Here are eight straightforward steps on how to encourage collaboration in the workplace in order to improve company interactions and growth:
- Practice Openness
- Communicate Clearly
- Set Goals
- Assess Strengths and Weaknesses
- Allow for Flexibility
- Encourage Innovation
- Suggest Outside of Work Activities
- Celebrate Collaborative Behavior
The workplace should be an environment of creativity and active participation. Employees thrive when they can show off their strengths and easily communicate with others. Putting an emphasis on the collaborative input of a company will produce beneficial outputs. When companies achieve successful collaboration in the workplace, individuals feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
1) Practice Openness
Employees are more likely to strive to accomplish the company’s goals if they have an incentive to act. By employers being open with company goals or troubles, workers will feel more invested in the company’s success. Every individual should be able to identify the ultimate objectives of their company. Building a collaborative space and improving communications will create passion in the employees. Workplace cohesion will ensure that everyone does what they genuinely want to do, not what they think they have to do.
Standardizing communication practices helps to keep a company organized. Cloud-based services allow for fast file sharing. When people have equal access to information and the ability to add to documents, individuals contribute to the overall team effort. Interactive collaboration and simultaneous file sharing are current trends that will not be forgotten, but enhanced, in the future.
2) Communicate Clearly
Working in a collaborative team environment demands shared responsibility. All individuals are responsible for finishing team projects and meeting company goals. It’s important to address any uncertainties that may arise. Making messaging simple is one of the easiest ways to ensure clear communication between individuals in a company. Technology has led to a sharing economy where collaboration is encouraged. Unlike email, a formal method of communication that quickly becomes crowded, companies can use apps to increase collaboration between teams and among individuals. Slack and Microsoft Teams (included with Office 365) are two popular alternatives to email. Meeting rooms with multiple projectors and monitors are a great way to reinforce information that is communicated verbally.
3) Set Goals
Objectives for the company should include both short-term and long-term plans. Smaller goals increase cohesion in the workplace and keep employees on track for future plans. All employees should have equal access to the outcomes and reports of company goals so that everyone maintains a similar mindset. Collaboration goal examples include reflecting on progress that will give the company an idea of how to move forward most efficiently and remain successful.
4) Assess Strengths and Weaknesses
Allowing time for individuals to determine and discuss personal strengths and weaknesses will increase productivity. An emphasis on creative freedom is one of the best practices of team collaboration. All suggestions are valuable. Hierarchy and labeled positions at a company should not get in the way of individuals sharing ideas. Strive to lessen the intimidation factor some workers may experience in the workplace. Design a space that encourages cohesion and interaction between various teams or departments. A central common area in an office building can get people talking to one another.
Note that people need their own privacy at times. Even though everyone comes together for the greater good of the company when working in a collaborative environment, workers need the option to remove themselves from a conversation and have opportunities to think alone.
5) Allow for Flexibility
In both the office layout and day-to-day activities, a flexible company structure will encourage collaboration in the workplace. To make meetings less of a hassle, use Zoom Video Conferencing or Skype for Business. Individuals appreciate having the option to attend a meeting virtually rather than physically.
Revamp the workplace to accommodate any company needs. Although following trends may seem appealing, focus on the company’s needs and design the area accordingly. Consider simple things like lighting and acoustics as they can impact the feel of a space. Businesses should always be on the lookout for new innovations or technologies that could increase efficiency between teams.
6) Encourage Innovation
Workers should regularly come together to brainstorm new ideas and reconsider old ways of completing tasks. This will promote responsiveness to issues that may need to be addressed and will motivate individuals to try new techniques for doing things. If goals are attainable and everyone feels motivated, innovation leads to increased productivity and business growth.
7) Suggest Outside of Work Activities
In the office, people have one personality, but they might have a different one outside of work. Everyone should learn about their counterparts as everyday people. Socializing with coworkers outside of business hours gives employees the opportunity to understand one another better. This approach should cause people to further empower one another because everyone is not only work partners, but also friends. Aim to change the employees' mindset from thinking about the “me” to considering the “we”.
8) Celebrate Collaborative Behavior
People love to be appreciated. At the end of a project, bring teams together to talk about what went well and what didn’t. Learning from the experience, while simultaneously being recognized for one’s efforts, demonstrates the power of teamwork and cohesion. Acknowledgement should be genuine and respectful. Make it a goal to excite people about collaborating effectively in the future.