If collaboration lacks in the workplace, you are underutilizing your employees. This means you are losing money and contributing to employees’ dissatisfaction at the same time.
Simply put, when collaboration is present in the workplace, employees or teams work together in an open and harmonious way towards a common goal. This is to say that employees could be working together, but without good collaboration, no one would know what the other is doing. This can bring confusion and failure.
When employees work together, there is a pool of shared knowledge and expertise that sparks creativity, innovation and faster delivery. Employees are excited to be part of the bigger picture and are more likely to retain their jobs longer and work optimally.
Lack of it, on the other hand, reduces productivity and is the number one cause for workplace failure.
If a company is to record success, team collaboration isn’t an aspect to slack off. Here are some of the best ways managers can improve team collaboration in the workplace.
1. Highlight each member’s strengths
One of the reasons why employees start looking outside is the feeling that they are not given a chance to exercise their best skill set. There is that good feeling that comes when one is able to bring their A game to the table. Knowing that a team is depending on them for a certain skill helps them shine and build on that skill, which increases confidence and a sense of belonging.
On the other hand, failing to utilize one’s strengths makes an employee feel sidelined and unvalued. Such an employee slowly detaches himself or herself from the team, which decreases collaboration.
What I’m trying to say is that everyone in the team is skilled differently, but the whole team thrives when each one the member is allowed to bring their best to the table.
2. Improve on employee engagement
Team collaboration has a lot to do with employee engagement in the workplace. You see, when employees have a positive emotional connection with a workplace, they are willing to go the extra mile to see that the organization succeeds. This means that they will be committed to teamwork and working together with the rest to bring optimal results.
Employees’ engagement is best started from day one. From the onboarding process, ensure that new employees are exposed to the positive company culture. You can assign a mentor to help them familiarize with the workplace and help them form relationships with the others in the team.
In addition, build a sense of trust by allowing employees a flexible working schedule. This includes allowing them to work from anywhere. For instance, an employee living or visiting Denver can opt to work in a coworking space. Allow them that choice.
3. Utilize collaboration tools
We are living in times when technology has made things simple in our personal lives and workplaces. Employees no longer have to work in close proximity thanks to technology. Why not utilize this technology to improve team collaboration.
Collaboration tools bring together many aspects of team collaboration in one portal. Take Slack for example, employees can share documents, files and training videos at a click of a button. Instant messaging has never been effective like now. Employees can converse back and forth within the team and across departments in a simplified way. It also allows video conferencing, which means that employees can meet virtually to brainstorm on a project much easily. In addition, it stores every item shared. Employees can utilize the search feature to find the information they need at any given time.
4. Encourage workplace interactions
It can be difficult to work together with a person that one doesn’t know very well. Likewise, employees can hesitate to collaborate with others if they don’t really know each other. As a manager, it is your duty to put in efforts to create an environment that sparks conversations that lead to workplace relationships.
A growing trend within the workplace is hot-desking. This is where employees aren’t obligated to sit next to the same person the whole day or the rest of their working in an organization. This allows interaction even with people who would otherwise not talk. Another trick is an open office layout that increases the chances of bumping into each other and starting conversations. A breakout room also creates a nice environment away from work where conversations of all kinds spark.
5. Lead by example
Most employees have their eyes on their managers, and are more likely to align their behavior in the workplace with how the bosses act. If you want to foster collaboration within your team, you had better start showing them how it is done. Show them that you can cooperate at every corner in the workplace.
You can start by sitting down with each employee from time to time to listen to his or her ideas, requests and suggestions. This goes a long way to show them that you are approachable and that you are willing to work together with them in any way.
Employees cost money to hire and maintain. In addition, employees want to work in a place where their potential is maximized. If collaboration lacks in the workplace, you are underutilizing your employees. This means you are losing money and contributing to employees’ dissatisfaction at the same time. All the more reason increasing team collaborations should be a priority.