Workplace collaboration is vital for business success. Here are a few tips that can help your teams collaborate more seamlessly.
Nearly 97% of executives and employees say that a lack of workplace collaboration impacts the outcome of a task or project.
Long gone are the days of genius employees spending their time in a corner, wracking their brains to come up with the next big idea. In the present day, teamwork and collaboration are the keys to growth and innovation.
Every individual in your team has different skills, expertise, and talent to offer. So, when they work toward a shared goal, the results can be amazing. From fast-tracking project deliveries to increasing employee satisfaction, a collaborative workplace offers various benefits. However, one crucial outcome of a collaborative workplace is idea generation or increased innovation output. An environment that supports collaboration fuels creative thinking and excellence.
According to PGi, workplace collaboration boosts successful innovation by 15%. Higher levels of innovation results in increased productivity and business growth. Hence, by improving collaboration within a team, businesses can completely leverage the talents of their employees.
Here we show seven steps to create a collaborative workplace. Take a look:
#1 – Put Together a Supportive Environment
How can employees collaborate efficiently with each other if they don’t feel safe doing it so? For successful team collaboration, it is vital to make the team members feel safe to share their ideas and ensure they won’t be ridiculed by others. In other words, the work environment should support and appreciate every team member’s feelings and contributions. However, building trust in the workplace isn’t an easy feat to achieve.
Begin by talking openly about issues and challenges your organization faces and offer incentives to employees who come up with practical solutions. All team members should be kept on the same page about the company’s strategic objectives, so everyone can collectively work towards the same goal. Additionally, refrain from setting too many guidelines as this can hinder creativity.
Even with all the efforts being made, a few team members will still not be ready with ideas on the spot. So, consider giving them options to share them, like:
- An online platform where they can post their ideas
- Sharing ideas with their team through email
- Writing down their ideas and read them to the team at the next meeting
You will find that the benefits are worth the effort, as your team will work with empathy for its members and communicate with each other to share ideas and thoughts. Furthermore, every employee will slowly gain a better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which will enable them to collaborate more efficiently and step in to help when a fellow member is in need.
#2 – Leverage a Team Collaboration Software Solution
Improving employee communication is crucial for business growth. However, not many organizations have a separate budget assigned for this. For example, you might have the best talents on your team, but an active and harmonious culture can’t be sustained if they don’t collaborate. To improve communication, employers must encourage people to share information, hurdles they face, feedback, and generally anything that helps make work easier.
Perhaps, the best way to achieve this is by using a team collaboration tool. A team collaboration software solution can be useful to:
- Store and share files with co-workers
- Edit documents in real-time and ensure every employee has the updated version
- Offer simplified training in the form of video tutorials and documents
- Bring together employees from different departments and even locations, particularly if you have a hybrid work culture with employees working from home.
Employees can communicate with each other through the collaboration platform on a daily basis to discuss internal tasks, policy changes, group activities, project challenges, questions, and ideas.
#3 – Know & Work with Your Employee’s Strengths
Often, people tend to be too focused and self-conscious about their weaknesses, that they fail to recognize their strengths. Unfortunately, this characteristic of humans can impact successful collaboration within your team.
To overcome this, encourage your team members to take a personality test (you will find so many personality tests online like the Myers-Briggs) that will give you an idea about their strongest and weakest points and overall ability. Share the results with other team members as well. It will provide each employee an idea about their fellow team members and make it easier for them to get to know each other.
For instance, if an employee’s personality test reveals they are detail-oriented and prefer working with small teams, they wouldn’t perform better when they are assigned a project where they have to look at the big picture and work with a large group of people.
#4 – Encourage Team Members to Socialize Outside of Work
Everyone feels there is never enough time to get through their entire To-Do list in a day. So, asking your team members to add another item to their schedule might seem like a bad idea. However, know that when you allow your team members to spend time together outside of work, they interact with each other as humans and not just co-workers.
A lot of companies organize team-building games and activities or field trips for employees to get some time off work and relax. It helps break the ice and build new relationships or strengthen existing ones. You don’t have to make team-building activities complicated. They can be organized in a low-key manner. For instance, make your employees play their favorite team sports or organize games that teach them how to communicate efficiently and trust others’ judgment.
#5 – Lead by Example
There is nothing that can hinder collaboration like a leader who remains in the office all day, separated from the team. If you lead a team and want to promote collaboration, you should first avoid the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. You have to be as cooperative with your team as you wish your team members to be with each other.
Start by embracing the open-door policy. Ensure communication happens seamlessly and consistently between different hierarchies of the organizations. Next, roll up your sleeves, spend time with your team, and, if possible, interact individually with each team member. The one-on-one conversations will give you an opportunity to get to know everyone better and also hear requests from your team members. Nevertheless, ensure you don’t make promises to requests unless you are completely sure you can keep them up. You want your team members to trust you. Hence, it is important you avoid overpromising and underdelivering.
Understand that visibility is the key. When your team members see you are collaborating efficiently, they will be more likely to replicate this behavior, thereby being more productive.
#6 – Offer Rewards to Team Members
At the end of the day, we are all humans, and a reward for success will satisfy even the most dedicated employees.
Your best bet is to acknowledge your team members’ hard work and efforts and reward them when necessary. However, be mindful of rewarding teamwork too. This is important in encouraging future collaborations as it helps employees realize the benefits of being cohesive and working as a team.
Obviously, not every suggestion or idea is going to be good. In such cases, make sure you offer feedback while remaining positive. Offer suggestions and tell what can be improved.
By offering constructive criticism, you are paving the way for improvement alongside conveying your appreciation for their effort. But, again, responding to each idea individually can be time-consuming. So, promoting peer-to-peer discussions of ideas is ideal for boosting collaborative efforts.
#7 – Adopt Emerging Collaboration Practice Continuously
Your job isn’t over after you put together a collaborative environment. In fact, it only begins there. Even with all the right collaboration practices in place, staying flexible with your approach is important. When you are just starting, you might not know what works the best and what doesn’t in terms of improving collaboration.
Consider gathering routine feedback from your team members to identify bottlenecks in collaborating and things that can be improved. Furthermore, never think introducing new technology will solve all problems your team or business faces. Collaboration tools are only helpful as long as you have the right strategy in place to back it up.
Collaborative practice and tools are being increasingly adopted by employers because of the vast array of benefits they offer to the overall growth and success of the organization. Furthermore, collaborative workplaces are favored by employees as it gives them the freedom to share their ideas and the opportunity for personal growth.
If you don’t already have a cohesive culture, consider establishing one at the earliest. Encourage your team members to be open about their ideas, and have them work together. Also, remember that transparency from the top-down is vital. Offer regular feedback and rewards alongside the necessary resources and tools that will make collaboration easier.
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