The key to success for any organization and company is the performance of its employees, not as individual entities, but as a whole. It is the coming together of these different entities that decide the fate of the organization. This is why effective collaboration is so important.
When employees work together as a strong team, it is seen that the work becomes more fun, the ideas more creative and productivity increases multifold. After all, humans are social animals, and we always do better when we are together.
A recent study showed that 86% thought that a lack of collaboration was the reason behind the failures of tasks in the workplace while 76% of workers say collaboration directly impacts company culture. This is a clear reflection of the fact that even the employees realize the importance of collaboration.
According to another report by Deloitte, it was revealed that the efficiency rate of the employees increased by 15% when they collaborated and worked.
All these studies are enough to make one turn their attention toward the concept of collaboration and how to master it.
In this blog, we will discuss what a collaboration strategy is, why it is important, and the different strategies for encouraging collaboration among your team members.
What is a Collaboration Strategy? (Definition)
To put it in simple terms, a collaboration strategy is a proper system through which an organization structures the way a team will work. It is basically the approach business takes toward teamwork.
This includes concrete guidelines which dictate aspects like the interaction between team members, regular feedback, building fraternity, and ensuring a smooth workflow.
A collaboration strategy is a reflection of the way a company strategizes to make the members of a team work together as one to reach a goal and complete a task.
A good collaborative strategy is based upon the skill set of every individual employee, their dynamic with the other employees, and how to combine the two for making a strategy that will bring out the most efficient work with maximum productivity.
A good collaboration strategy is always a boon to any organization, it creates ease of work and provides an open space for the sharing of ideas.
Any good organization will understand the value and importance of a worthy collaboration strategy. So, let’s check out some of the benefits of having a collaboration strategy in place.
Benefits of Creating a Collaboration Strategy
1. Increases Employee Engagement
The very concept of a team and collaboration increases the work engagement of an employee. This means, more conversations around the task, how to do it better, and how to make the workflow simpler.
It not only creates a good environment around the working team members but also motivates the new people joining the team who feel the responsibility of matching their peers concerning the work.
And with an increase in engagement, there is also an improvement in personal performance as well as a commitment to the project. This results in efficiency and productivity.
2. Positive Attitude Towards Work
Through good collaboration, there is a feeling of camaraderie and companionship among the employees. With this feeling, there will be a significant rise in job satisfaction and a general improvement in the attitude of the employees towards the work and organization.
This makes them more dedicated and loyal which is always a good sign for a company. Energized workers working together with purpose is a dream of many organizations which can be turned into reality through an effective collaboration strategy.
3. Improves Problem Solving
Collaboration means that different team members of different skills, varying experiences, and intelligence work together.
When a diverse group of people works together, and when there is an effective collaboration strategy guiding them, cracking problems, from easy to challenging, is a walk in the park. This is because of all the different perspectives and ideas that various team members bring to the table.
A proper system to manage and filter these ideas and solutions can solve any problem that a team may face. And this system is a part of a good collaboration strategy.
The solution might come from team members bonding together and analyzing it, or through trying to outsmart the other person, either way, it’s a win-win for the organization.
Now that we know the importance a collaboration strategy has and the value it holds in the workplace, let’s look at the various ways and means by which you can build a good collaboration strategy.
How To Build an Effective Collaboration Strategy? (Process)
Step 1. Lead from the Front
Preaching anything – teamwork, punctuality, efficiency, is never the entire solution. Employees tend to learn better and apply the learnings even better when they see their leader leading from the front. You must show your employees how to collaborate well as a team.
When the employees will see you working together in harmony with your peers, they will learn from your example.
Try to model their behavior, when you are working with your peers, collaborate as you want them to collaborate- ask their ideas, share your own, give and take relevant feedback, schedule effective brainstorming sessions, build camaraderie and show your peers the right way to collaborate.
Step 2. Adopt the Values and Mission of the Organization
The working of any organization is always based on the core values and principles that the company was made on. This should reflect in the collaboration strategy as well.
Make sure that you have understood the mission of the company and its core values. The collaboration strategy should be based along the lines of these values and mission.
When the employees see the values of the company reflected in the tasks they are doing and the way they are engaging with their other team members, a sense of purpose will drive them and make them more productive.
You must make the portrayal of these values and missions obvious and clear to the employees so that they understand their importance.
Step 3. Define the Roles in a Team
For any big task or project, the task that each team member has to perform should be well-defined and absolutely clear. Each team member must recognize their roles and follow them to the core.
They should also be made to realize that their work is connected and linked to the work of the other team member so that they feel a sense of responsibility and thus professionally do the job.
This also brings about a sense of accountability in the minds of the employees and makes them more adept and alert at their work. The clarity in roles is a very important aspect of a good collaboration strategy.
Step 4. Communicate Openly
The role of open communication cannot be stressed enough for good collaboration. You can get more ideas and garner more productivity by keeping an open channel of communication, where people not only feel safe to contribute but also inspired.
Make sure to encourage your employees to speak openly and directly with you and their peers. Facilitate communication via feedback sessions, team-building activities, brainstorming sessions, and more. This will help avoid misunderstandings, eliminates the mistakes caused by an intellectual gap, and resolves work conflict quickly.
It is also necessary to have a stress-free and safe environment where team members are not chained by the fears of judgment and speaking up. The more open and safe the work environment is, the better collaborative work you can get.
Step 5. Promote Creativity
Innovation is one of the most essential requirements for any organization. In a good collaboration strategy, innovation, and creativity are fostered well. In the same way, a space where creativity is encouraged is a space where collaboration will happen automatically.
A great manner of encouraging creativity at the workplace is conducting brainstorming sessions. Discussing ideas together, learning from some, writing creative briefs, and challenging others are great ways of building creativity. It also keeps the employees more involved and feels wanted at the company.
