Collaboration is one of those things that makes or breaks teams. When collaboration is smooth and natural, teams are efficient and productive. But when it wanes, well, all bets are off.
The Importance of Smooth Collaboration
Did you know that 86 percent of employees believe a lack of proper collaboration in the workplace can lead to failures at work? Without proper collaboration and smooth communication, your business is being held back. Put another way, your growth is stunted.
Collaboration, which is basically the sharing of ideas and skills in order to accomplish a shared goal, is important on multiple levels. For one, it’s the foundation for all work processes in every department and on every project. Secondly, it’s the thing that brings diverse teams together to achieve common goals. Finally, good collaboration is the bedrock for growth and innovation.
If you don’t have a strong foundation of proper communication, it becomes very difficult for innovative ideas to flourish.
4 Ways to Improve Team Collaboration
As you can see, proper collaboration is vital to organizational success. From productivity to innovation, it has a major impact on every aspect of your business. The challenging part is figuring out what action steps to take.
There are a number of directions you can go, but here are a few:
Invest in Team Bonding
Whether you have a team of 10 people or 500, you can’t take your sense of “togetherness” for granted. Left to their own devices, people will isolate or form very small cliques – both of which compromise your ability to collaborate. It’s on you to invest in team bonding so that your team grows as one.
Good team bonding isn’t always about cheesy activities and group challenges. While those can certainly help bring a team together, there’s much more to it. For one, you need to create a common vision and set of goals for living out that vision. Secondly, you must clarify roles and responsibilities so that each individual knows where they fit into the larger fabric of the business. Then (and only then) should you use energy and resources to conduct team building activities and sessions.
Use the Right Tools
There’s never been more access to advanced, innovative collaboration tools as there is today. The challenge is figuring out which tools are right for your business and then integrating them into your organization in a way that brings people together (rather than distracts).
For starters, cloud storage solutions like Box Cloud Storage are excellent for ensuring optimal efficiency and visibility. With Box, for example, your entire team can upload, access, edit, and share documents from any device at any time. This makes it perfect for remote teams that need a centralized way to interact with one another.
A business intranet is another tool worth considering. This is basically a private internet that’s exclusive to your organization. It serves as a virtual gathering spot where your team can collaborate in a safe environment.
Be Smart With Meetings
Meetings can be good or bad for collaboration. And, unfortunately, they often fall into the latter category.
For some organizations, fewer meetings is the answer. By cutting back on the number of meetings you hold on a weekly basis, you free up time for your team to actually perform the work they’re supposed to be doing. For other organizations, better meetings are the answer.
Meetings need to be structured in such a way that individual team members leave the meeting feeling empowered and equipped (rather than confused or overburdened). To do this, you have to be strict about starting meetings on time, only inviting people who are absolutely necessary, and providing clear action steps for each individual at the end of the meeting.
Create a Buddy System
Every time you add a new team member to your organization, there’s a chance for collaboration to either improve or diminish. In other words, this new individual will make things better or worse. It’s your job to ensure they do the former rather than the latter.
When onboarding a new employee, always assign them a “buddy.” This is someone who has been in the organization for at least a year and understands how things are done. This buddy is the new hire’s touchpoint for all questions related to processes, systems, and best practices. And the buddy’s assignment is to correct any issues they see as soon as they emerge. This relationship should exist in a formal capacity for at least 90 days. (Though it can always continue informally for much longer.)
Give Your Business a Boost
Collaboration alone isn’t enough to grow your business. However, it’s an essential ingredient. So if you’re serious about increasing productivity, supercharging innovation, or bolstering your bottom line, it starts here. Implement these suggestions and begin moving your business in the proper direction.