Collaboration and idea-sharing is the name of the game for most businesses today. Organizations have realized that this is key to innovation and success.
A 2016 Neilsen report found that “ideas developed by teams of three or more people have 156 percent greater appeal with consumers than those developed by teams where just one or two people have played a hands-on role.”
Luckily, collaboration has its place in every area of your business, from onboarding to ideation. But to make it integral in the way the business runs, you need to create a collaborative environment in every area of the workplace. Use these ideas to think outside of the box and develop a culture of collaboration in your workplace.
Nurture Collaboration Skills
Not everyone is a born collaborator, and for some, the burden of communicating regularly in large groups or collecting everyone’s feedback is enough to avoid it altogether: “It turns out that many people are hesitant to collaborate for fear of inviting more hassle and work. This ‘tax’ associated with collaboration is felt most strongly by project leaders and owners who are in charge of gathering input, negotiating feedback and managing any conflict that arises in the process,” according to same 2016 Neilson report.
HR departments can help nurture collaboration, and make it easier, by putting software, programs and opportunities in place for employees.
Make it happen: Use a poll to collect data on the major collaboration pain points in your organization. This will provide telling data about what you can do it make it easier, whether that’s creating a conference room calendar or implementing a better file sharing system.
Create a Consistent Collaboration Process
Collaboration can happen in a desk-side conversation or over lunch on a Friday, but that’s not always the case. One way to make it an important part of your company culture is to create processes that help employees facilitate collaborative opportunities.
For example, you may want to make sure that every meeting or collaboration session ends with a feedback form that everyone involved will use.
“Teams require more involvement than mere work. Team collaboration is work plus interpersonal dynamics. And a huge component of those dynamics is feedback. After all, teamwork is a process in which complementary skills intertwine. This process cannot happen without feedback and holding each other accountable,” according to 3 Easy Steps to Optimize Team Collaboration.
Bonus: This also makes collaboration more effective, ensures everyone is on the same page and makes the process about more than just ideation. It’s about finding ways to work effectively with others—if you don’t, your feedback will show it.
Make it happen: Create a collaboration session checklist for teams to use post-meeting. This can be used before, during, and after as a way to ensure productivity and efficiency.
Host Collaborative Events
If collaboration is stagnant in your workplace, build momentum by hosting collaborative events each quarter. These give employees a specific time and place to work together, which may be the encouragement they need to bring it into their everyday work as well.
What’s more, these events will help build a sense of community and communal spirit while driving home the idea that your workout is a collaborative one.
Make it happen: Plan at least one collaborative event a quarter, and consider gamifying it to drive engagement and excitement. For example, host a competition where groups come up with ideas specific to a new company initiative and winners get lunch on the company dime.
Train The Leaders
Building a culture of collaboration starts with leadership. As with anything else in business, the “buy in” needs to be top-down; executives should be encouraging, facilitating and participating in collaborative opportunities as often as possible.
“As a leader, you decide when to seek collaboration, who to bring together and the ground rules to leverage their best talents and strengths. So release some of that control. Collaboration leads to innovation—and that’s what great leaders do,” suggests Amy Fox, CEO and Founder of Accelerated Business Results.
Make it happen: Enroll members of leadership in management training specific to collaboration, where they’ll learn how to facilitate effective group projects and give feedback that encourages their employees to participate more often.
Create a Collaborative Company
You can nurture company collaboration, from onboarding to events, to make it an important part of your workplace culture. Use the tips and ideas above to keep employees working together.
About the author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more.