Chintan Jain is the head of marketing at Kissflow. He oversees all marketing functions for the B2B product platform.
A collaborative work environment leads to a more engaged and high-performing workforce. According to a study, collaborative teams are five times higher performing than their non-collaborative counterparts as they feel more motivated to reach common team goals.
However, running and managing a collaborative team isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes the right collaboration strategies, company culture, and values to create an effective team collaboration. There are too many things that can easily go wrong.
1. Using emails to collaborate
If your company still uses emails to manage work conversations, then you might be essentially hurting employee productivity and making it difficult for them to communicate. Emails destroy focus, cause confusion, and waste a lot of time.
As team sizes grow, group conversations can easily get out of hand. They can also make it incredibly difficult to track down files, information, and tasks previously shared by team members on email.
There is always room for miscommunication and misinterpretation when it comes to team collaboration. Without a clear understanding of what is expected from them, it can be difficult for team members to deliver the right work within the stipulated deadline. Miscommunication can become an even bigger problem in remote teams that don’t have regular face-to-face interactions.
3. No clear leadership
Whether it's your kitchen or the office, ‘too many cooks end up spoiling the broth’ everywhere. When it comes to team projects, asking for everyone’s feedback can lead to great results, but the absence of clear leadership or a decision-making hierarchy can end up making things more confusing. Too many differing opinions and voices within the team will result in losing sight of real project goals and objectives.
Trust: Most collaboration problems within teams have the same root cause: There is little trust among team members. When there is trust in teams, the work environment becomes more positive and the employees are able to communicate and collaborate effectively without any hesitation.
Transparency: When team members don’t have all the information they need to perform their work, it will inevitably lead to performance issues within the team. An opaque work environment can make employees feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even decrease the employee retention rates. On the other hand, a transparent work environment stimulates sharing, improves efficiency, and boosts collaboration.
Inclusiveness: For effective team collaboration, you need the right leadership that can foster inclusiveness and make everyone feel like they are valued within the organization.
In fact, teams with inclusive leaders are 17 percent more high-performing and 29 percent more collaborative than their non-inclusive counterparts.
Engagement: Both team engagement and collaboration are interdependent. If the employees aren’t engaged, they won’t actively collaborate. Similarly, if employees don’t collaborate, they will feel left out and disengaged.
That is why organizations should engage employees from day one. Instead of sending them piles of powerpoints about the company culture and the importance of team collaboration, help them connect with their colleagues through team building activities and mentorship programs.
1. Use a team collaboration tool
The best way to avoid using emails for team communication is by introducing a team collaboration tool like a digital workplace. It can streamline internal business processes and make it easier for employees to communicate and collaborate.
With a digital workplace, it's possible to track projects, processes, tasks, cases, and even team communication. Since employees can manage all the work-related data and communication through a single platform, it reduces constant back and forth, improves collaboration, and allows employees to handle their everyday work more effectively.
2. Development of collaboration skills
Collaboration is not an inherent skill that comes naturally to people, it is acquired over time. Organizations can encourage employees to collaborate and they may even want to do that, but if they don't know how to effectively collaborate and work together with their coworkers, then it will lead to no results at all. Employees need to be actively trained to develop collaboration as a skill in order to make the most of it.
3. Skill sharing
Sharing knowledge and skills within the team helps improve productivity and communication. It allows team members to work smarter and faster as they get access to the internal expertise and resources of the company. As a result, projects don’t get delayed and employees have all the information that they need to do their jobs and accomplish everyday tasks.
4. Shared team goals
A team reaches its common goals through a combination of both individual and team-driven effort. While it's good to focus on individual goals and productivity, if it doesn’t help to achieve the overall project goals, then it might not be worth it at all.
To avoid situations like these, it is crucial to discuss important project goals before starting work.
Any changes or modifications in the goals should also be shared transparently with every member of the team. The idea is to create a collaborative work culture where employees actively work together to achieve a common project goal while still taking responsibility for their actions.
It's essential for organizations to encourage effective team collaboration for better employee engagement and an improved bottom line. A collaborative setting especially in today’s scenario where a majority of employees are working remotely can lead to a happier and more valuable workforce which can directly increase productivity, efficiency, and employee retention.
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