However, brainstorming sessions can also seem daunting for some individuals, especially if it is not scheduled and sprung on them out of nowhere. Therefore it is better to give prior information to the employees so that they can come prepared with their ideas.
Step 6. Define Team Goals
Your goals should include deadlines for the task or for each phase of longer projects. Consider creating a project brief with all key information that team members can sign at the beginning of the project.
Keeping a goal and building towards it every day is one of the best ways to improve productivity. A good collaboration strategy always has a clear and defined team goal. This team goal is not the end of the task or project, but an everyday assessment of where things are and where they should be.
Try to set measurable and quantifiable goals so that they know their objectives and how you’ll be evaluating their work. This will help you track the overall progress of your business and help you find out which areas require improvement.
Team goals should be communicated to a team and imbibed in them, every day that they are working. The goal is not only to finish a particular task for the day but to value what the team expects from its members.
From being productive to helping others and solving problems together, team goals are anything and everything in effective collaboration.
Step 7. Create a Good Process
Process-driven work is always more efficient than any other work. Discuss and build an effective process that will get the work done positively.
Spending time to build a good strategy will work wonders when the time for the actual work comes. A good process and strategy are always a boon for collaborative work.
It is important that you tell your employees exactly what you expect from them and the team, letting them in on the process of the task and how you expect them to go about it is a useful method of raising awareness amongst your employees and keeping them focussed towards the goals of the team.
Step 8. Reward Effective Collaboration
Recognizing and rewarding your employees for good teamwork and successful collaboration is a good method of fostering such behavior.
When employees recognize that their good work is being recognized, they tend to work better and more efficiently. Positive reinforcement is a tried and tested method of motivating and inspiring people.
Rewarding the types of behavior that the company prioritizes can also aid in the process you want to develop for the team. Motivated and inspired team members are always an asset to the team and the company.
You can reward the team members through a public (department-wide) email, a small lunch celebration, a gift card, or even small gestures like saying that you are proud of the way they have done their work.
Step 9. Share Insights, Resources, and Knowledge
Knowledge is power. Sharing of knowledge amongst your team members empowers your employees to contribute better to the task or project.
Virtual resources can also ease the burden on your employees and make them more adept at their work. The more resources that you provide, the easier the manual tasks would become and help you tackle the bigger issues.
Creating a safe space to share insights and feedback between team members, whether the space can be virtual or physical, will go a long way in building towards your goal. It will ensure that no one is slacking off and everyone remains constantly connected to the mission.
Step 10. Provide Regular Feedback
Before creating the teams for the task or project, you must understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. And this can only be achieved through direct communication and feedback from the employees.
Find out which of your employees work well together, and who wants to work with whom, who is better equipped to do a certain task, who wants to do a certain task.
Which members work well together and which ones do not collaborate well. This information is vital when you finally strategize how you are going to go about the task.
You also need to know the size of a team that employees are comfortable with. Some people like to have a small group of 2-4 people while others work better in a larger team. All this information can only be gained by gaining feedback from the employees.
Regular feedback during the task can also help you in understanding if a certain cog in the wheel is not moving well and foresee future issues that might arise and can be taken care of at once.
Step 11. Leverage Technology For Company’s Needs
In the era of technology, it would be foolish not to leverage them for your company’s needs. There are several workplace collaboration tools out there that make communication reliable and smooth.
Not just that, they provide a breeding ground for creativity and innovation, connect people in several locations, and simply make your collaboration efforts easier.
One such tool is Bit.ai, a modern solution for all your communication and collaboration needs. Want to learn more about Bit and its excellent features? Then scroll down to the next section right now!
Bit.ai: The Ultimate Tool for Collaboration
Bit.ai is a new-age document management and document collaboration tool that helps teams create, collaborate, share, track, and manage all company information in one place. It’s the perfect tool for teams to get work done without relying on several apps and complicated software.
With Bit, you can create smart workspaces around projects, teams, departments, and clients to keep your documents and data organized. Workspaces make it easy to collaborate and ensure that the right team members have access to the right documents at the right time!
Bit makes it easy for your entire team to work together intelligently across integrated smart documents. You can collaborate and work together with your co-workers from anywhere in the world via co-editing, inline comments, document chats, @mentions, and much more.
Bit’s superpower is that it helps you make sure your documents are more than just plain boring text. That means you can add any sort of rich media to your documents – be it YouTube videos, SoundCloud Playlists, Google Docs, One Drive Excel Spreadsheets, GIFs, Tweets, Pinterest boards, etc.
Bit also offers ‘smart search’ using which your employees can search and find any files, images, documents, etc quickly and easily across all of their workspaces. Moreover, Bit supports features like document tracking, password protection, file access restrictions, etc that help keep your important company information safe.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a small organization or a big firm or what kind of industry you are in, or the service you provide, at the end of the day, it is about the people and how they work together.
Businesses and organizations are not run by individuals but by employees working together as a collective, which is why effective collaboration is central to your company’s success.
If you can crack the code of making your employees collaborate well together, the rest of the work will just fall into place. Start now and take one step at a time towards effective collaboration and watch as your workplace becomes a hotbed for growth and innovation.
Bit.ai is the essential next-gen workplace and document collaboration platform. that helps teams share knowledge by connecting any type of digital content. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, anyone can work visually and collaborate in real-time while creating internal notes, team projects, knowledge bases, client-facing content, and more.
The smartest online Google Docs and Word alternative, Bit.ai is used in over 100 countries by professionals everywhere, from IT teams creating internal documentation and knowledge bases, to sales and marketing teams sharing client materials and client portals.