? Do we have sense of working towards a common goal and appreciate each other's strengths in helping us get there? Do we trust one another to be able to speak up about how we're feeling and potential opportunities to improve? Do we have the systems and processes in place to hep us work through difference without leading to really damaging conflict or paralysis of progress?
Get In Touch