The benefits of team collaboration are clear. Employees can do more and perform better when they work together towards a common goal. Working collaboratively brings out the best in each employee and they take pride in knowing that they are part of a team. As a result, employees are happier and less stressed, which increases engagement.
However, this doesn’t happen with occasional collaboration where teams brainstorm on projects when the need arises. It happens when organizations foster a culture of collaboration. In a collaborative culture, collaboration is ingrained in how employees do their work and their attitude towards that work. Here are seven ways to build a collaborative culture that empowers employees to take initiative and be deliberate to work together every day.
1. Hire the right people
To build a collaborative culture, you need to think of collaboration as one of your company's core values. Then, seek to bring in people who align with this value. In this case, you need to look for key qualities that show that an individual is a team player when hiring people. Ensure that the people you pick prove that they are dependable, helpful, and passionate. To do this, you will need to adopt a robust hiring process that combines in-person/video interviews and assigning situational activities to help you put these traits to test.
2. Communicate collaboration as a company value
Communicating company core values constantly is one way of enforcing them to your employees. Thus, to create a collaborative culture, you need to constantly talk to your team about behaviors and attributes that foster collaboration. Moreover, put emphasis on this during the onboarding process to set your new hires up for success. You might also want to provide them with the resources necessary for better collaboration.
3. Encourage positive and trust-filled relationships
Collaboration flows when employees relate to each other well and trustfully on an individual level. To build a truly collaborative culture, then you need to start by encouraging employees to build relationships with each other.
However, this hardly happens by just telling them about it. You need to create an environment that encourages natural bonding between employees. Creating social spaces and planning for in-person meetings such as team building activities go a long way.
4. Ensure transparent communication
Collaborative cultures are driven by transparency. Employees can’t be truly collaborative if they don’t know what the management wants, what the other person is doing, or what they are required to do. Aim to be clear about how each role contributes to the common goal. Be clear on who does what.
Additionally, always be transparent about how the company is doing – the good and the bad. Lastly, foster an environment where it is safe for employees to air their opinions and approach the management without fear. With such transparency, knowledge sharing is enhanced, which increases collaboration.
Learn more about the power of team communication:
5. Equip your employees with the right tools
Provide the right collaborative tools that meet the needs of your team, especially where teams are dispersed. Tools such as instant messaging platforms, video conferencing software, an effective knowledge base, and project management software ensure better collaboration within teams.
In addition, set your team up for success by providing the right skills to complete their work and take up higher roles. In this regard, focusing on employee training and development in areas such as PMP certification training, sales, and marketing, IT certification, and leadership among others boost employees’ confidence. This increases their motivation and makes them more invested in the company, which makes them likely to want to give back through team collaboration.
6. Reward collaboration
Sometimes employees want you to recognize their good work for them to keep at it. For a collaborative culture, just encouraging collaboration isn’t enough. Employees need to know that you are seeing their efforts. Moreover, recognizing and rewarding the best performers regularly empowers them to do more. In addition, it motivates the other team members to follow suit.
7. Sensitize leaders to model collaboration
Leaders play an important role in carving the culture that they want to see in the workforce. Employees have their eyes on you, and they want to see that what you are saying is important to you as well. So, be at the forefront in exhibiting the behaviors that you want to see in a collaborative culture. At times, admit that you don’t always have all the answers and work with your team to solve problems.
Collaborative cultures empower productivity and performance. However, building such a culture doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that requires the buy-in of both the employees and the management. Moreover, it starts with fostering it as a company value and then bringing in people who align with these values. Taking the necessary steps such as those listed here ensures creating a collaborative atmosphere that empowers and encourages people to work together for the common good.
Maya is a training and development specialist that helps to create, plan, and run training programs for businesses and organizations. She tries to identify solutions to problems that improve the well-being and performance of organizations and their employees. Maya is also a freelance writer and often writes articles for credible blogs.