Inspire teamwork with just a few easy-to-implement techniques.
An essential building block of any company’s success, collaboration (or lack thereof) can make or break a team. Collaboration is also a major part of work place culture, which is increasingly important for attracting new job applicants when your company is ready for more growth. But collaboration doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes you need to intentionally set the stage for collaborative efforts to bloom, inside and outside of the commonly pre-established teams and departments. Here’s how:
Address internal communication in your company policies
Essentially, you’ll be establishing some ground rules for how you and your employees agree to interact with one another. In doing so, you will make it clear that contributions will be met with respect, thus fostering a safe environment in which all of your employees are encouraged to participate.
Expand the horizons
When it comes to collaborative projects, conversations and brainstorming sessions are generally kept with departments or small teams. Instead, open up your broader meetings interdepartmentally (including your receptionist!) to get well-rounded feedback and ideas, and to help illustrate how work flows from one department to another.
Don’t lose sight of the common goal
At many companies, employees find satisfaction with employers that share an aligned goal. If your startup is an organization full of employees that share such a commonality, make it a point to remind them of it through motivational stories. For startup owners worried that their employees lack a common goal on an organizational level, you can still strive for it within projects.
Re-think your décor
Your physical office space has the potential to work in your favor when it comes to collaborative efforts. Make sure you have communal areas set up for breaks, dining, or just to work away from a desk for a while. Foot traffic and conversation will flow naturally through these areas, building bonds between your employees.
Remember to include your remote employees
As a startup in today’s world, there’s a chance that some of your employees work remotely, making it difficult to integrate them into your collaborative efforts. But it absolutely can be done! With all of the video conferencing software available today, there’s no reason why remote employees couldn’t “attend” all the meetings and brainstorming sessions. You can take it a step further by scheduling meetings that fit with their time zone as well, or record your meeting and send it to them to watch later.
Collaboration will come easily to employees who are also friends with one another. Offer some outlets for these friendships to form. Happy hours are an excellent choice, as they combine discounted drinks with unwinding from (the same) workday. And as an employer, this is a good venue to get to know your colleagues on a level playing field, without the obvious hierarchy of the workplace.
Lead by example
If you want to inspire collaboration amongst your staff, you will need to display firsthand the qualities you value to be supportive of collaboration. Whether it be honesty, supportiveness, or genuineness, live your values and your employees will follow suit.
Once you’ve implemented some elements to boost collaboration, give it time to take hold. After all, relationship building is a significant part of collaboration, and that doesn’t happen overnight. If the effects don’t become as apparent as you’d expect, send a survey to your team to get some honest feedback about what’s working and what could be improved. They’ll appreciate that you’re listening and making the effort, effectively collaborating with them and being an exemplary employer.