Creating a collaborative business culture entails finding the balance between individual satisfaction and team cohesion. Not only does a collaborative environment tie into the broader business brand, but it also impacts productivity and profitability.
Here are five tips for nurturing a collaborative business environment that promotes better teamwork and support for all involved.
Simplify Information Sharing
The easier it is for team members to share information with one another, the less often communication gaps will occur. Choosing the right tools and apps can help teams share important updates that help everyone stay on the same page — especially in a remote business model.
There’s a fine balance between choosing tools that help, and selecting so many elaborate systems that it hinders communication. Sticking to the basics and starting with one or two key systems is beneficial when promoting cross-team collaboration. Implementing a core system that integrates with other tools can also help streamline the workflow.
For example, G Suite allows for live document editing and cloud storage. There are also complementary systems and integrations that will enhance communications. Faxing with Google, working with Google Assistant and updating projects online are good examples of this.
Set Clear Communication Protocols
Education and transparency are everything when it comes to promoting a collaborative business culture. Etiquette and guidelines are largely subjective and can vary from person to person and culture to culture. As remote work and diverse teams become the norm, it’s important to be clear about expectations surrounding communication.
Set expectations about response time and communicating delays. Be sure that everyone understands the time zone differences and sets boundaries that they’re comfortable with. Outlining policies and reviewing them with each member of the team can help keep everyone grounded while working from a place of compassion and understanding.
Create Individual And Team-Based Goals
Having shared goals can create a sense of connection between team members. There’s nothing more engaging than sharing a win as a team. Set short and long-term progress goals for projects and the business at large. These could pertain directly to revenue generation or company passion projects, such as creating a fund for a good cause.
It’s also important to nourish the individual within the team. Leaders should set aside time to understand what motivates each individual team member and identify what support they will need to reach their individual goals. The happier each individual member is, the better the team will become overall.
Take A Holacratic Approach
The term “holacracy” is a recent buzzword in the business world. This unique business structure removes the traditional pyramid-style hierarchy, instead opting for a level playing field that promotes autonomy.
While reformulating your business model might not be the right choice at this time, there are plenty of team-oriented learnings to take from the holacratic approach.
Start team meetings with a round table that asks everyone to bring forth any issues they want to discuss or updates they want to provide. This is a quick bullet point list that formulates the agenda, ensuring everyone gets the time they need.
Empower each individual to outline their problem and the proposed solution. They should feel comfortable saying what they need and from whom with clarity. Then, allow the called-upon person to respond with what solutions they can provide and what barriers are in the way.
Finally, finish with clear action items and deadlines to close the meeting.
Use Unstructured Team Building
Teams benefit from having non-work-related conversations. However, with so many teams working from home or from remote locations, gathering around the water cooler during a break is no longer an option.
Leadership can foster a collaborative culture by providing unstructured time to catch up and learn more about one another outside of work. Incorporate a virtual coffee break each week and pair different groups of team members together with ice breakers, or set a Friday happy hour in which everyone can unwind and sign off for the week.
The keys to creating a collaborative work environment include autonomy, satisfaction, and understanding. By improving communications and getting everyone on the same page, your business will become more productive and profitable.