As the world switches to remote working, concerns regarding workplace collaboration have also become apparent. How to motivate workers to communicate effectively with their colleagues? As employees are accustomed to face-to-face interactions, collaboration has transformed into a workplace challenge now. It’s estimated that 86% of executives and employees blame ineffective collaboration for project failures. Alternatively, collaboration bolsters your workforce’s productivity, thereby increasing the profitability of your organization. But it’s impossible to produce employee collaboration overnight. You need time and effort to establish a collaborative workspace along with implementing the correct strategies for that.
Strategies to promote workplace collaboration
How do we define workplace collaboration? It’s an approach that involves employees working together to achieve shared objectives on their organization’s behalf. Collaboration boosts employee engagement, satisfaction, and innovation. Experts have described two major types of workplace collaboration now:
- In synchronous collaboration, we observe real-time teamwork in which employees communicate via online meetings or instant messaging.
- In asynchronous collaboration, we observe time-shifted teamwork that allows workers who live in different locations to share information.
Companies can tackle collaboration by bolstering three factors, i.e., workspace, technology, and company culture. Therefore, we’ve compiled some suggestions to help business owners and managers promote teamwork in the organization and persuade employees to join forces effectively. Here are some of our main proposals:
Use online tools
We suggest leveraging online platforms where employees can communicate and collaborate while being physically isolated during lockdowns. So, which platform seems the best for your workers? We recommend acquiring one that allows your employees to send and receive messages, share information, and ask relevant questions. You must try some Airtable alternative applications that offer the same features at better rates. Online tools make it easier for teams to share work and contribute to projects.
Workers often utilize different platforms for storing and sharing essential information. You can now merge these platforms and migrate the information for easy access. Organizations are already using such platforms, including Dropbox or Google Workspace. Employees will leverage them to edit, view, and share files/folders from any device they possess. This method enables remote-working workforces to communicate effectively without the lack of physical proximity encumbering them.
Innovation marks the survival of your organization, and workplace collaboration compels a worker’s creativity to appear. So, allow employees to question the way things are done in the company. You must empower them to suggest innovative ideas to boost the company’s productivity. We recommend holding brainstorming sessions where everyone can share their proposition. Permit people to share their thoughts without the fear of being judged/ridiculed. You can also encourage them by using:
- Email where workers can communicate their thoughts
- Online platforms where people can upload their suggestions
- Virtual meetings for remote workers to express their plans and desires
Lead by example
We encourage business owners and managers to follow the well-practiced “top-down” model. Leaders first set examples and then encourage subordinates to imitate them. If you’ve established a small-sized business, try to spend some quality time with everyone. These personalized interactions with your employees can persuade them to continue collaborating with their employer. You can listen to their ideas and give on-the-spot feedback to their requests. So, we suggest leading people by example.
Employees collaborate effectively when they’ve developed friendships with coworkers. That’s why organizations should promote these relationships within the company culture to enhance teamwork and increase profitability. Statistics suggest that female employees are 63% more engaged at work with friends serving as their colleagues. Fostering workplace friendships conquers a worker’s sentiments of estrangement. It makes them more confident about collaborating with coworkers.
Technology shouldn’t hinder workplace collaboration when it can promote people to interact humanely while practicing social distancing. Companies should facilitate connecting their workforce by leveraging apps such as Zoom and Skype. Today, video-conferencing offers services as screen-sharing so coworkers may collaborate even when they’re located at a distance. It also enables them to interact face-to-face that fosters alliances, and urges employees to share their knowledge.
How can you ask employees to collaborate with their colleagues without confiding in them? There’s no need to reveal every fragment of confidential information with your workforce. However, workers expect to be kept “in the loop” if employers want to earn their loyalty. So, discuss problems your company’s been facing. Cultivate an atmosphere of transparency to improve employees’ confidence and encourage workplace collaboration. Resultantly, your workforce will then follow shared goals.
Offer some incentives
You shouldn’t forget to reward your workforce’s dedication and appreciate their endeavors to make them continue collaborating. These rewards will fuel future collaborative undertakings whereas encouraging your workforce to remain confident about the benefits of teamwork. Besides monetary incentives, you must also provide positivity that involves supporting workers who ask questions and offer instant feedback. It makes employees feel valued, thereby boosting their loyalty toward you.
Get out more often
Workplace collaboration doesn’t happen at offices merely. You should encourage workers to meet, greet, and socialize with each other off-work as well. It can help them establish strong friendships to promote teamwork back at the workplace. Your workers can understand each other better if they’re mingling at an off-work event. For workers from different departments – especially – these outside-of-work interactions are beneficial since they don’t talk much at work. So, promote socialization.
Innovation doesn’t happen in introverted confinement anymore. You can’t expect workers to generate solutions today unless they’re collaborating with their colleagues effectively. That’s why companies now focus on promoting teamwork and encouraging employees to share their geniuses. Research shows that collaboration increases innovation by 15% and enables businesses to improve their productivity. So, how to ensure your employees work together? You must demonstrate your expectations, leverage digital platforms, encourage brainstorming, depend upon automation, and support off-work socialization for better workplace collaboration. That’s how you buttress each individual’s strengths at the workplace.