In this blogpost, we shall be explaining the different ways through which you can increase collaboration in the workplace. We will also be discussing the various benefits of collaboration in the workplace and how leaders can promote effective collaboration. With organizational structures rapidly changing, collaboration is necessary now more than ever.
How do you increase collaboration in the workplace?
You can increase collaboration in the workplace through the following ways:
- Creating a strong shared purpose
- Interacting closely with others
- Encouraging and supporting diversity
- Using various collaboration tools
- Promoting openness and transparency
- Encouraging cross-functional collaborations
- Reward effective collaboration
- Creating workspaces that encourage collaboration
Collaboration promotes team cohesion and productivity in the workplace. Research studies have shown that collaborative teams are 5 times more productive than teams that don’t. Many employees also stay at organizations longer where collaborative practices are encouraged. The various ways through which collaboration can be increased in the workplace are explained in this section:
Creating a strong shared purpose
When team members know they are working towards a strong purpose, they will collaborate more with other employees. Team leaders need to make an effort to clarify the purpose and emphasize the value it brings to the organization and the community at large. Team members collaborate more effectively when the goal is meaningful and relatable to them.
Interacting closely with others
To foster a collaborative spirit in the team, the members need to know each other on a personal level. This not only strengthens the team bond but also promotes awareness of individual strengths and weaknesses. Team leaders need to encourage employees to interact both inside as well as outside of work to foster better collaboration.
Encouraging and supporting diversity
Diversity of cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, languages and genders need to be promoted in the workplace. Diversity is a valuable asset to the organization as it allows new perspectives of issues and problems. Thus, it can bring in different solutions and ideas among the team members. When diversity is promoted, the team members also develop better empathetic skills.
Using various collaboration tools
Digital collaboration tools have come in handy especially since remote working has become very popular. These collaboration tools allow communication between team members even though they are in various locations. Digital collaboration also promotes team cohesion. It is particularly useful for those who are introverted or socially challenged.
Promoting openness and transparency
Employees are attracted to organizations which practice openness and transparency. Transparency allows employees to know what is happening behind closed doors and brings everyone to the same page. When there is openness in teams, more ideas and suggestions are also shared, with honest feedback being increasingly given.
Encouraging cross-functional collaborations
Cross-functional collaboration is necessary in organizations. This strategy allows better knowledge-sharing and learning in the organization. It also prevents the formation of silos which can hinder employee interaction and transparency. With cross-functional collaboration, team members have access to more resources and expertise, allowing better productivity.
Reward effective collaboration
Even though collaboration is essential, not everyone is aware of the right collaboration strategies. Team leaders and managers need to reward good collaborative practices that are positive for the organization. Rewarding effective collaboration can also motivate other employees to follow. Thus, it promotes further collaboration in the organization.
Creating workspaces that encourage collaboration
If employees are tied to their desks all the time, they will not be motivated to collaborate as much. They also will not have the facilities to interact with other team members. Organizations should create workspaces that have adequate facilities and spaces to encourage collaboration among employees.
Benefits of collaboration in the workplace
Collaboration brings multiple benefits and advantages to organizations. Some of the most important benefits of collaboration are discussed below:
Collaboration allows better learning
Collaboration promotes better knowledge sharing in the workplace. An effective collaborative team brings individuals of different skill sets and expertise together. In this manner, team members are exposed to various resources and technologies, which they can then learn in an open and safe manner.
It is highly useful for remote teams
Collaborative protocols and strategies are highly useful for those teams which are working remotely. When team members are present in various geographical locations, it becomes difficult to access information and communicate with each other. Digital collaboration technologies help bridge the gap and bring employees from different locations closer to each other.
Collaboration creates a broader perspective
When there are diverse opinions and suggestions being encouraged in the workplace, it allows employees to broaden their perspective. In this manner, they tend to see the bigger picture and know the value they are bringing to society. This also promotes ownership and better accountability of the shared purpose.
It leads to innovation
Effective collaboration brings together many people with new ideas and suggestions. This allows innovation and creativity in the workplace. This can translate into new products and services for the organization. Innovation and design thinking are highly promoted by collaboration, creating more human-centered services for consumers.
