How to Improve Team Collaboration in 2020

The university I went to has a program called “Marketers of 2020”.

They started it in the early 70’s with the goal of creating marketers for the future (and not just for today). The program requires students to work together (collaborate) on projects that make an impact in the community before they’re allowed to graduate.

I’m not sure if they plan on changing the name (Marketers of 2100, anyone?) but it’s safe to say the future is happening now. And workplace collaboration is more important than ever before.

Teams are shifting to remote work and technology continues to turn regular workplaces into innovative hubs ready to take on the future. But collaboration is key even if your team isn’t working from home.

Regardless of your team’s work situation, collaboration is one of the best ways to improve workplace productivity, morale, and your bottom line. So, if you’re looking for proven strategies to improve team collaboration, you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started!

How to Improve Team Collaboration in 2020

1. Communicate Your Business’s Core Values

Your core values are the heart and blood of your business. Communicating these to your team helps ensure they know what you and your business value most.

Having a common purpose brings team members closer together and gives them a reason to engage with and value their work. The more engaged your employees are, the better deliverables they produce.

important-employee-engagement-engaged-employee-stats

Plus, when employees value their work, they have a reason to collaborate with other team members with a common purpose to get their job done well. And.. that pride in doing meaningful work brings your team even closer together.

2. Highlight and Reward Milestone Achievements

63% of employees who are recognized for their work say they’re less likely to try to find another job. So, rewarding your employees and teams for their strengths and accomplishments means they’re less likely to leave.

Which… is a great way to encourage team collaboration. The longer team members work together, the easier it is for them to engage and collaborate under a common goal to get things done.

When employees know they’ll be recognized for their hard work, they’re more motivated to exceed your expectations through teamwork and collaboration.

Furthermore, you can use employee strengths (and weaknesses) to your advantage by putting team members in positions where they’re most likely to thrive, succeed, and engage with their work.

3. Encourage Strong and Effective Communication

If your employees don’t know how to communicate with each other, collaboration becomes nonexistent. So, it’s important to encourage honest and effective communication regardless of the situation.

We’re not just talking about communication tools, either. Effective communication takes practice and in some cases, employee training. So, it’s important to take the time to foster an open and honest dialogue about team communication as a whole as well as developing a strategic communication plan.

Your end goal is a comfortable space where ideas flow freely and no one’s afraid to speak up, use their voice, and be heard.

It’s important to remember this applies to every type of communication from formal meetings to everyday interactions both within and outside the workplace.

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Image via Bit.AI

Keeping an open line of communication to everyone in your company encourages new ideas, innovation, and a collaborative effort on everyone’s part. Furthermore, this helps boost your team’s productivity as well.

4. Participate in Team Building Activities

70% of employed Americans aren’t committed to their job. They show up with no intentions of doing their best work and they generally don’t care about the work they do.

Furthermore, disengaged employees cost the US economy around $500 BILLION every year. So, this is a MASSIVE problem not only for you but for the economy of where you live as well.

If you think about it… why would someone who doesn’t care about their job want to collaborate with their coworkers? They wouldn’t and usually don’t. So, one of the best ways to improve team collaboration is getting everyone fully engaged.

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Image via Bit.AI

Organizing and actively participating in outside team-building activities often results in higher productivity, workplace engagement, innovation, and collaboration. Plus it helps bring your team closer together so collaboration will occur as second nature.

Rather than something that feels forced and unnatural.

5. Use the Right Productivity and Collaboration Tools

83% of professionals rely on some type of technology to collaborate with their team members and do their job well. So, it’s important to invest in the right productivity and effective collaboration tools for your business.

And you don’t have to spend a ton of money. The most important thing is finding the right collaboration stack for your team to rely on. This could be a Frankenstein of free tools or a single all-inclusive platform.

Some of the most popular collaboration tools include:

  • Trello, Asana, or Basecamp (project management)
  • Airtable (spreadsheets on steroids)
  • Google Drive, Calendar, and Hangouts
  • An integrated business VOIP system
  • Slack or Basecamp (for internal communications)
  • Zoom (for video calls and virtual meetings)
  • Monday.com’s remote work suite

6. Create a Creative and Open Company Culture

More than half (54%) of people say that strong company culture and sense of community makes them want to stay at their job. And encouraging creativity and freely flowing project collaboration pave the way for innovative ideas.

Even if your team is remote, a strong, healthy, and innovative workplace culture is important for the happiness of your team members and their willingness to collaborate together.

Yet… it’s something SO many companies get wrong (or ignore).

culture stats

Image via MMG

Think of creative ways you can engage your team members and create a sense of community within your team. This will make sure they stick around, are healthy and happy with the work they do, and work together as a unit rather than as individuals.

7. Hire (Or Promote) the Right Team Members and Leaders

hire the right people

95% of hiring today is done to fill empty positions. And most of those empty positions are empty because of someone voluntarily leaving the company. Furthermore, only around 30% of these vacant spots are filled through promotions and lateral moves.

So, it’s important to take a step back and think about the people you’re hiring in the first place. Hiring someone new off the street requires a lot more time and effort when it comes to training and ensuring they mesh well with the team.

But if that’s the route you want to go, take the time to see if they fit well within your company’s culture and the existing state of collaboration.

It’s important to look beyond their education and qualifications to ensure they share the same collaborative values.

On the other hand, promoting existing employees or laterally moving them to a new role is much easier. You already know they’re a good fit for the team and promotions/perks/rewards help build on your existing company culture.

8. Make Room for Flexibility and Innovation

73% of employees say flexibility in the workplace increases their level of satisfaction at work. Furthermore, 78% say that flexibility allows them to be more productive. This includes things like:

  • Unlimited vacation days
  • The option to work from home
  • Flexible hours
  • Shorter work weeks

It’s also important to consider ways to promote flexibility and innovation while at work. Do you allow your employees to bring their dogs to work? Can they go off-site (i.e. a restaurant or sports bar) to make their meetings more enjoyable? Do you offer tips and information they can use to be more productive when working from home?

How easy is it for team members to communicate in the office? What can you do to make their lives easier? One way to find out is by asking and listening to their feedback.

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Image via SlideShare

As the boss, it’s up to you whether you implement their responses or not but it’s important to hear what they have to say and learn how you can create a more positive experience.

Which… in turn results in collaborative, innovative, and happy employees.

9. Establish Clear Workflows

establish clear workflow

Workflows set the tone, pace, and method of getting things done. When you have concise workflows, it helps everyone get and stay on the same page making effective team collaboration easier on everyone involved.

With clear workflows (and the right project management tools), everyone on the team knows their role. And they know exactly what they’re supposed to do at every step in the process.

Although it takes time to establish these, they simplify complex tasks and ensure your team members collaborate and communicate with each other on a daily basis.

Your workflows should address things like:

  • Who assigns tasks and how
  • How deadlines are determined
  • What needs to happen before each deadline
  • Who’s going to make it happen
  • Where to store files/knowledge/etc.
  • Establishing a line of communication

What Strategies Are You Implementing Next?

Whether your business is brand new or you’ve got some serious skin in the game, improving team collaboration can be a game-changer for workplace morale, positivity, and your bottom line.

It’s no secret that happy employees are key to building a collaborative company culture. So, it’s important to consider taking the time to implement some of these strategies.

Which ones are you most interested in implementing first? Drop a comment and let us know how you plan to boost team collaboration within your business!

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