The powers of workplace collaboration are well-documented: encourages problem-solving, more, enhances cross-learning, and improves employee and organizational productivity just to mention a few. As a result, the collaboration technology industry is set to hit $13.5 billion in 2024, down from $12 billion in 2020.
However, while organizational leaders know the benefits of collaboration in the workplace, many are unable to effectively encourage employees to collaborate. If you’re facing this dilemma, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re sharing simple strategies you can use to improve workplace collaboration.
Let’s start collaborating!
1. Establish Why Employees Aren’t Collaborating
If you’ve already tried to encourage collaboration but aren’t seeing the results you’d like, the first thing is to establish why that’s happening. The best way to do this is to get information right from the source – your employees.
There are a couple of effective ways to gather employee feedback on any issue, but in this case, it’s best to use a method that ensures anonymity. Your employees might hold back if directly asked to say why they aren’t collaborating.
Some of the common reasons that can discourage collaboration include lack of the right or adequate collaboration tools, a workplace culture that doesn’t support employee collaboration and having employees who prefer to work alone.
2. Build a Workplace Culture That Promotes Collaboration
There’s only so much workplace collaboration success an organization can achieve if it has a culture that actively discourages collaboration.
For instance, if you’re always assigning roles/tasks to individuals, you aren’t doing your efforts to build a collaborative spirit in the workplace. Don’t just assume that an employee will take the initiative to collaborate with colleagues on a task assigned individually. Instead, assign some tasks to two or more employees. This way, your people have no choice but to collaborate, which is how a culture of collaboration develops.
Policies go a long way in shaping workplace collaboration, but so does the physical infrastructure. A closed office plan, for example, isn’t ideal for building a collaborative workplace. An open office plan with furniture that can seat teams is a must-have when you want to promote office collaboration.
An outdoor workspace is also great at promoting collaboration, especially if collaborative office furniture is installed. Such a space encourages employees to step outside, enjoy the fresh air and natural light, and work together.
3. Invest in the Right Workplace Collaboration Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt accelerated the adoption of collaborative technology tools. These days, it’s all about Zoom calls, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and whatnot.
Collaboration tools aren’t created equal. What works for another company doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for yours. This is why investing in collaborative technology doesn’t automatically mean your employees will collaborate more. It has to be technology that’s best suited to your workplace.
Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
Great workplace collaboration is every organizational leader’s dream, but it doesn’t just happen. There’s a lot you have to put in place, including investing in collaborative infrastructure and designing policies that support the practice. Subscribe to our blog for more tips and advice.