Team collaboration is paramount in today’s business world — especially with more and more companies offering hybrid or remote schedules. No time in history has seen a more flexible and global workforce.
Whether your team is in the same building or scattered around the world, collaboration matters. Why is that? Teams that are more connected have more buy-in. They also have more staying power, which can lead to less turnover.
Keep reading to learn more strategies for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your team’s collaboration.
1. Utilize Tools for Collaboration
While email has its place, other tools for project management can increase efficiency for your company. These tools allow employees to track completed tasks, comment, offer feedback, and more. Think of the planning sessions that used to take place with giant notepads on easels, but digital.
You can assign tasks, track progress, and even insert documents. Everyone who is working on the project can see in real time where it stands. These tools improve task management and increase productivity. You also save time searching through emails.
These types of software are helpful for any organization, but especially for those who have alternative work site employees. You may have employees working on projects in different time zones or on different schedules. These tools allow for asynchronous collaboration — in other words, working together on a project on their own time. This differs from organizations that require everyone to hold the same office hours.
2. Make Collaboration Part of Your Culture
If you want to have increased team collaboration, make it a priority for your organization’s culture. Emphasize the importance of teamwork. You can even begin a kudos section on your all-staff meeting agenda. Open the floor for kudos and team wins.
Create a culture of thanks and gratitude versus one where employees want to take credit. As you continue to do this, you begin to shift your culture. You can even set up a system where team members can submit their recognitions through a form on your intranet.
When employees feel under-appreciated or not connected, they tend to look for other opportunities. Create pathways for recognition and support for your team. You’ll be surprised what an increased feeling of belonging and commitment can do for your organization’s productivity.
3. Collaboration Starts from the Top
If you want employees to be collaborative and foster a team environment, lead by example. Show that leadership is part of the team and practice gratitude when you can. A great place to do this is during town halls and all-staff meetings. Have leaders speak and include time for them to give shout outs to team members who have helped out recently.
Be open to feedback as well and do something with it when you do receive it. Acknowledge and follow-up even if it isn’t something you can implement. This helps build trust in leadership and shows you’re approachable. The more that employees feel heard and like part of the team, the higher level of retention and productivity will be.
Make sure to allow information to be a two-way street. Let it flow top down and from the bottom up. This allows for more creativity through collaboration.
4. Create Space for Knowledge-Sharing
Each team member is a vital part of your organization. Often, leaders have a full picture of the company and the team structure, but not all members do. It’s easy to get trapped in departmental silos. Take time to let teams share what their duties are.
One method for presenting what various departments do is by creating a day-in-the-life presentation. You could do this monthly by setting aside 15 to 30 minutes in a town hall to highlight a team. Let a member from that team explain their role and how it serves the overall organization.
Understanding more about an employee’s counterpart can help in collaboration. As team members learn about the roles of others in the company, they’ll know who to turn to if they have an idea to work together. Also, they get to see how and why what they do affects other teams and the company. You could even create opportunities for employees to shadow other team members.
5. Provide Opportunities for Professional Development
When different teams work together, they learn and teach each other. It enriches their knowledge base and adds to their professional development. They might even discover they actually are interested in and skilled towards a different area of the company.
Providing areas for growth and professional development benefits your employees and your organization. They can bring that knowledge back and also share it with others. Providing opportunities for your employees to learn more can also help in creating loyalty because it shows you’re invested in your employees.
Professional development can also create mentorship relationships within your organization, upping your collaboration. An employee can learn from a senior staff member and then impart that knowledge to other junior members later on.
Whether you’re in a traditional office space or have employees working remotely throughout the world, team collaboration is key. Ensuring your teams feel connected and valued aids in retention, efficiency, and productivity. Create space for feedback and professional development. And adopt software and project management tools that allow employees to easily track and stay on top of tasks
Moreover, create a company culture of gratitude, balance, and collaboration. Doing these things goes a long way in creating a strong team environment.