It improves the customer experience
When there is good collaboration in the workplace, the coordination of work also is improved. This leads to quick-solving of problems and also foresees risks and adequately prevents it. In this manner, collaboration leads to a better customer experience leading to better customer satisfaction and loyalty.
How can leaders promote effective collaboration?
For effective collaboration to be implemented successfully, it needs to have a top-down process. Leaders need to have the reins in the collaboration process. These leaders can promote effective collaboration in the workplace through the following strategies:
Setting a clear purpose for the collaboration
Leaders need to clarify the exact purpose of the collaboration. If team members feel the collaboration is not necessary, then they will not participate actively in the collaboration process.
Advocating and demonstrating collaborative practices
For team members to participate in collaboration, the leaders need to first demonstrate it in their daily tasks. When workers see leaders and managers being highly collaborative, they will eventually follow.
Promoting the organizational culture
The organizational culture is guided by the vision and mission of the organization and the set of values it follows. When leaders promote and remind team members of these elements of organizational culture, team members collaborate more as they focus on the bigger picture.
Celebrating wins and successful collaborations can lead to more collaboration in the workplace. While celebrating, team leaders need to recognize and acknowledge individual accomplishments as well, aligning them with the team goals and endeavors.
In this blogpost, we have explained the different ways through which you can increase collaboration in the workplace. We have also discussed the various benefits of collaboration in the workplace and how leaders can promote effective collaboration.
Frequently asked questions: (How do you increase collaboration in the workplace?)
How to collaborate with other teams?
Workplace collaboration does not only involve collaboration within a team. It also requires a lot of cross-functional collaboration. This, however, is not always easy and can be challenging at times. To collaborate with other teams, we can use the following strategies:
Clarify the goals of the project
In order to have effective cross-functional collaboration, the teams need to be clear about the project and what they are expected to achieve. Explaining the project, its background and the various stakeholders to the team members from the different departments involved is a crucial step. The teams should also be aware of their individual roles and responsibilities.
Use common lingo
Using terms and lingo that not everyone can understand can create barriers in communication. It can also become obstacles between teams. Teams that work with each other need to use similar terms and definitions in order to allow smoother communication. This not only prevents misunderstandings and also helps in bonding.
Communicate intensely and frequently
Regular communication between the teams is mandatory in cross-functional collaboration. This allows the teams to be on the same page with each and can ensure the work process is closely aligned with the goals. This also promotes healthy relationships and can create a stronger collaborative culture in the organization.
Work in an informal venue
Physical workspaces can also immensely affect the collaboration practiced in an organization. Making team members work in informal spaces can in fact lead to closer bonding and a jovial atmosphere. Managers can encourage teams to also bond with each other outside of the office space. This can help in creating trust and friendships between the employees.
Empathy is an essential element for successful cross-functional collaboration. Empathy leads to better understanding as well as a better give-and-take policy between the teams. Since the teams involved have different sets of individuals with varying identities and working styles, empathy is necessary to ensure a smooth workflow and lesser conflicts.
How to collaborate better with a remote team?
Collaborating with a remote team is not always easy. When teams are working remotely and cannot see each other face-to-face, it can lead to misunderstandings as well as trust issues. A few things managers can do to collaborate better with a remote team are:
Use the right collaboration tool
Using the right digital collaboration tool is mandatory for remote working. These tools don’t just help in improving communication and interaction, but also help in project management, knowledge management, file sharing, etc.
Make the best of asynchronous collaboration
Since the team members are in different geographical locations, real-time or synchronous collaboration cannot always be possible. However, asynchronous collaboration can also be highly useful, especially for gathering feedback and suggestions from employees.
Set ground rules for the communication
For the communication and collaboration process to be smooth between the team members, rules need to be followed. The team leaders need to clarify these values to the team members and also ensure their proper understanding.
Establish smart goals
When the teams are working remotely, there cannot be room for any misunderstanding especially about the project. To ensure on-time completion of the project, teams need to work for short-term smart goals that are continually revised. This will help them complete the project effectively.
What skills do you need to collaborate?
In order to collaborate, an individual needs to have the following skills:
- An open-minded attitude in order to be accepting of diverse opinions and ideas
- Great communication skills to properly convey messages
- Good planning and organizational skills
- Ability to look at the larger picture
- Ability to healthily discuss sensitive subjects
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