Collaboration 101: How to Build a Collaborative Team & Culture
The digitization of the modern workplace has changed the way we work forever.
12:05 28 October 2021
But for all the benefits gained from digital transformation, such as efficiency and agility, we are also faced with a new set of problems. Say that you're setting up a new team that has moved away from a traditional office space and works as an office-remote hybrid. How do you ensure that you continue to boost productivity, operate seamlessly and achieve your goals? What are the main issues you face in molding your scattered, individual team members into one tight, functional unit?
Modern Problems for a Modern Workforce
Picture your morning routine: you’ve decided upon your strategy for the day and held a web conference meeting with your team. You then log off to concentrate on your own area of the project.
How can you be sure that a team member understands not only what they need to achieve as individuals but what the rest of the team is contributing to the process? 86% of employees and executives blame poor communication and a lack of collaboration for workplace failures. So how do you ensure that you don’t fall into this most avoidable of traps?
Building a collaborative team geared for success is not only a matter of implementing the most advanced technology such as LED screens or high quality video conference equipment; it’s also about fostering a collaborative culture within your workplace. When your team is as likely to be working from their home as in a centralised building, it’s crucial that your workforce feels as much a part of the team in their living room as in your office. So how do we begin to build a team and culture that thrives on good communication and cross-team collaboration? The answer lies as much in working practices as it does technology.
Strategies For Building Collaboration
Building a collaborative team and culture allows your company to process improvement strategies and relay information rapidly. However, it also benefits your team as individuals. The potential for unseen conflict amongst your team members is huge when they don’t always work face-to-face. This can have a huge impact on team morale.
Effective communication and collaboration results in a450% retention rate for a collaborative team. This makes it vital to the welfare of your business and employees to develop a collaborative culture that makes talking and listening to one another as straightforward as possible. This is not as complicated in a remote environment as it may first appear. There are steps you can take to make certain that you can build a team and culture that not only allows you to achieve your goals, but does so as part of a team that works smarter and quicker than ever before.
Choose Your Communication Platforms Carefully
It may seem obvious, but clear and concise communication results in precise and productive projects. The first task for any digitized workplace should be to install communication platforms that are easy to use and allow you to collaborate with your colleagues in real-time. Of course, choosing the right online meeting solution for your start-up should not be a solely managerial decision. It is better to work with your colleagues to decide the tools they need to do the job to the best of their ability.
Consider the demographic of the team you are assembling when you make your choice. With over 60% of millennial employees preferring visual communications, it’s best to make decisions about which platforms you use with the preferences of your team in mind. Visual platforms may be more expensive than audio, but they have more features. But which is the best fit for you?
There are two main varieties of visual communication platforms, each with their own particular benefits to your business. Web conferencing software allows users to give a presentation directly to their colleagues’ screens, which can then be easily shared amongst your collaborative team. Video conferencing is a much more interactive platform, with the ability for screen-sharing and instant messaging. These methods of communication not only ensure a fast and fluid working environment but also provide a much-needed human connection in a digitized, post-Covid world.
Consistency Is Key
So you’ve decided upon the best virtual meeting platforms for your business - what happens next? Your onboarding process is the first opportunity you will have to train your colleagues how to get the most out of their tools - and as opportunities go, there are none bigger. Say that you decide to use a unified communications tool such as a business VoIP phone; you will get the most out of the program’s features if your team uses it across the board. The more consistent and uniform your team’s communication methods are, the smoother your projects will run.
While the systems you choose should be easy to use, it’s essential to train everybody in the team to use them well. Passing on information should be a quick process - use your onboarding process to upskill your team from day one. Everybody has different learning experiences and speeds, so train your team at a pace they're comfortable with. The important thing is to make sure that their communication is consistent and reliable.
Consider Your Collaborative Strengths (and Play to Them)
Just as every team member learns at different speeds, they also bring different skills and qualities to the table. The main difference between a regular workforce and a collaborative team is that each team member is already an expert in their own field. After all, this is why you wanted to collaborate with them! Each team member has their own strengths. The key to your success is to place them in the positions where they will be most effective.
Studies show that a team that feels motivated to work towards a common goal can increase their productivity by 500%. Make sure every team member not only understands what their own specific role is, but also what the other team members are contributing towards your tasks and projects. Daily morning meetings are a great way of gathering a team together online. Use them to explain exactly what each member is going to achieve for that day. The potential for conflict and resentment shrinks when your team knows what their colleagues are doing to help them achieve their goals.
A Team In Every Sense Of The Word
By now you’ve implemented your systems, held your web conferencing collaboration sessions and your team is working harmoniously. You’ve successfully set up a collaborative team and culture; so what’s the next step? This will be the longest and most vital stage of all: you need to make sure that you continue to grow together as a unit. As the above graph shows, a happy team is a productive team.
54% of team members believe that a strong sense of community is a huge factor when deciding to stay with a company. A company with a high employee engagement level is twice as productive as employers lacking this quality. Your collaborative team are both individuals and a collective whole, so it’s helpful to foster a great team spirit outside of the workplace to bring them together as people. While this may sound tricky in a remote, digitised setting, your communication systems can make things incredibly simple.
Using a high-quality visual platform with the right combination of equipment such as a good microphone set up or a decent webcam light can make team quiz nights and virtual social outings feel like the real thing. Embracing this simple social interaction can improve workplace communication by50%. Help new team members to buy into your company’s ethics from their first day by making yourself always available for a quick phone call about crucial work matters or a friendly chat. Choose the best free conference call service for your company’s needs and instantly communicate with any colleague, any time, anywhere. Through simple but effective communication, you can not only build a great collaborative team - you can build a great collaborative culture.
A Team Built For Success
You’ve built a collaborative team full of talented individuals. You've built a great team spirit. You've installed the best technology to help you stay connected. What do you do from here? The answer is simple: you keep communicating, keep creating and keep collaborating. After all, you should already be starting to reap the rewards of your approach.
It’s impossible to overstate the benefits of this approach to collaborative working. The emotional well-being of your team can increase by a humongous 80% just by showing each other respect and giving regular feedback. Surveys show that the defining feature of good collaboration is direct communication.
So, keep growing as a company and a team. Keep investing in the best communication software and systems for your company’s needs. Continue to set out your goals and targets with your team, and explain how you can best help each other to meet them. Continue to celebrate each other not only as team members in the office, but as individuals outside of it. Most of all, continue to communicate with each other. A team that knows how to talk and listen is one that grows together.
Jenna Bunnell - Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system with cloud PBX solutions that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.