Collaboration is the lifeblood of any business. Without people sharing ideas on a regular basis, problems that exist today will take a long time to be resolved. Not only that: new issues will fester because communication is lacking. l mean who hasn’t had that one passive-aggressive coworker who’s hard to work with!
Natalie Nixon, Principal at Figure 8 Thinking and influential business consultant, has written about the benefits of collaboration in the workplace. She points out that teamwork is great for:
- Individual self-awareness
- Scalability of the business
- Approaching problems in the industry with a long-term perspective
- Learning from others
In the digital sphere, collaboration has taken on a whole new dimension. Countless platforms exist that make it easy to plug-in and propel an idea forward without having to be in the same room.
But a variety of platforms does not mean your team is collaborating effectively. A recent study from SAP looked at the way mid-managers and senior managers facilitate collaboration in the workplace. The study found that only 48% of employees believe mid-managers are successfully facilitating teamwork within the company. So what can be done about it?
Here are five ways to increase collaboration within your team:
1. Foster more communication between departments
Depending on the size of the company, it could be that the sales team spends little to no time chatting with the marketing team. Even in smaller companies where everyone works in the same office, inter-departmental communication is limited. Find a way to change the culture of the office so that inter-departmental strategizing is the norm, rather than the exception.
2. Use an engaging and compelling scheduling platform
Building an infrastructure that simplifies communication across channels will help foster collaboration. Set up a smart task scheduling platform and watch as employees become more efficient at their specific job, and more effective as a group in solving more complex problems.
3. Use an instant messaging application
Slack is an excellent tool for any business looking to increase internal collaboration. The instant messaging app makes it easy to log and recall past conversions through the use of direct or group channels. The user can set up their profile to receive notifications for relevant news articles, updates to Dropbox files, and so much more. The bottom line is that Slack cuts out the excesses of email and makes it easy to chat with large groups of people.
4. File sharing on the cloud
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Azure are all cloud-based applications that make file sharing much easier. Files saved to the cloud can be accessed by anyone from any location, as long as they have authorization. One of the keys to collaboration is flexibility, or in other words, making it easy to connect with people at all times. Cloud-sharing makes it possible for a group of people to create and edit documents at the same time, no matter where they are located. All you need is high-speed internet!
5. Define roles and responsibilities in the team
A collection of software tools is only as effective as the group using them. Business organization consultant Tammy Erikson has conducted research into how the most effective groups are pieced together. Her findings indicate that if a team is not segmented into micro-group groups, with each person given a task that matches their aptitude, then collaboration will stall.
Teams Are Greater Than the Sum of their Parts
Working in teams allows everyone to accomplish more than they could on their own. The challenge is building a business culture that nurtures a collaborative attitude amongst employees. If your office is weighed down by miscommunication, try implementing any one of these tips to turn things around.