Departmental cultures are a big thing and always have been. The strange thing is, they don’t often get talked about openly among leaders in public. However, they are talked about and encouraged behind closed doors. It’s kind of like the armed forces. The best generals all throughout history, have fanned the flames of internal rivalries in their units. If you don’t have departments vying to be better than each other, how will their fare when it comes to trying to beat the competition? Hence why good business leaders will always encourage their workforce to have cultures that symbolize their skills, abilities, and way of doing things. Department cultures can be extremely motivating, becomes a brotherhood can develop among peers who are in the same company, the same department, have the same background and are trying to achieve the same goals.
Why they exist
Departmental cultures exist because we all come from different backgrounds. The marketing professionals in your business, don’t think the same as the risk department. Although they’re on the same team, they talk differently, use specific language and if you really get down to the human psyche, they even dress in a similar fashion. The reason why departmental cultures exist is that we all come from different houses or schools. The school of economic thought is very different from the school of design. It’s kind of like a task force mentality. You’re all going to work better when you feel like you belong. And not just having but being a part of their specific culture helps many employees feel like they are in the right place.
Marking their patch
You don’t want your departments to set up boundaries because you’re all on the same team at the end of the day. But you do want to create ‘checkpoints’. These are not physical barriers or borders, but they’re subtle hints that you’ve entered a different part of town. For example, the spaces that you have allocated to your departments in the office, should have their own distinct vibe and look. You can stick custom made morale patches around the room where the different departments begin and end. For example, a custom patch might be of an artist that the design employees look up to. For the risk department, you might have an owl because they watch over everything. You might also want to have a flag of a nation that represents the department such as the sales department for your Asian partners, etc. These small things add up to the culture in a big way.
Showcase cross-departmental skills
Departments can work together to solve problems. In fact, in modern-day business, they have to. But you can encourage this further by playing a solving game. For example, the marketing team has a project for which they don’t know the risk. The risk department can work with them to analyze their specific goals and give them solutions as to what is possible. It can be completely made up scenarios, but when your employees are together in the room, they can see how each other work.
Departmental culture is vital to the life and soul of your business. Every employee should feel as if they belong. Not just in the wider business, but in a department that they can call home.