Social Learning

Collaboration brings innumerable business benefits. Here are the top strategies to improve it within your organization.

How to increase collaboration in your organization – best strategies

Collaboration, like collaborative learning, has innumerable business benefits. Collaboration increases employee productivity and job satisfaction, fosters innovation, improves knowledge retention, and much more. Even 33% of employees say their ability to collaborate makes them more loyal to an organization. 

In short, collaboration and collaborative learning strengthen organizations. And businesses are smart to offer a more collaborative culture and incorporate more collaborative opportunities. Here are the top strategies you can use to transform your organization into a collaborative one. 

Hire and develop collaborative leaders

When it comes to collaboration, things must start from the top. Leaders are responsible for setting the tone of workplace culture within organizations. If a leader works in a silo, then the chances are high that employees will follow suit. 

Siloed organizations are dangerous because they lead to employee disengagement, stagnation, and even duplicated efforts, which is why it’s all the more important to hire collaborative leaders. To identify good collaborative leaders, look for those who: 

  • Showcase a collaborative management style
  • Understand the importance of teamwork and knowledge sharing 
  • Are good communicators and convey concepts clearly and effectively 
  • Understand that their behavior acts as a model for employee behavior
  • Are committed to helping others improve

While it may be tough to determine a potential employee’s collaborative spirit during the hiring process, these things can help. You can also use this list to evaluate current leaders and use it as training opportunity to increase collaboration. 

And notice that the title of this section includes “development.” Once you find a leader who has a collaborative spirit, you will need to continue fostering it. And you’ll need to continue developing it throughout your organization. Ultimately, collaboration is set by the directives of a company and must be treated as a priority for it to have a lasting impact. 

Create opportunities for collaboration

A lot of employers think organic collaboration is enough for their organization. They have the belief that employees from different departments and teams will connect with each other by happenstance or by the water cooler.  

However, as organizations become more global and remote, these opportunities are becoming increasingly limited. Some organizations have tried to overcome this barrier by bringing employees back into the office, but this has done little to improve collaboration. 

Instead, it’s backfired as many employees have left for more remote and flexible opportunities. 64% of people say they would quit their job if asked to return to an in-person office. While some in-person connection can be good and has its benefits, leaving collaboration to happenstance is still problematic and unlikely to create impactful collaboration. 

The key is to create opportunities for collaboration. You can do this through in-person or virtual events, happy hours, or conferences. Virtual events are great because they have very little if any cost but can give you just as a collaborative effect as in-person ones. 

Having mandatory time that’s set aside for collaboration is extremely important. It will avoid interrupting the workday and increase the likelihood that employees will be more relaxed and engaged in collaborative work when time is designated for it. 

Use collaborative social tools

One of the best ways you can increase collaboration is through socially collaborative tools. This increases collaboration on a day-to-day basis instead of just once a quarter or year. Here are some great collaborative tools you can use: 

Collaborative Tool

How it creates collaborative opportunities: 

Instant messaging platforms

Instant messaging removes barriers to collaboration by making it easy to instantly connect with a colleague by sending them a simple text, video, link, or even document to collaborate on. Teammates can also often easily touch base through native video features. 

Learning Management System (LMS)

Learning management systems are best for creating collaborative learning opportunities. They may have one or more features such as virtual classrooms, breakout rooms, and digital whiteboards that make collaborative learning fun and accessible. 

Video conferencing software

Allows employees to set up virtual meetings and collaborate face-to-face, regardless of where they are working.

 

It’s believed that socially collaborative tools can increase productivity by as much as 25%. And not only that, but employees want them too. Nearly half of millennials want social tools for collaboration. And 83% of professionals say they depend on technology to collaborate. 

Socially collaborative tools can do a lot to keep an organization connected. Assess yours to see their effectiveness, or if you need to implement more. 

Incorporate team-building activities

Team building is a great way to encourage employees to build relationships with each other and deepen collaboration. Team building can be anything from virtual games, icebreaker questions, or simply just setting aside time for employees to chat with each other. 

Teambuilding helps to: 

  • Boost productivity. According to experts across industries, team building makes a long-term positive difference in employee productivity, even though it may take time away from work in the short term. 

  • Build trust among employees. When employees can get to know each other better and become more comfortable with spending time together, it helps to build trust and empathy. This helps to shift perspectives. Employees may realize that they’re part of a team with different ideas, thoughts, and input and that these differences can result in positive outcomes.

  • Improve communication. It can feel awkward to reach out to another employee that you have never worked with before or wouldn’t communicate with otherwise. Team building can facilitate those first-time conversations in a fun, lighthearted setting instead of a serious, work-focused one. This can improve communication down the road when these employees eventually work on a project together. Or it can lay the groundwork for innovation and collaboration in the future. 

  • Uncover leadership qualities. Sometimes team building activities can help management identify natural leaders. People who are put into groups often naturally fall into a group role, and if managers are watching carefully, they can see how different employees work together and use that information to foster leaders. 

Teambuilding can happen in a variety of ways. Virtually, in-person, or offsite – each option has its own benefits for increasing collaboration and deepening workplace relationships. However, virtual events are low-cost and effective, allowing for more frequent team-building activities. 

Create a collaborative feedback loop 

One of the best ways you can increase collaboration is by creating a feedback loop to discuss what’s working or not within an organization. Not only does this feedback loop benefit an organization by helping it make better decisions but it also increases employee happiness and job satisfaction. 

99.1% of people say they prefer a workplace where people identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively – wow! In addition to strengthening company culture, employee retention, and overall organizational strength, feedback like this can actually lead to innovation. 

When challenges are brought up openly, departments can work together to solve issues, and they generally do so in novel ways. As the old adage goes, "two heads are better than one.” This can alleviate burden on leadership, and foster solutions that save time and money. It can also lead to interesting new ideas, innovations, and products. 

Some ways that you can foster collaborative discussions: 

Collaborative discussion type

How to do it: 

Group Brainstorming

Group brainstorming is usually done in small teams, giving employees the opportunity to share their ideas and contribute directly to the discussion. In group brainstorming, everyone’s perspective is considered, and oftentimes, employees are given one task or challenge to solve. 

Cross-departmental

Employees from different departments across the company come together to share their thoughts, ideas, and feedback about a project or challenge. Insight across teams helps shift perspectives and gain essential feedback that can be applied to current and future projects.

Open discussion

Open discussions also generally occur in small but selection teams. Everyone is encouraged to give their input, regardless of their position (ignoring hierarchies). This form of discussion benefits from a variety of perspectives, not just top-down ones. 

Not all feedback you’ll get will be positive, and that’s ok. By creating a safe space for collaborative discussion, you’ll drive your company forward, foster innovation, and increase employee happiness for an overall better organization. 

A learning management system provides collaborative learning experiences without the hassle 

A learning platform can provide a collaborative learning experience without the hassle. Tovuti’s learning management includes virtual classrooms, event management tools, and a digital whiteboard so you can increase collaboration across your learners and organization, without having to host expensive in-person events. 

And with over 40 plug-and-play gamified features, leaderboards, and awards, you can engage your employees even more. Leverage the power of things like Tovuti’s Net Promoter Score to gauge employee satisfaction and get in front of issues before they cause dissatisfaction.

Increase collaboration in your organization, without the hassle

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