Collaboration is crucial for your business to thrive. Everyone knows that. Better results, greater innovation and higher productivity can be achieved only through co-operation. In order to implement and encourage teamwork within a company, certain tools and strategies should be used. How to make your business highly collaborative? Here are some guidelines which might help you.
Collaboration softwares have been around for a long time. These platforms have been providing information sharing within and outside companies. The Water Network, launched by TallyFox, is a platform used by global water professionals, consists of 5200 companies represented from over 170 countries. The impact is huge. But there is so much more then global information exchange. By using a collaboration platform, a team within a company can easily divide tasks, conduct discussions, share updates, review checklists and obtain approvals. The platform’s tagging, searching and messaging features make it easier to ask for help, locate documents that can be reused and share best practices.
Listen to the voice of the employee
Collaboration is great part about listening. Employees should be included in decision making process. Ideas, needs, and suggestions of everyone in the company can and must be shared and discussed.
Online collaboration platforms, in that regard, provide social business engagement with personal profiles, document sharing, groups, blogs, tags, social flow, RSS feeds, and polls.
Everyone, even executives and managers, should be willing participants in collaborative behavior and embracing the technology tools. Company culture is not set by words, but by the actions of the founder. Also, having it all in one place makes it easier for the management to guide and control the work process.
Don’t impose collaboration
Employees should not see collaboration as something enforced into the company structure, but as a tool to be more efficient and more productive. Collaboration platform should be commonly used in order to get instant access to all important information and to keep up with all the relevant updates. Many collaboration applications offer an option for people to customize their news feed and get all the relevant information. Employees should be aware that collaboration is there, for them to use.
Create a supportive environment – reward teamwork
Supportive environment is the environment in which a worker is supported by his or her team, but also by training and education resources available and provided by the company. The best employee can achieve a lot, but it is the best team who wins. Employees should be rewarded for individual performance, but it is important to encourage teamwork, as well. As team members work together, they learn to be authentic and genuine, which increases their effectiveness as well as their skills. They are able to reach agreement faster and communicate more. Team work should be constantly promoted by team building strategies. Reward the most successful teams regularly by a salary bonus but also do regularly exchange team members. Encourage further trainings of your employees in their or related work fields, which can be done on collaboration platform for all company staff.
Measure what matters
By using a collaboration platform, all information is available and can be easily measured, but what is a measure of success? Think carefully about the answer to this question regarding your company and its success. For example, for an insurance company, the goal of “increasing knowledge sharing” is desirable but not necessary. A better goal would be figure analyses which would suggest designing an affordable basic business package for small businesses.
May one of the things measured be personal engagement within a team beside the sales figures or any product related numbers. On online platforms you can easily follow team activities and productivity. Remember, it is the best team who always wins.
There can be many barriers to collaboration which are cultural and organizational in nature. However, it is up to the company management to implement and embrace collaboration within the company itself. And not to give up on it. These days, a modern business organization cannot succeed without connecting its employees and its information. For example, the above mentioned Water Network works globally, but if you run a small company in which the number of employees is limited try using software intended for small business. There are numerous platforms and tools with various strategies on the market, which can significantly improve your business, but you do need to search for the right one.
Employee collaboration also benefits the customer
Collaboration should not only exist within the company, between the staff members, but for the success of the company, the most essential is collaboration between the customers and the company representatives. Employees need to be able to provide a better experience and a first rate support by ensuring information and resources which are used to help customers. Working in a well synchronized team, enables easy access to the entire organization which makes it easier to find the right information and share it with the customer, in the shortest time period.
It is important to remember that collaboration is a process, constant and ever changing. Tools for successful cooperation are changing: from the 1940s Memex, a complex system built within a desk intended for people in one office to Facebook and Twitter, which are now considered inappropriate and unsafe, to business networks with over 10 000 professionals. New tools for the workplace continue to emerge to better adapt to any business. Your task is to regularly update your knowledge, to keep track with all the innovations and you should try to anticipate and explore all the possibilities.
In order to achieve success, collaboration is the key. Make your company as collaborative, as possible for your employees’ and customers’ benefit. To do so, use the latest technology to connect with everyone and to work with the best, in the most efficient way.
May the best team win!
This is a great article, Jeff. I have to agree with you on all points. My favorite points that you made was that even those on the upper rungs of the ladder need to participate…and that participation shouldn’t necessarily be mandatory for others. Some people lose a lot of time being in meetings they don’t need to attend. What is your view on using online collaboration software like Mikogo? People are able to attend the meeting virtually with multiple presenters…but participants have the freedom to multitask.