For a business to be successful in today’s landscape, productivity and efficiency are must-haves. But you can’t be productive and efficient if your team doesn’t enjoy a high degree of collaboration. How are you doing in this area?
What is Healthy Collaboration?
Collaboration can sound like a buzzword, but it’s ultimately another word for communication and engagement within a team setting. And though it plays out differently in every organization, healthy collaboration is predicated on principles like:
- The ability to communicate with colleagues easily.
- Clear understanding of who is responsible for what.
- Mutual trust that colleagues perform good work.
- Everyone is in agreement over the goal or outcome.
- Colleagues get along well on a personal level.
When you look at it this way, it’s easy to become intimidated by the idea of fostering healthy collaboration. However, it’s not nearly as difficult as most organizations make it out to be.
6 Ways to Improve Team Collaboration
If you want to improve your team’s collaboration, it begins with the following streamlined steps:
1. Identify Clear Goals
It’s impossible to have effective team collaboration if you don’t first understand who you are (as a team) and what you want (as a company).
The first step is to identify your company’s mission statement and core values. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to involve your team in this process. For best results, keep the mission simple yet meaningful. It should be concise yet compelling.
2. Communicate Expectations
It’s not enough to have goals, mission statements, and core values. They must be clearly communicated in order to get everyone on the same page.
“From the start, set your expectation for collaboration as a minimum standard,” Aaron Agius writes for HubSpot. “Even better, it should be part of your onboarding process so that potential recruits know you prioritize teamwork.”
In addition to helping employees understand the company, clearly communicated expectations convey where they fit into the picture. This strengthens the equality of their interactions and gives everyone a collective understanding of how each “piece” fits into the larger “puzzle.”
3. Use the Proper Tools
Strong principles go a long way towards establishing a framework for good communication, but if you want to take things to the next level, you may find you need some help. The proper tools can help.
There are dozens – possibly hundreds – of different communication apps and software on the market. But rather than piece together a bunch of different tools with various features, you should look for one platform that brings everything together in one place – like a social intranet. And if you’re going to choose a social intranet, let it be one like Happeo, which connects with G Suite to make it easier to communicate, consolidate, and securely store information in a single place.
3. Lead By Example
Never ask your team to do anything that you aren’t comfortable doing yourself. This means leading by example and setting the tone for everyone else – both in actions and in words. (In fact, it’s a good idea to go ahead and embrace these collaboration principles for a few weeks before discussing them out loud. This will give you more support when you communicate them to your team.)
4. Encourage Socialization Outside of Work
You can dramatically improve your chances of cultivating healthy team collaboration by encouraging socialization outside of work. You don’t want your team to get so comfortable that they begin slacking off on the clock, but a healthy amount of personal engagement between key team members can strengthen trust and make it easier to facilitate smooth, effortless interactions that drive positive results.
5. Celebrate and Reward Employees
Finally, take the time to celebrate and reward employees when they do something well. Make positive examples out of your employees and encourage them with verbal praise and tangible rewards. Others will notice and be more likely to follow.
6. Adding it All Up
There’s no such thing as perfect team collaboration. But you’ll ultimately get out what you put in. In other words, your team’s communication and engagement will be stronger if you take the time to develop a strategy and implement that plan with purpose.
Are you ready to revisit your team’s collaboration and address problem areas so that you can become as productive as possible? There’s never been a better time to pop the hood and make some changes.