How To Build Stronger Connections Beyond Your Department
Businesses are composed of departments and teams within them, but sometimes it can feel like we are all very separated. Even though most of us work in the same building, it is all too easy to find yourself in a space where you only talk to the same group of people. While there is nothing wrong with bonding with the employees of your department, a company with stronger interdepartmental connections is able to run more smoothly. Even better, networking can often lead to better work opportunities that would have never come up otherwise. In this article, we will discuss how to relate to your coworkers in other departments more effectively.
Be More Social
One easy way to really put yourself out there and meet new people is simply to be more social. Socializing is a great and relaxing way to make connections and learn more about people beyond your one department. Whether it is chatting over coffee, striking up a conversation in the elevator, or even greeting someone when you are buying snacks, you can grow and establish bonds with new people.
Introduce Yourself To Unfamiliar Faces In Meetings
So many of us are known to simply avoid contact with people we don’t know. Instead of extending a greeting, we might opt for a small smile or just outright standing in awkward silence. When we do this, we miss an opportunity. When you find yourself faced with new faces in a meeting, take the time to greet them and introduce yourself. Learn names and faces so that you can talk with them more comfortably later on. It is a great way to put yourself out there and start building bonds.
Talk With Department Leads About Staff Lunches
Depending on the nature of your work, you might be able to benefit from staff lunches. Whether departments bring together their teams to mix and mingle, or you simply ask a leader from another department to pair you with someone from their team for a lunch and learn opportunity, these connections can be invaluable. It is a great way to meet someone new, learn about their work and the department, and make a new friend at the same time.
Reach Out To New Names In An Email Thread If Appropriate
This tip will need to be used with some care. While you might not want to send an email to an executive or someone very busy just to say hello, others might appreciate it. If you notice that there is a reoccurring name from another department working on a joint project, consider sending over an email to extend a greeting and learn more about their role. It is a great way to connect, and most people love talking about themselves. Get yourself on their radar!
Setup Shadow Opportunities In Other Departments
Shadowing opportunities are a great way to learn more about how other departments operate. See if your leadership would be open to you shadowing someone in another position in another department so you can learn more about how the company operates. You will be given the opportunity to connect with someone in another department and form relationships beyond your single space. Even better, you will have someone you can reach out to with questions later if their department is ever needed.
Go To Happy Hours
Happy hours tend to be a place where people from all departments come together to connect. If you want a more relaxed way to meet new people and start forming bonds, this is a great way to go about it. In most cases, it is pretty rare for every member of a happy hour party to be from one department. Even if you only meet one or two new people, this is an opportunity to start connecting in an environment where there is less pressure. In fact, you might be able to bond with the person more quickly given the fun and calm circumstances. It’s a way to really relate to others and get to know them on a more personal level.
Join Business Groups
Business groups are a great opportunity to meet new people from other departments because they offer a collective focus. Whether you’re joining a group for certain kinds of professionals, employees committed to a certain cause, or even just to connect, these groups are a great place to start. They make it possible for you to connect with others in a slightly less formal setting. While it is a work gathering, it is less intense than a business meeting. Even better, you will all be there for the same reason, making it possible for you to already have a connection point and start talking.
Learn More About Departments That Your Department Works With
If you’re not sure where to start building bonds, focus on the departments that your department already works with. This is an excellent way to subtly expand your circle without ending up in a situation where you don’t know how to relate to the other person. For a lot of people, this can be comfortable because you can discuss shared projects, the work that you both do, and other easy and relaxing topics. Even if you start out by just barely reaching out beyond your circle, you can still grow and learn more about the company as a whole.
Building strong relationships within a company is an excellent way to work more effectively, find better solutions, and make new acquaintances. Remember, even just taking the time to greet someone new and introduce yourself can set the stage for deeper bonding the next time that you see them. Focus on being kind, being aware, and building strong connections. Over time, you will find yourself with an expansive social network that you can lean on. It is a great way to find new opportunities and improve your value to the company, so get out there and say hello. You will be glad that you did!