As a business leader, creating a space where every employee thrives is crucial to your success. You want your employees to be excited about coming in to work each day. So to boost morale and increase productivity, here are three ways to nurture a collaborative environment.

1. Challenge Your Employees

When people are not challenged, they feel unmotivated to do more than the bare minimum. They might feel stuck in a rut if they believe that there is not a higher goal to reach for. If you can incentivize your team to support each other and push harder, you will foster a cooperative and uplifting workplace. Consider offering gift cards or the prime parking spot as an award to the employee who has exceeded expectations. Giving out rewards like these every month will ensure that different team members are spotlighted, and everyone will continue putting forth their best effort for a chance at the prize.

You might also consider placing employees into teams to complete projects with the goal of reaching a certain milestone. Striving toward a definitive number of sales or dollar amount or clicks on a marketing campaign, this group effort will get the ball, not only rolling but, pushing up that hill as the entire team works together to accomplish the task.

You can also create opportunities for healthy competition and teamwork outside of the office. Ask your employees if there is a specific charity or foundation that is meaningful to them and assemble a company squad to run a race for the cure. This is a great opportunity for employees to cheer everyone on. Even forming fundraising groups and encouraging people to hit a goal can become a motivating contest. By challenging your employees to go above and beyond and assist each other, you will build a more collaborative and productive atmosphere.

2. Be Inspiring and Supportive

Nothing is worse than feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders with no one to turn to for help. As a leader, consider sharing your own struggles, past or present, with your employees to remind them that they are not alone. Inciting inspiration is a vital part of nurturing a collaborative environment. Provide words of affirmation to an employee so that they know they are on the right track.

When your employees know that you believe in them and recognize the value they offer, they will want to contribute to the company vision. Ensure that team members understand why their daily tasks matter for the business as a whole. Communicate to the team how everyone’s actions contribute to the overall goals of the organization. If your staff is aware of what other people bring to the table that makes projects run smoothly, they will experience true camaraderie.

You can empower people with small gestures like playing upbeat music throughout the office, bringing in treats when the business hits a goal, or establishing casual Fridays. It can also be beneficial for staff to be able to learn from and talk to their predecessors about what helped them succeed in their position. Making the workplace an inspirational environment amplifies positivity and nurtures a collaborative community.

3. Get to Know Everyone Personally

Forming personal relationships is key to connecting with your team. If your staff has the mentality that they are in it for themselves, or that upper management cares little for them, the resulting energy is draining and apathetic. Conversely, when employees get to know everyone on a deeper level, they are more likely to encourage one another to aim for promotions or persevere through a challenging project. They might even relate to each other’s personal matters and start checking in with coworkers on a daily basis. Consider organizing weekly potlucks for lunch or planning a company happy hour. Group activities allow employees to bond and build lasting relationships. They are a chance for everyone to unwind and have personal conversations unrelated to work.

You might also assign a different team member to bring a quote or a joke to weekly meetings, providing them the opportunity to showcase their personality and let their voice be heard. Even celebrating birthdays and personal milestones like a work anniversary can motivate as it demonstrates the investment made in the wellbeing of your team members. When you give people the opportunity to learn more about their coworkers, you will find your space inevitably transformed into a fun and harmonious culture.

Challenging your employees, inciting inspiring, and getting to know your people on a personal level are the three factors that go into building synergy at work. When your team members are given incentives to collaborate and push harder, they will be more productive. If you are an inspirational leader, you will find that your staff has genuine camaraderie and motivation to carry out the company mission. By learning more about your employees and giving them opportunities to get to know each other, everyone will be supportive and uplifting when it comes to business and personal achievements. Utilizing these three methods will nurture a collaborative environment where your team has the space to flourish.