How to improve collaboration across the company
These days, collaboration among enterprise co-workers has become absolutely essential. While this is important in any size business, it can be especially difficult for larger organizations to achieve. More often than not, challenges including a lack of cohesive training and geographical silos make it hard for staff members to reach out and work with one another in the best possible manner.
However, when the company makes collaboration a top priority, it will notice considerable differences. A collaborative staff is a more productive staff. In addition, the ability to connect with other employees makes for a better work environment overall.
Businesses can’t make these changes overnight though. Every employee – from executives to entry-level workers – must be ready to put in the effort to make collaboration a key part of company culture. Let’s take a look at a few key strategies that can help this process:
It all starts with listening and remaining open
In order to collaborate and work together effectively, employees must first hone their listening skills. LiquidPlanner noted that active listening is an important part of working with one another. In addition to listening to a co-worker’s suggestion or issue, the other party should be sure to confirm their understanding by asking questions or providing feedback. Once everyone is on the same page, the team can move forward and solve the problem or implement the new strategy together.
In addition to active listening, it’s essential that employees remain open to suggestions or advice from their supervisors or peers.
“Great collaborators always keep an open mind and know that brilliant ideas come from the unexpected,” LiquidPlanner noted. “Openness is also crucial in building an atmosphere of trust.”
When workers are open and trust one another, any problems or challenges can be addressed and solved in a more streamlined manner.
Executives should lead by example
CIO contributor Jaikumar Vijayan recommended that executives support collaboration efforts by participating themselves. After all, collaboration should not be a siloed activity – anyone and everyone throughout the organization must do their part to create an open working environment in which employees can come to one another and work together.
Paul Gillin, B2B social media strategist and consultant, told Vijayan that higher-ups should lead by example, particularly when it comes to the use of tools specifically for collaboration.
“Executives have to show willingness to collaborate and be open,” Gillin said. “It sets the tone that sharing is okay.”
Focus on a cultural shift alongside technological deployments
Wrike contributor Lionel Valdellon pointed out that while technological solutions can be helpful, employees will not actually utilize them to the fullest extent until collaboration is ingrained within the company culture. This change won’t happen in a single day, but must be a focus across the organization every day.
“Every employee – from executives to entry level workers – must be ready to put in the effort to make collaboration a key part of company culture.”
“After all, any technology that promises collaboration cannot bring about change on its own,” Valdellon wrote. “There has to be a simultaneous shift in internal culture – from individual silos to transparent and generous sharing of ideas and resources.”
In addition to making collaboration a part of everyday corporate activities, businesses should also ensure that employees have the necessary skills to make this initiative a success. Hosting workshops that encourage active listening and sharing, as well as helping staff members to work on these abilities, can be invaluable.
Workers also need to understand how to utilize any new technologies that will come as part of these efforts. If the company implements a new unified communication solution or other sharing platform, key stakeholders should demonstrate the features and capabilities the solution includes. This will further push employees to use these resources.
Have the right tools in place
When considering technological elements, including UC and other collaboration tools, it’s critical that the company has solutions in place that will best benefit the organization. Not all systems are created equal – some may have features that will be helpful for some businesses, but may go unused by others. For this reason, it’s important to work with an expert that can help recommend the most useful solutions for the enterprise.
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