Can the members of a team work as individuals and achieve the team’s goals? They can’t. Collaboration is the key to successful teamwork.
Working with other team members on projects and initiatives requires open and honest collaboration. Whether that work happens on-site, in a hybrid environment, or remotely, workplace collaboration maximizes the effective communication among your teams and team members.
Why is collaboration important in the workplace?
Collaboration in the workplace offers plenty of benefits to the company. Smoother projects, happier employees, and greater efficiency are just a few of them.
How can leaders encourage team collaboration and embed it into the company culture? You can start by building it into the company’s mission and core values. Here are 13 tips to promote successful collaboration in the workplace:
1. Assign accountability
Employees who take ownership of their jobs and projects now possess a stake in the success of those projects. When accountability is woven into your company culture, every team member will be more open to team collaboration to solve problems, to move projects forward, and to share knowledge.
2. Create an environment of open communication
Can we just take a moment to recognize the power of effective communication? It’s a pivotal part of nearly every aspect of business. When you build a network of open communication channels, like file sharing and video conferencing, both on-site and remote employees can ask questions, relay ideas, and provide feedback. That helps the entire organization reach the end goal.
3. Forge trust
It’s difficult to have effective collaboration without trust. Team members won’t be as confident to share new ideas and out-of-the-box strategies if they lack trust in their team and managers. Leaders should focus on strengthening relationships within their teams by encouraging authenticity and the sharing of feedback.
Team members won’t be as confident to share new ideas and out-of-the-box strategies if they lack trust in their team and managers. Leaders should focus on strengthening relationships within their teams by encouraging authenticity and the sharing of feedback.
4. Set clear goals and expectations
Vague goals do nothing to inspire or give your team direction. A broad, clear goal gets teams motivated, and it can lead to new ideas for group projects. From there, team members can build timelines and focus on collaborative task management that will move them toward success.
5. Employ collaboration technologies, such as video conferencing
Innovative collaboration tools increase team members’ ability to accomplish their workload. Managers must keep up with team needs and should continue to look to technology for solutions to address and mitigate them.
6. Give credit for innovative ideas
One of the benchmarks of effective teamwork is the ability of team members to share ideas. Then, other team members can offer constructive feedback, and a decent idea may even evolve into a game-changing one. Keep the teams’ enthusiasm for sharing ideas high by giving credit to the team members who offered strong solutions. Recognition fuels future collaborative efforts.
7. Invest in helpful collaboration tools
Team collaboration tools make collaboration quick and easy. Asynchronous tools add extra value for remote and hybrid teams. The use of internal communication tools can do a lot to foster a collaborative environment. Ask for team feedback about the kinds of tools that the members feel that they need to increase their efficiency and productivity.
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8. Foster asynchronous collaboration
When you’re choosing collaboration tools, make sure to add methods that allow team members to communicate and collaborate asynchronously. These will encourage not-in-real-time collaboration among team members who are not in the same office, time zone, or country.
9. Share and accept honest feedback
An important part of open communication is honest feedback. The ability to share thoughts and feelings about everything job-related — from the onboarding process to job satisfaction to future goals — helps team members stay engaged and helps to build trust. Their feedback may let you know where the process needs improvements and/or investments. It might even uncover an upcoming problem that you can, proactively, get a handle on.
10. Encourage problem-solving
During the journey to the goal, problems are bound to crop up. Issues with project planning, an inability to meet project management timelines, or other problems can get thrown into the mix. If teams aren’t collaborative, they run a greater risk of these issues tanking their chances of reaching the goal. Highly collaborative teams, however, can, in video meetings or by sitting around the conference table, simply discuss the issue and work through it to get to the answer.
11. Offer multiple ways to contribute
Making sure that there’s more than one way for team members to contribute to a project is important, and it’s a way to encourage 100% participation in collaboration.
The wonderful thing about working in teams is that everyone approaches concepts and initiatives differently. That’s a plus! Team leaders must recognize this. Making sure that there’s more than one way for team members to contribute to a project is important, and it’s a way to encourage 100% participation in collaboration.
12. Acknowledge and praise the wins
Recognizing and celebrating milestones goes a long way toward improving workplace collaboration. Saluting creativity, extra work, and effective teamwork makes everyone involved want to repeat the performance. As an added bonus, it’s been proven: employee recognition helps increase employee retention.
13. Feed team enthusiasm
Bored teams and employees with low morale are generally not interested in collaborating. Find ways to create excitement, both for your individual team members and for your teams. Sprinkle team-building exercises, personal stories, and creative brainstorming sessions into your meetings. This will help to build a collaborative workplace.
Collaboration strategies for the win
Your use of these collaboration strategies will put you on the right path. By providing your team with the collaboration tools they need, by setting clear goals, by listening to team feedback, and by encouraging creativity and problem-solving, you’ll increase your team collaboration quickly and effectively.
Zenefits helps people like you — business leaders and HR professionals — implement the kind of effective collaboration strategies that will boost your bottom line, increase your employees’ satisfaction, and help you grow a more successful business. Reach out to Zenefits to learn more.