But there’s good news! No matter how big your business grows, how diverse your workforce is - after all, there can be as many as three different generations in any one workplace - or how many offices you have, you can always maintain and even improve employee collaboration.
Here’s how to create a culture of communication and ultimately get your teams working better together.
Encourage good communication
In order to achieve better collaboration you need to create an environment where your staff are encouraged to communicate. Employees must feel like they're able to share their ideas, feedback and concerns about anything in the workplace. They should also feel confident talking to their colleagues and managers, and there are some simple but effective ways you can create a culture of communication.
It’s a good idea to encourage regular team meetings. This gives staff a chance to catch up with one another and find out what everyone has been working on. It’s also a good idea to ensure managers are holding regular one-to-ones with their team members. This allows teams and individuals to share any triumphs or problems they’ve faced and address any challenges before they get worse.
It also pays to create a culture of trust; don’t make staff feel like they’ll be reprimanded for talking to one another at their desks and certainly don’t feel like you have to monitor their emails and screen time. It might seem obvious, but if staff feel like they're being watched like naughty school kids this can have a number of damaging implications on the team, especially because they might not feel like they're able to discuss work freely or collaborate effectively with one another.
Another important step is leading by example. Managers and even senior staff should adopt open door policies (within reason of course) where staff can ask to speak with them if they need to discuss something - good or bad. If strong communication is encouraged throughout the business, at all levels, staff will be more likely to feel happy collaborating and working with their colleagues; they’ll also feel better about feeding back on projects and be able to find better solutions to issues through working closely together.
Use collaboration portals or intranets
We’ve discussed the benefits of traditional communication above, but thanks to technology there are also a number of ways you can encourage enterprise collaboration amongst staff, even when they're not in the same place. And no, we’re not just talking about the obvious email chains. The incredible choice of unified messaging, collaboration portals and intranets available today means you’re guaranteed to find a system that works for you and your team
It might take a bit of trial and error to get there, but you can certainly test out a few systems before settling on one. And best of all, these can be specific to your team or they can be company-wide. Through unified messaging, you can integrate different types of media such as email, voicemail and video into a single interface that employees can access, allowing multiple team members to access this shared information at any time.
What’s more, intranets and collaboration portals let staff safely share information with one another and access all the content they need for the particular task or project they're working on. What's more, a comprehensive solution like Dropbox will be able to integrate with other tools, such as task management systems like Trello, which allow staff to list out their tasks or different aspects of a project so others can see what has been completed and what still needs to be done.
Organize team events
Putting technology aside now, it’s also vital that you remember the human element. If you want your employees to collaborate and work well with one another, they need to get along with each other and feel comfortable working closely. Team building exercises can be a really effective way to get staff socializing, whilst also learning valuable skills they can apply in the workplace. They’ll be able to learn new things about each other, as well as themselves and this is good for both company culture and collaboration.
But it can’t be all work and no play, right? Social events outside of office hours and the working environment can also be extremely beneficial for helping staff get to know one another, forging strong working relationships and letting employees blow off some steam.
Are you ready to get your team collaborating better?
When it comes to helping your team work better together, it really is all about creating the right culture and choosing the right tools that enable enterprise collaboration. Take your time finding the most effective collaboration systems for your team and always encourage staff to communicate openly with one another and with their managers. Follow our advice above and you’ll have your teams collaborating better in no time.