Tip of the Week: 7 Easy Ways to Encourage Collaboration in the Workplace

December 28, 2016

One of the most effective methods to boost employee productivity is to encourage your workforce to work together in order to achieve their goals. Workplace collaboration allows multiple employees to combine their efforts and energies into a common project, adding value to the final product and often completing it more quickly. The benefits don’t end there, either. Here are some of the other advantages gained by encouraging collaboration among your workforce.

Increased Efficiency
As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. With multiple people actively pursuing a common goal, progress toward that goal can move along much quicker than if a lone worker had to complete it independently.

Greater Engagement Between Employees
Workplace collaboration solutions tie the entire office closer together, even if some of your employees aren’t technically “in” the office. Connecting office employees with their remote-working teammates will help your remote workers feel like they are still involved and valued–and allow your in-house employees to benefit from their input as well.

Of course, your in-house team members can experience the positive effects of collaboration as well. Having employees share ideas also encourages them to build off of each other’s successes, and will often result in a sense of camaraderie among team members.

Initiating New Employees
One of the fastest methods for a new employee to learn what they are supposed to do is to learn it from an experienced coworker. The other method is to dive right into it. Collaboration solutions offer the opportunity for a new employee to do both as they and the more experienced team member work together to complete the task at hand.

These are just a few brief samplings of the many benefits a company can enjoy once collaboration has become a part of the office culture. The question now is, how does one go about encouraging collaboration in the first place?

Lead By Example…
First of all, if your employees see you extolling the benefits of collaborative work while never participating in it yourself, they are apt to disregard your recommendations and continue to go about their work on their terms. However, if you demonstrate the value of collaborative work by initiating it with your workers, you prove not only that it does present benefits to business operations, but also that you are serious about implementing it.

… but Know When to Step Aside
As a leader, you will need to be cognizant of when to back off and trust your employees to do what they have to do. Micromanaging a project and trying to force collaboration on your employees will result in the opposite effect that you were hoping for, wasting time and reducing their morale. Have faith that your employees are capable of doing the job you hired them to do with minimal direction.

Let Your Employees Speak Up
Make sure that your employees have a forum to voice their ideas and concerns. A big part of collaboration is the ability for each team member to contribute to solving problems that an organization encounters. Give them a way to share their ideas for improvement and acknowledge each idea as a viable option. This will bring the team closer and create a more cohesive workplace.

Demonstrate the Benefit to the Employee, Not Just the Company
Presumably, your workforce is made up of human beings, which means that at least some portion of them will, when presented with the idea of collaboration, think to themselves, “What’s in it for me?” This is not the time to focus exclusively on how internal collaboration will be of benefit to the company. You should also mention how much easier collaboration can make their jobs, making the benefits personal and professional, and in turn making them more likely to embrace collaborative work.

If you’ve found success in increasing collaboration in your workplace, let us know how in the comments below.

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