Workplace collaboration can be a challenge, especially across departments or with the presence of remote workers. Employers and employees alike value collaboration, yet 39 percent say that people at their workplace don’t collaborate enough. To encourage more collaboration at your workplace, try these 8 steps:
1.Share Common Values
Sharing the same values goes a long way in encouraging values. It’s why hiring for company culture and cultural fit is effective. Although interests, hobbies, and personalities may and probably will differ widely, sharing the core values and goals brings people together. Identify the purpose behind your company and share these values with employees.
Don’t just stop at sharing values. Communicate openly about your expectations and progress. Each team should know how they’re contributing to the company’s overarching goals. Conversely, teams need to know when they’ve underperformed. Create an open feedback system that you use not only for failed projects but successful ones.
3.Start with the Leadership
It’s crucial for executives and managers to practice the behaviors they want to see in employees. They should be the first to encourage and practice effective collaboration. Start with communication; instead of automated emailed, be personable and give genuine messages to employees.
4. Try a Team Platform
A collaborative social platform, software, or app can be perfect for improving collaboration. A good system should allow team members to communicate with the group, mark task completion, and view overall progress. With many employees now using their smartphones for work, a team app can be an easy way for different departments, consultants, and even remote workers to connect.
5. Provide Collaborative Space
Open offices and comfortable meeting rooms aren’t the only spaces that can improve collaboration. Consider providing casual spaces and times for team members to interact without discussing work. This might be as simple as keeping giving everyone the same lunch hour and providing a clean, well-kept break room that people actually want to use.
6.Don’t Forget the Props
If you’re creating a space to encourage collaboration, think about the objects in your room too. A coffee machine can encourage people to stay and converse. Making the coffee can become a rotating duty and encourage employees to share responsibilities. On the other hand, a TV does very little to encourage interaction and may instead prompt people to shut down or tune out others.
7. Consider the Quiet Ones
Even though you want to provide spaces for collaboration and casual socializing, not all your employees may want to engage with others all the time. Think about the introverts in your workplace and offer spaces for them to recharge or work quietly if needed. Separate rooms for brainstorming are also helpful for teams who need to work through a difficult task without distractions.
8. Offer Outside-of-Work Options
While these events shouldn’t be mandatory, consider organizing get-togethers for like-minded employees. You might arrange for a hiking trip, attend a sports event together, or sponsor a family day at the park. Seeing and getting to know coworkers in a casual setting can establish connections that may never have happened in an office.
Workplace collaboration takes time, but it’s the little things that build up over time and lead to great teamwork.