How to Increase Collaboration at Work: 4 Useful Steps

Successful organizations are those that foster a collaborative work culture, but fully 86 percent of leaders and team members believe a lack of teamwork leads to project failure and team conflict.

Collaboration is crucial to your team’s success but how can you increase collaboration at work? Organizations consist of team members who possess a wide variety of skills, so team leaders must understand how to leverage these skills to benefit their employees’ development and the organization’s strategic goals.

What Are the Benefits of Successful Collaboration?

Organizations that are successful in fostering a collaborative work environment are driven to achieve common goals. This sense of unity fuels the following benefits:

  • Better performance: Teams that work together synergistically perform at a 5 times higher rate than teams that struggle with collaboration.
  • Higher retention: Businesses that communicate effectively are 5 times more likely to retain their top performers.
  • Higher profitability: Teams that successfully collaborate experience a 21 percent increase in profitability.
  • Lower absenteeism: Collaborative teams experience a 41 percent decrease in absenteeism.

4 Ways to Improve Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaboration is more than having amicable relationships with colleagues. To achieve a collaborative workplace environment, team leaders must establish strategies tailored to the skillsets and responsibilities of their team members.

Here are four helpful steps to improve collaboration in your workplace:

1.    Understand the Strengths & Weaknesses of Each Team Member

To strategize effective ways to foster collaboration, leaders must first understand who their team members are.

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How can you leverage their strengths to foster collaboration?
  • Could one person who possesses a specific set of expertise train another team member on those skills?

Team members can learn a lot from one another; it’s up to leaders to assess where and how they can make this happen. Doing so can break down silos and help individuals feel more confident in reaching out to their colleagues.

Not to mention, as change is inevitable in business, understanding how to leverage people’s strengths is key to building adaptable teams that are confident about tackling transitions head on. Teams focusing on strengths each day have 12.5 percent greater productivity.

2.    Improve Communication

Organizations that excel at communication are 50 percent more likely to experience lower employee turnover. With better communication, you can build a stronger sense of community and team morale.

The term communication is pretty broad. For leaders, communication is about keeping team members on the same page and helping them work together to discover innovative solutions.

Establishing a culture of effective communication requires leaders to work towards the following goals:

  • Help team members build connections. By understanding your team members’ strengths and weaknesses, you can identify how they can work together. For example, if one of your team members has strong presentation skills, you can pair that person with a team member who struggles in that area. Perhaps they can work together on a project that involves a presentation. The employee who possesses good presentation skills can mentor their colleague throughout the project.
  • Create a healthy feedback culture. Feedback is pivotal to communication and promotes open and honest dialogue among team members. More importantly, it helps individuals learn and grow. The key to building a healthy feedback loop is in incorporating real-time feedback in addition to your annual performance reviews. Real-time feedback utilizes day-to-day guidance to help employees correct their behavior and improve their performance. Incorporating regular one-on-one meetings with your team members can be a great way to get started.
  • Foster transparency. Be up front with your team members about the issues and challenges your organization is facing and encourage them to offer solutions. You can even consider providing incentives for their suggestions. This can help build trust and create an open community where people aren’t afraid to speak up, regardless of their role or title.

3.    Streamline Technology

Roughly 83 percent of team members rely upon technology to collaborate. As more businesses and employees adapt to a remote work culture, achieving a collaborative team environment is becoming more difficult.

Rest assured, using the right technology can help bridge the gap between employees.

These business tools should aim to

  • Streamline the workflow processes of all team members onto one platform.
  • Provide a bird’s-eye view of projects and the progress being made on them.
  • Help employees get their operational tasks finished faster so they can have more time to focus on strategic projects.
  • Allow team members to easily communicate with each other.

Online collaboration tools can enhance productivity by as much as 30 percent. Here are a few recommended tools to help you get started:

  • Slack: A messaging app that allows teams to communicate with one another.
  • Asana: A project-management app that helps professionals work together on tasks and hit deadlines.
  • Dropbox: A cloud-based storage service that lets individuals save and share files online.
  • Google Drive: Another cloud-based storage service that allows teams to save and share files online.
  • Trello: A visual collaboration tool that helps teams organize and manage their projects.

4.    Make the Right Adjustments to Your Company Culture

As you’re working with your teams to build a more collaborative environment, be sure these ideas and strategies are reflected in your company culture. Since collaboration is rooted in the belief that a sense of community and care achieves impactful results, these values must be cascaded and demonstrated throughout the organization.

When employees’ values are aligned with the values of their company, team members are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and fulfillment. Work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express what collaboration means to them and how they can better achieve it. This will help to support a solid culture of collaboration.

Prioritize Collaboration Today

Build a safe, engaging, and collaborative work environment by looking into CMOE’s High-Performance Teamwork and Conflict & Collaboration workshops. If you need help understanding the current health of your team, review our Team Alignment Survey™. Our workshops are designed to help you strategize methods that can improve the alignment of your teams and encourage individuals to collaborate.

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About the Author

CMOE Team

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.