How well do you know your workplace? Even with the advent of all different manners of workplace communication, from email to zoom, employees feel more disconnected than ever.
The best way to alleviate this loneliness is to help your employees create a community within their work environment. Introducing different teams within your organization to each other – even if they don’t always work together – is a surefire way to improve your company’s culture. With cross-team matching, you can smash your company’s silos, create a culture of learning and make work a better place to be.
Greater learning opportunities
At first glance, cross-team matching between two different departments might seem pointless – after all, why bother setting up yet another meeting when your employees are already pressed for time. However, cross-team matching is a great learning opportunity for your employees, that can increase your employee engagement and employee retention.
By cross-team matching, you can set up career development opportunities and encourage learning and development in an organic way that doesn’t require hiring a third party or stretching human resources too thin.
For example, an engineer might wonder what they would have to say to a person in sales. They might not really see each other as teammates, but rather two people who happen to work at the same company. Since their day-to-day is so different, this engineer thinks, what can the salesperson tell me that would improve my work?
This kind of thinking can be shortsighted. Both parties have so many new skills to learn from one another, and they are absolutely on the same team. In terms of competencies that they can learn from each other, the engineer can learn how to present effectively, negotiation tactics, communication skills, and a plethora of other interpersonal skills. The salesperson, on the other hand, can learn to run demos, manage customer expectations, explain products in layman’s terms without the techno-babble, and so much more.
This is just a simple example, but imagine how effective this socialization strategy can be across multiple teams on multiple levels. It doesn’t have to just be tech and non-tech people. You can connect different branches of the company, whether that be between New York and Los Angeles or Singapore and Tokyo. For global companies, start language-learning buddy programs or encourage learning about the other cultures and markets.
By encouraging these mentoring partnerships across teams, you are encouraging a culture of learning and development. When employees are offered all these professional development opportunities, it communicates that your company is dedicated to investing mentoring resources into their employees, which proves to increase employee retention and inclusion, according to a 7 year-long study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
While structure in a company is undeniably valuable, it’s important to recognize when this structure becomes constricting. An organizational silo is another word for a system that separates employees, such as departments or sections. While silos play an important role in keeping a company running, it’s also vital for employees to recognize they are all team members.
When silos go awry, employees in different sections start to see other departments as enemies or rivals competing for budgets and other resources. The consequences range from unhealthy work environments to intra-department turf wars and even lower retention rates.
The best way to smash these silos is to emphasize a common goal and improve communications, according to Salesforce.com. With cross-team matching, managers can encourage teams that might be at odds to talk out their differences or just have them socialize. Cross-team matching can promote inclusivity and friendliness in daily action. Just the simple act of grabbing coffee or having a 15-minute check-in can encourage employees to see each other as team members, rather than as enemies.
Silos are good for structure, but not so much for socialization; when managers open lines of communications across departments, it reminds employees that they’re all on the same team. Connecting team members across departments help employees, especially new hires feel integrated into a team on both a personal and professional level.
Onboarding and mentoring programs
Cross-team matching can also be a great way to implement mentorship programs while also developing leadership skills among employees.
According to RecruiterBox, millennials value mission-driven and collaborative work environments. Furthermore, they believe that mentorship plays an important role in determining the quality of their experience at a company.
It’s not just young people who believe that mentoring is important. According to Guider, companies see greater retention rates, higher employee engagement, and greater employee satisfaction.
With workplace mentoring, both mentors and mentees have a greater sense of ownership in the company. Because mentors are tasked with such an important role in the development of their mentees, they become stakeholders in their mentees‘ career development. By the same token, mentees both look up to their new role models and feel that someone is there to listen to them.
And finally, mentoring programs are a great way to develop the competencies of the program participants. The experience of mentorship is like a leadership development course on the fast track, as high-quality effective mentoring requires quite a lot out of mentors. Mentors need to learn problem-solving, improve their communication skills and learn how to give constructive feedback.
For mentors and mentees alike, the mentoring experience is a great way for employees to feel more connected to their workplace.
Ready to start matching your teams? LEAD makes it easy!
This is also where LEAD, the company culture app, can help. Not only can LEAD.bot help you introduce individual employees to each other, but it can also match entire teams together. With LEAD for Microsoft Teams, you can use the cross-team matching feature to have entire channels of people intermingle.
Start by downloading the LEAD app for Microsoft Teams. Then add LEAD.bot to the two Teams you want to match – make sure you’re adding the bot to Teams and not to two different channels. You can add LEAD to different Teams by searching for LEAD.bot in apps, then adding it to whichever Team you would like. Rinse and repeat for any other Teams you would like.
Once LEAD.bot is in the Teams, type in “dashboard” to LEAD.bot to pull up more advanced settings. Once in your dashboard, go to Matching Teams (a matching team is any team where LEAD.bot was installed) and add a new Cross Matching configuration. From there, follow the on-screen instructions.
For example, if you want to set up a mentorship program, you would add all the mentors to one team and the mentees to another. Then add LEAD.bot to both teams, and access the dashboard. From there, you can select the mentor and mentees channel, customize when they meet, and voila! Your mentorship program was set up with just a few clicks.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, check out our faq at lead.app or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.