The Power of Team Collaboration in the Workplace

Here are some ways to harness the power of team collaboration and get your employees working smarter, harder, and most importantly, together:
09/17/2014 04:44 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Recent research by Cornerstone On Demand shows 38 percent of workers feel there is not enough collaboration in the workplace. Factors that would encourage collaboration, according to participants of the study, include positive recognition of input shared (50 percent), encouragement from senior staff (41 percent), ability to easily share input with different departments (33 percent), and more.

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Here are some ways to harness the power of team collaboration and get your employees working smarter, harder, and most importantly, together:

Online Collaboration Tools
Social media ties us all together in more ways than ever. Tweeting along with your favorite television shows and Instagramming pictures of your lunch aren't the only ways social media has taken flight. In the enterprise world, for instance, internal social media tools are making it easier for coworkers to connect and collaborate.

According to a survey, 75 percent of companies were using social collaboration tools in 2013. These tools can make it easier for employees to work remotely, for coworkers to ask quick questions without interrupting their workflow, and for your teams to share projects within the office and with outside contractors. These tools make it easy for even the busiest members of your team to stay in the loop.

Balance Collaboration and Focus
In order to get workers collaborating more fully, many companies are embracing the open office floor plan. There are many perks to this style of office, primarily the openness and transparency fostered between co-workers and departments. It's easier to work together when you have line-of-sight to your other team members and open rooms where collaboration can happen spontaneously.

A 2013 study by Gensler found 69 percent of workers were dissatisfied with the noise levels of their workplaces. Yet a study by MIT cited in the report claimed researchers were able to predict 35 percent of a team's performance simply by measuring the number and quality of face-to-face interactions. You need to give your employees room to focus and breathe, while also providing open spaces for collaboration. Make sure the design of your office strikes a balance between working solo and putting your best brains together.

Encourage Employees to Live the Brand
It's easier for teams to throw their all into projects if they understand exactly what they're working towards. Don't be shy about communicating with your teams, and they'll find it easier to communicate with each other.

Make the mission statement of the company central and make sure all collaboration efforts align with your company's values. Once employees start living the company brand, they'll have an easier time collaborating around projects and working toward central goals.

Foster Creativity
Your best people are creative problem solvers and big idea dreamers. So help them cut loose and listen to their imagination. Make creativity a focal point of your company culture by encouraging employees to cultivate ideas, especially in a collaborative environment. Set up regular brainstorming sessions and get everyone involved.

Always leave your door open for great ideas, no matter what section of the company the idea is coming from. Form interdisciplinary teams and allow employees to try completing new tasks to better understand how the company runs. Provide professional development and even plaster your office with whiteboard, so there's always a writing surface for when inspiration strikes.

Great companies know the value of collaboration and understand how to foster it within teams and departments. It's time to harness the power of collaboration and turn your workforce into a team of superhero employees.