Collaborate, team up, join forces, coordinate, come together, unite, combine, ally, integrate, and fraternize – words that are easy to say but draining to put to action.
When you are working with a diverse workforce – where the employees belong to different cultures, come from different backgrounds, and have entirely different sets of beliefs and thoughts – it becomes challenging to have them walk in the same direction, at the same pace.
Even if we ignore the diversity factor, the intention to cope and the coping pace for every individual may vary. Some may be fast learners but slow workers, while some may be slow learners but fast workers. Some employees may be very good at communicating, while some may struggle with modern communication technology. In such cases, the need to improve collaboration at your place may arise.
What Is The Meaning Of The Term Collaboration?
Collaboration refers to two or more members coming together to work towards a common goal in order to solve a common problem. It is an unavoidable factor that determines the success of the team performance. The clarity of the teams on the projects they are working on depends on bringing effective team collaboration. A combination of both will lead to faster innovation.
Collaboration is all about building a teamwork-focused working environment. It is a plan that puts innovative thinking, teamwork, and creativity of all the members. The absence of collaboration simply shows that a company is far from reaching its potential. Having understood the meaning of collaboration, let us know how to build collaboration in your workplace that will assist the teams in achieving the common organizational goals.
How To Enhance Collaboration At Your Workplace?
When your organization demands teamwork, having such polarities among the team may not prove to be very fruitful. The productivity of your employees and the performance of your organization depend on a fitting integration of the independent minds in your organization.
Getting all your team members to come together and walk on the same path may seem like standing in front of Mount Everest. Well, here are some ways in which you can move the mountains, overcome collaboration barriers, and improve the alliance at your workplace.
1. Construct A Workflow
Your work can be made easier just by setting up a workflow. Having no workflow results in things seeming more difficult than they actually are. This may give your employees a feeling of being out of the loop and their productivity decreases drastically. Building a workflow helps the employees to follow the set path without stepping on each others’ toes.
The core of every triumphant collaborative team is defining a crystal clear workflow that offers a straightforward system of assigning particular tasks, giving deadlines, and communicating. This transforms the enormity of collaboration into nothing more than just a manageable task.
When the workflow is transparent and understandable, it simplifies your task by providing numerous benefits. It brings all your team members on the same page. With clear communication lines are designated, the chances of miscommunication are minimal. This also helps in tracing the person responsible in case of a mistake or error. The workflow clarifies both the means and degree of communication. This allows your organization to prevent information overload as only the required data is shared.
You can ensure that everyone focuses on what they do the best by drawing a proper roadmap for the flow of activities.
2. Finance Collaboration Tools
Approximately 80% of the businesses utilize social collaboration tools to enhance business processes and ensure long-term cooperation among the team members. The most pragmatic step you can take towards collaboration is building an exceptionally yielding digital workspace.
Given the current global scenario, employees around the globe consider their home as a safe and secure working place. Even if everything gets back to normal and your employees return to the workplace, the field employees might still not be available at the office full time. If you want to collaborate with your employees working from different physical spaces, investing in the right collaboration tools is the way to go.
You can make your digital workspace look like whatever you want it to be. It is unnecessary to go all-out instantly; at first, you can spend your funds modestly. The trick here to try the various tools to see what works out the best for your team.
You can choose from a range of collaboration tools like Asana, Google Drive, Dropbox, Flock, etc., which provide everything you need to enhance your team collaboration.
3. Hot Desking
Hot desking is a practice where the workers take whatever desk is available, rather than having a specific desk assigned to them. This term is apparently derived from the name hot racking – a concept where one bunk was assigned to more than one sailor, each from a different shift.
Following a similar concept, instead of belonging to one fixed employee, a cubicle/ desk may belong to more than one person who occupies it at different times. In simpler terms, hot-desking is the process in which the office employees do not have any designated seating, and they occupy a seat available at that time.
It helps in cutting down the costs of superfluous real estate expenses by removing the waste of excess space and is very useful for the companies where the employees spend a lot of their time traveling or working remotely. It lets your employees be near their colleagues whom they would not converse with otherwise. This strengthens relationships and promotes better teamwork. The companies having better communication are likely to be more successful than those with ineffective communication.
factoHR explains an example of how hot desking aids collaboration; if there are five different departments involved in a project, then having a flexible work environment with hot-desking enables the projects to be boosted up and down much more swiftly as the business’ needs change.
Given its flexibility and ability to communicate, hot desking is a hit among the young workers. However, the older crowd seems quite displeased with it.
4. Throw Light On Their Individual Strength
Every human being thrives for some appreciation. Especially when it comes to the millennials, they take their appreciation too seriously, as depicted by Roy T. Bennet in The Light in the Heart, “Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you.” If you, as a leader or an organization, do not value your employees, and if they are not able to make use of their distinct skill sets, they start looking for other opportunities.
You can achieve talent synergy by gathering individuals with different strengths in one team. Besides enhancing the collaboration, utilization of talent can have a positive effect on the team strength, motivation, engagement, work quality, and productivity both as individuals and teams. Encouraging the talent of your employees motivates them to strive for excellence. However, from the perspective of a team leader, it also supports your team and company goals.
Ensure that you build on each individuals’ strengths and highlight their talents in a collaborative work culture. If you are growing your team, it is essential to focus on the specific strengths of each person and how it is useful in the required roles and responsibilities.
5. Reinforce Your Company Culture
Company culture affects all the aspects of your organization. Deloitte, in one of its research, came to a conclusion that 94% of the executives and 88% of the employees believe that a well-defined organizational culture is essential in business’ success (source). The roots of effective collaboration lie in the sense of community and care in the teams – a determinant for organizational success.
A culture that exceptionally encourages collaboration is one where the whole company is on the same page and are working together in perfect harmony. You can regulate the structure, rules, and tools to strengthen a company culture that promotes collaboration. Remove the silos working system and allow an open system of communication to create a positive work culture around innovation and creativity.
Team collaboration is the foundation of any successful business. Increased levels of trust, a more engaged workforce, and improved performance are observed in collaborative workplaces. However, despite the benefits of collaborative teamwork, it is rarely prioritized by the managers. A major reason for the failure of many organizations is the lack of effective teamwork. It is not an easy feat to run a collaborative team environment. It takes intensive efforts to integrate cooperative values throughout your entire company’s ethos.
The collaboration of teams impacts the performance of the individual and the overall organization. Collaboration within the teams guarantees the sharing of time, information, and other resources that benefit all the involved employees. When individuals collaborate, every individual has an opportunity to put in their best ideas and efforts, eventually making all teams more productive than before.
Building a collaborative atmosphere where your employees feel secure and valued, they become more creative, productive, and innovative.
Enhancing collaboration is a continuous process. It is essential to build a team that is collaborative. You may face challenges along the way, but the end result will make everything worth it.