Collaboration defines how people within an organization communicate, relate and work with one another towards common goals. In other words, it is the heart of teamwork that makes it successful. Cultivating a collaborative culture is essential in achieving company objectives and fulfilling the mission of the organization. When there is a positive collaborative culture, employees work in cohesion, learning from one another and finding solutions together.
Positive collaboration magnifies peoples' strengths and capabilities and improves employee retention. In addition, it brings people together, enhancing communication and workplace relationships. All these are catalysts that increase productivity. How does a company cultivate a collaborative culture? Here are a few ideas.
1. Utilize technological collaborative tools
For companies with teams spread across different locations, utilizing collaborative tools is very important in creating a collaborative culture. Communication is crucial between members, as they need to remain on one page. This means sharing information and files, assigning and tracking projects and brainstorming. Almost everything happens virtually with such teams.
Lack of reliable tools can greatly inhibit collaboration. Find those that can work for you and use them across the board. Train members how to use them for better collaboration. For instance, while working, employees will need tools that enable them to open and compress large files. This brings the need to use tools such as Zip files
, which save on storage space and make it easier and quicker to share large files. Ensure that your employees know how to use them and provide support whenever needed.
2. Set clear goals and expectations
Unclear goals and objectives can demotivate an employee to want to work with the rest of the team. For starters, employees can't define what they are expected to do in such a situation. It becomes difficult to be part of a team when they don't understand their position on it.
On the other hand, communicating clearly the company mission
as well as defining each employee's contribution can act as a motivator to get them rolling. That way, each will be ready to bring their expertise and A-game to the table to realize the common goal.
3. Create opportunities to work together
Employees can't work together if there are no opportunities to do so. Companies should be deliberate in creating situations that call for teams to brainstorm to find solutions, or work together to complete a project. It is a good way to fast-track projects as well as to find solutions to difficult challenges and bring new ideas to the table.
For instance, a company looking to expand globally can pose the question of how it can better sell to global customers. Making it a challenge with a trophy at the end for the winning team is a good way to motivate participation.
4. Encourage workplace relationships
Working together for teams relies on mutual trust and respect among members. People would be hesitant to work with people they rarely talk to. On the other hand, when members are familiar with each other, working together feels natural. That is why companies need to encourage personal relationships
at work and outside work. One way to do this for a co-location workplace is creating a breakout room. Design it in a way that it encourages conversations among workers.
For a company with a remote team, managers can encourage relationships by pairing people to chat over virtual coffee breaks where they get to know each other. Hold team-building activities to help people get talking. It also helps when members join together to celebrate each other's achievements and milestones, whether in the office or outside work.
5. Lead by example
As team leaders, managers should demonstrate good collaborative behavior to the employees. Without this, all efforts to cultivate a collaborative culture can easily go wasted.
When hiring leaders, it is important to assess their collaboration abilities with previous employers. It also helps to create training programs for leading by example when it comes to collaborative behaviors.
While employers benefit from a collaborative team, team members also stand to gain from this. It makes their work easier as they have a way of finding solutions from co-workers. In addition, learning from the more experienced colleagues raises them to the next level in their careers. Companies can help employees see this to encourage and maintain a good collaborative culture.
Andy Latkovskis is an HR Officer specialized in employee training and development. He is truly passionate about nurturing talent and ideas that evoke transformative change in individuals, teams, and organizations.
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