Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, a powerful smart sheet alternative. She is a strong-headed woman who always puts her innovative inputs into project management, collaboration, balancing work and life with technology, and more. She is active on various platforms, including LinkedIn, the e-learning industry, and more, to share her expertise. Off hours, she enjoys motherhood and reading about mental well-being.
There have been immense technological advancements, natural calamities that changed how offices function, and revolutions that built up separation among different categories of people, but at the end of it all - teams that work with effective collaboration are always on top! A study found that individuals working in collaborative workplaces stay focused on their tasks for 64% more time than their peers who work in solitary.
Collaboration is the key that holds together team members and helps them work seamlessly across different teams, departments, and, in some cases, geographical locations.
Whether you are a business owner or a working staff, we all agree that the need for collaboration has not changed over the years.
This is evident even in the last public speech of Patrick Henry in 1799, denouncing the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions; he said, "... divided we fall, and united we stand."
Unity and working together not only win wars and keep nations together but also form the foundation for organizations to work towards achieving their vision. Collaboration in the workplace is necessary for the timely completion and delivery of high-quality projects.
This article explores the challenges that hinder collaboration and provides you with 11 strategies that will help you build an effective collaborative workplace.
What is collaboration in the workplace?
Collaboration in the workplace basically refers to teams working together for a common goal. The cornerstone for cooperation is trust. Embodying trust in your group is essential for building collaboration in the workplace.
Challenges that hinder collaboration in the workplace
Numerous challenges hinder collaborative workplaces. Let's discuss a few of them briefly before exploring the strategies to solve them.
1. Poor leadership
Leadership is the backbone for building a successful team. The members of the top management and C-suite are the ones responsible for creating a collaborative workplace. Poor leadership results in teams that look like sheep without shepherds.
The general ground rule here is - Do not assume! You must ensure that every team member knows the company's objectives. Proper and clear communication helps overcome confusion and helps various departments work together.
3. Collaboration overload
As the focus is on improving collaboration, specific workplaces are already in overdrive! You must understand that employees already have a tight schedule and incorporate new meetings. Other events will cause burnout and disturb their work-life balance.
4. Trust issues and lack of mutual respect
Building a collaborative workplace depends on team members who feel comfortable working together. You need to identify and solve any employee conflict and help them realize their responsibility and accountability toward working together as a team.
5. Lack of tools or digital software
Building a collaborative workplace requires trust, transparency, and respect. A digital tool or software will simplify this stage of building a collaborative workplace. However, lacking a digital device will hamper knowledge sharing and transparency, causing difficulties building a collaborative workplace.
Strategies for fostering collaboration in the workplace
Creating a collaborative workplace comes with its fair share of hardships that we saw in the previous section. However, we have created these 11 strategies with a motive to aid and assist you in the process of building a collaborative workplace.
Define and communicate the organization's vision
Your company's vision should be the reason why your employees show up for work every day!
This is possible when you build a strong foundation with a simple vision that creates an impact.
The moment you build a workplace where your employees work with passion - beyond the paycheck- is when you successfully incorporate effective collaboration into your team.
Passionate employees understand your company's vision and work together in a team with unity and strive hard towards achieving the vision.
Set realistic goals
Your team should have a clear understanding of the company's goals. But instead of discussing them weekly or monthly, talk about them daily.
This will help you to understand the productive potential of individual team members. Further, daily discussion will create the necessary transparency for team members to understand personal goals, thereby eliminating silos.
You can let your team members decide their goals and align the overall productivity with the company's vision. By doing this, every team member will have an achievable and practical goal to strive towards.
Hold meetings responsibly
Team meetings are a great way to imbibe a sense of collaboration and teamwork. However, ensure that you do not start holding too many meetings that affect the overall productivity.
Plan and schedule your meetings in advance so that it does not interfere with your team's productivity. This is where you could use the deskbird app for simple yet powerful team meetings.
Additionally, meetings can result in a disrupted work-life balance because of the productive hours lost in the meeting. Meeting agendas and post-meeting notes help solve this issue by clarifying the need for meetings.
Understanding the individual strengths of your team members
As leaders, you need to understand the individual strengths of your team members. Different team members bring other skills to your organization.
You need to understand your employees to utilize them to their fullest potential. Apart from assigning tasks, you will know how long they will take to complete them and if they need additional support.
Building a community is essential for incorporating effective workplace collaboration. You need to ensure that various team members can work together without the feeling of being left out or not taken into consideration.
Not every team member has the same opinion about a specific goal. Employees work with enhanced interest when you involve every team member in developing suggestions and actively include them in the project. They display improved productivity and work towards fulfilling the company's vision.
Further, building a work culture that is free from judgment helps employees from diverse cultures express their ideas with ease and work together to achieve the company's overall goal.
Encourage creativity and critical thinking
To build a collaborative team, encouraging creativity among team members is essential for innovative ideas and team bonding.
By promoting creativity, different employees come up with other ideas that you could effectively utilize for building and promoting an innovative approach.
Critical thinking helps team members create strategies for solving issues with individual ideas. By allowing team members to come up with ideas from different perspectives, you can effectively design solutions to solve and promote your team to work together.
Rewards and recognition
Regarding rewards and recognition, you reward employees here for effective teamwork, not their individual performance.
The individual performance of various team members is always efficient; however, when you reward your team members based on their contribution towards teamwork, they are encouraged to work with effective collaboration among team members.
Communicate with your team members that they will be evaluated for their team player capabilities for appraisals and overall performance. This will provide them with the necessary motivation to work together as a team.
Open and transparent feedback
A regular, open, honest feedback session is necessary to build a collaborative workplace. Your team members need to understand their performance from your perspective.
Continuous and transparent feedback sessions will help you instil confidence among your team members.
Regular feedback sessions are vital in grooming employees who do not open up easily. You can guide them and provide them with practical ideas to overcome their stigma and work in a collaborative environment.
Effective knowledge sharing
Knowledge is power!
Provide equal and straightforward access to all team members to documents necessary for them in the project work.
This could be simplified by using an effective knowledge-sharing software like ProofHub that provides you with a centralized storage of files. Team members can view, share, or edit various documents per their requirements.
Creating collaboration and team bonding strategies will go down well only when you put in individual efforts to initiate the process. You must start cooperating and carrying your entire team together as a leader.
Start with regular one-on-one meetings. This will help develop a sense of preparedness among your team members for working together. When your team members trust you, they can work with better interest and team bonding.
Handling requests and making promises define your skills. When an employee walks up to you with a request, listen to them first and then provide a solution. Do not blatantly reject their request without proper reasoning. Further, only make promises that you can fulfil.
Incorporating tools or digital software
Utilizing technology plays a crucial role in building an effective workplace with collaboration. In this digital era, incorporating team collaboration software will help you build teams that can work together easily.
The main reason is that these tools help bring different team members closer. This enables you to eliminate the distance between team members and allows them to socialize.
Project management and collaboration tools like ProofHub, Asana, and JIRA provide collaborative features and a built-in dashboard for working transparently with team members.
Additionally, you have tools like deskbird, Zoom, and Eventbrite that specialize in providing team members with a platform for booking meetings and holding collaborative sessions.
Collaboration is a crucial aspect of the workplace, but it can be challenging. Leaders need to be patient and persistent in bringing everyone together. It's not always easy, but with dedication and perseverance, success is achievable. Additionally, tools and software can make the process smoother and more efficient.
Remember, hurdles may arise, but with the right mindset and resources, you can overcome them and create a harmonious work environment.