What is collaboration? It is essentially how a large organization communicates. Both within the organization as well as externally. An enterprise in the 21st Century needs collaboration. Getting a collaborative platform or software is not enough; although good ones like Teamviewer can really help you get ahead. But more importantly, you need a shift inside your organization’s culture. So how do you start making this shift? This piece will try to explain how you can increase enterprise-level collaboration from the ground up.
Why do Enterprises need Collaboration?
Over the last 10 years, the enterprise collaboration tools industry has grown substantially. It is a response to the need for collaborative platforms within organizations. Why do organizations need collaboration? There are two demonstrable benefits to enterprises that implement collaboration. According to this Inc.com:
- Internal collaboration: Increases productivity through video conferences, wikis, social tools, and other available.
- External collaboration: Increase innovation with partners, vendors, and customers. You can do this through social tools, blogs, forums and webinars that get you valuable feedback
Let’s talk statistics.
A recent survey of almost 300 organizations suggests there are a number of benefits to enterprise collaboration. Two of the most significant benefits are:
- 49% improvement on average of the collaborating workforce
- 53% improvement in customer service key indicators
Culture is just as Important as Tools
As I mentioned above, there are a large number of collaboration platforms and tools out there. You can take your pick of any of them. But one fact remains either way. Collaborative tools are not a packaged solution for your team to immediately start collaborating.
Technology lets you collaborate, but it cannot make your employees collaborate. This is where the shift in culture becomes important. You need to address the internal communication culture in your organization. You need to turn people into transparent and generous information resources.
Obviously, you can’t change your organization’s culture overnight. You need to have your organization working under this new culture every day for there to be a positive shift. Once you have that culture shift, you can start educating your workforce on the collaboration software or platform you choose.
How Can I Increase Collaboration in my Organization?
There are a number of challenges to overcome if you want your workforce to collaborate efficiently. For one thing, you need to forge bonds between different teams and team members. You need to establish a culture of collaboration. A culture that encourages communication and success. But how do you do that? Here are six ways you can try to work on collaboration across your organization:
- Team building exercises
- Efficient team collaboration software
- Streamlining business processes
- Employee communication
- Trust building and dependence
Let’s have a more detailed look at each tip.
Team Building Exercises
Team building exercises, especially games, are a fun way to encourage collaboration. They serve to build new relationships are well as strengthen old ones. There are a number of ways you can encourage team building games and exercises in your organization. One way is to encourage a favorite team sport like:
- Water Polo
- Disc Golf
But sports aren’t the only option available to you. Some problem-solving exercises that require team effort can work just as well. An example of one such exercise is the building block game.
You need an instructor that can build a sculpture from building blocks out of sight of your team. Divide your team into groups of three or four. Next, give them the building materials as the instructor and ask them to replicate the sculpture. One team member gets 20 to 30 seconds to look at and memorize the sculpture.
The team member should then come back and instruct the rest of the team on how to build the sculpture. After 5 minutes, a second team member can take a look at the sculpture and the process continues. Repeat the exercise until one group successfully replicates the instructor’s sculpture.
What do such exercises build? Team building efforts help:
- Develop trust in other team members
- Build group problem-solving skills
- Break barriers between individual team members
- Encourage efficient communication
Efficient Team Collaboration Software
Having collaboration software is the best way to improve collaboration and productivity. These platforms serve to store and share information. Team collaboration software also helps by getting the right information to the right people. Trainee employees can access training videos and resources through the software. Sales managers can track the sales team’s performance and make improvements.
The idea is to make it easy for your employees to find relevant people and information. This is very useful when it comes to cross-department collaboration. Especially in multi-national organizations. Good collaboration software lets your workforce find information about:
- Internal business tasks
- Changes in policies
- New ideas
- Queries and relevant answers
- Pipeline projects
- Group activities
Streamlining Business Processes
The global employee retention rate is at an all-time low, despite unemployment and inflation on the rise. Why? Mainly because of business goals and how to achieve them are not clear to the employee. This is where sharing information can really help you retain your employees. All while improving collaboration between them.
You need to get your employees to give you feedback on your business processes. Feedback can help streamline these processes and improve collaboration between teams. Feedback, if implemented, also instills a sense of purpose and importance among your employees. Encourage your teams to brainstorm and come up with ways to streamline their respective business processes.
Internal communication within your organization is key to increase collaboration. Unfortunately, this is not a priority when budgets are drawn up. Yet it can mean the difference between your organization’s success and failure. Having bright individuals in your organization is not enough. You need them to be a cohesive and active part of your organization.
Here’s how you can encourage better internal communication among your employees:
- Encourage them to share information with others. Especially information that can help transparency in processes and individual employees.
- Get your managers to lead by example when it comes to communication, whether top-down or bottom-up.
- Use the right collaboration software to encourage information sharing and increase workforce productivity.
As an organizational head or manager, you are in a unique position to engage with your employees. Engagement is a much better tool than endless paperwork, meetings, and presentations. You need to engage with your employees and get them to engage with one another as well. The first impression you give your employees goes a long way to create a positive culture.
There are a number of ways to encourage employee engagement, such as:
- The flexibility of working from home, which encourages employee productivity and happiness
- Group events and activities like the ones we discussed above
- Mentorship programs for new employees to adjust to the positive environment in your organization
Trust Building and Dependence
For any organization to succeed, you need to build a sense of trust and dependence among your teams. This helps build an environment similar to a community that encourages synergy. To achieve team success, you need individuals to work together as a team.
Thriving on each other’s success as well as a healthy dose of competition keeps things running smoothly. Employees need to understand they can’t single-handedly get their department or team to achieve success. There needs to be trust, communication, and cooperation between all members of a team or department. Make them understand what they can contribute to the success or failure of your organization.
You can’t realistically expect your organization to become a model of collaboration overnight. You need to take baby steps. Start by providing your employees the support and space they need to connect with other employees. Encourage idea generation and help employees collaborate on ideas to make them grow. Collaboration doesn’t start and end with a tool or software. You need to build a framework that encourages efficiency, productivity, and innovation.
digital tablet looking away outside the building