As colleges and universities transition to online courses and remote work because of COVID-19, everyone is asking the question: how are we going to improve workplace collaboration?
It takes time, space, and money to bring employees together. Although the benefits of increased collaboration are not always apparent at first, they become more visible over time. The core benefit of collaboration is the ability to share knowledge and expertise quickly and easily. This leads to better products and innovations, which drives better profitability, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction.
Tackling workplace collaboration relies on three things: your company culture, workspace, and technology.
Across these categories, we have identified a few tips that will help you improve workplace collaboration and help your institution to become more engaging, more resourceful, and more profitable.
1. Inspire from the top down
The number one thing that any leader can do to improve workplace collaboration is to lead by example. Instead of using mass emails, executives should begin using workplace collaboration tools when communicating with employees. This not only opens up new lines of communication from the bottom up, but also inspires employees to follow along and use these tools for their own projects.
2. Align around a shared vision and purpose
Collaboration has the benefit of opening up employees’ eyes to the larger role that they play within the organization, but the association also goes the other way. When employees understand the role they play in helping the organization meet its goals—and the role that collaboration plays to advance this purpose—they are more likely to make a meaningful contribution in the team setting.
3. Foster friendships
Employees are more likely to be willing to collaborate and provide each other with critical feedback when they have developed a close friendship. For example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%). Organizational leaders can help foster these friendships within the company culture by encouraging interaction.
4. Diversify the workspace
Some of the best workplace collaborations occur when employees have unplanned interactions at work. Instituions using employee engagement platforms during remote working create a better chance of these types of interactions, resulting in more creativity and energy and a greater likelihood that employees will collide and come up with the next great idea.
5. Connect with video
The benefits of video conferencing are stronger than ever. Video conferencing offers the capability of screen sharing so that coworkers do not need to be in the same room to share knowledge, information, or visuals and allows employees to build deeper personal connections without needing to spend the time and money flying across the country or around the world. The personal nature of seeing coworkers face-to-face on-screen helps foster those friendships that are so vital to workplace collaboration.
6. Leverage a corporate social network
Social networks can be helpful at not only fostering relationships between employees and connecting employees with management, but also sharing knowledge and expertise efficiently across an organization. Even some troubled companies have found that implementing or expanding usage of their social networks can play a key role in catalyzing workplace collaboration and returning to profitability.
7. Use an employee engagement platform
Employee engagement programs using platforms such as WeSpire cultivate cultural change to improve workplace collaboration. These platforms align employees around a shared purpose and vision, and foster the development of interpersonal relationships that make employees more comfortable engaging in collaborative activities. With these enterprise systems, employees are empowered to work together to make a positive impact on company results.
Download WeSpire’s white paper Why Technology Platforms Deliver Better Employee Engagement Results to learn more about using technology to improve employee engagement and improve workplace collaboration.