Companies expend lots of effort vetting collaboration tools and yet too often end up disappointed in their performance. Technology can be a great tool for facilitating collaboration, but company culture and management initiative are still the engine that drives it, especially at the beginning. Many changes are necessary in workflow and communication style that are frequently not comfortable for employees to accept. Priming the company to adapt to these changes is a key factor in facilitating a successful collaboration initiative.
We’ve collected tips from our bloggers to create a roadmap of steps you can take to improve collaboration in your company.
Click through for six steps that can help improve your collaboration initiatives.
Collaboration tools compel organizations to become less hierarchical in how they distribute information. This open communication style allows employees more insight into what is going on and helps them feel they are part of the business. Those that don’t adapt to this new way of communicating, which tends to facilitate more transparency and quicker decisions, will be left behind.
Ensure users know how to use the collaboration tools and encourage them to devise new uses for those tools through demonstrations and brainstorming sessions.
Encourage employees to embrace the collaborative tools by having managers recognize power users at an all-hands meeting or videoconference. Consider offering rewards such as gift cards.
Online collaborative tools can provide a great resource for connecting and tracking projects and initiatives, but there’s more out there. Look beyond online tools and consider ways to increase face-to-face collaboration. Creating a sense of community can be one of the most effective ways to increase innovation and collaboration.
Set expectations and clearly communicate those objectives to employees. Define processes to help users better perform their jobs, and establish mechanisms to clarify plans and identify conflicts. Monitor progress and issue regular reports.
Develop a policy that outlines what behavior is acceptable and the consequences should the policy be violated. Have employees sign to acknowledge that they’ve received it and read it, thereby avoiding situations later where an employee says he doesn’t understand why you’re disciplining him since he didn’t even know there was such a policy.