Collaboration allows your company to maximize productivity and effectiveness on a companywide and individual level. Collaboration and communication go hand in hand, as your team needs effective communication skills to collaborate on shared goals. Foster collaborative communication, and your company will build a teamwork-focused environment, especially when you get every team member to actively collaborate.
Of course, your company has to develop and continuously work toward collaborative communication, using several strategies to build and maintain collaborative teams.
How to foster communication and collaboration in the workplace
Effective collaboration and communication improve productivity, efficiency, and problem-solving skills. To create and maintain a collaborative work environment, you need time, dedication, and strategies.
Consistently share your company's mission
Everyone needs a daily purpose — a reason to come to work. Your company's mission should be a driving force toward success for every individual employee. Keep your mission statement simple yet compelling to inspire team members to show up with passion. The more passionate your team is about your company's overall mission, the more likely people are to work together toward that mission.
Bring your mission up frequently to keep it on team members' minds. With a relevant mission, your team can easily remember what they're working for when facing challenges or serving clients.
Define collaboration expectations
Define what collaboration looks like for each person on your team
Team members should also understand expectations for their individual roles. To ensure team members know they should collaborate, emphasize this expectation and define when and where they should use collaboration.
Clarify what collaboration looks like for each person's role. Including these expectations in job descriptions and onboarding processes helps team members understand their roles from the start.
For instance, you might clarify that your sales team should complete sales calls individually, but they're expected to collaborate on sales pitches and presentations.
Set team goals
Set and regularly review team goals. Teams that share goals are more motivated to work toward those objectives together. Keep goals concise, attainable, and measurable so teams can track progress and celebrate wins together. Company-wide goals also encourage team members to put their personal efforts toward the desired outcome. Emphasize that group wins are only possible with collaboration from everyone.
Review your team's goals regularly and continually set new objectives to push team members to new heights. Highlight current goals at team meetings and evaluate progress weekly to remind your people what they're working toward.
A collaborative team is also creative, so encouraging creativity helps foster collaboration. Cultivate a judgment-free environment where team members feel comfortable openly asking questions and brainstorming. Encourage team members to embrace creativity and regularly make space for them to create together. Team members who bounce ideas off each other collaborate more effectively.
When team members can safely make suggestions and contributions, they'll feel like they impact the company's success. With this mindset, team members will contribute and participate more to decision-making and creative thinking.
Utilize team members' strengths
Every team member has a unique skill set that'll benefit collaboration. Consider each person's strengths and assign tasks that allow them to use those skills. Also, consider how your people can use their strengths in their roles and collaborative settings. Pair team members together based on their strengths and how they can help each other reach goals.
Show appreciation for team members' strengths and how they're valuable for collaboration. Accomplishment recognition goes a long way on companywide and individual levels.
Additionally, provide opportunities for your people to continue building their strengths. Offer training courses or incentivize continued learning.
Create a sense of community
Foster a sense of community by encouraging team members to connect on topics like family, hobbies, or sports
Collaboration is stifled when team members are closed off from each other and don't interact outside of work. Create a sense of community to bring team members together beyond work responsibilities, increasing the likelihood of work-related collaboration. Encourage team members to connect about topics unrelated to work, like family, hobbies, or sports, and they'll be more likely to connect for work needs.
An environment where team members feel supported and comfortable communicating with each other is an environment where collaboration can flow freely.
Teach communication and collaboration skills
Encouraging effective communication and collaboration does no good unless your team members know how to use those skills. Some of your people may know what they should do but never learn how to put it into practice. Teach team members how to communicate and collaborate and provide resources to better equip them to work together.
A dedicated learning team or your human resources department should continuously train team members to engage in purposeful communication, appreciate others in the workplace, resolve conflicts, and develop other skills necessary for effective collaboration. Make this part of your onboarding process and offer ongoing learning resources on the topic.
Demonstrate collaborative communication
If team members don't see leadership practicing what they preach, they're less likely to collaborate themselves. Demonstrate collaborative communication in your daily work by honing skills like openness and active listening. Your team will look to you and other leaders for guidance when fostering collaboration. Lead by example, and as you implement collaborative communication into your workflow, those values will trickle down to your team.
Prioritize open communication
Open employee communication gives team members space to contribute and share ideas. Whether in one-on-one meetings or team meetings, prioritize communicating openly with each other to improve productivity and teamwork. When team members can communicate openly, they're more likely to collaborate freely and successfully.
Schedule weekly or monthly meetings to connect with teams and give them opportunities to communicate concerns or new ideas.
Leverage collaboration tools
Whether your team operates under a hybrid, in-person, or remote work model, invest in digital collaboration and communication tools so team members can collaborate from anywhere. A digital workspace advances your company's processes and is a central space for team collaboration. From content storage and sharing to communication and management, collaboration tools enable your team to work together on projects from start to end.
Effective collaboration tools allow your people to access and collaborate on content regardless of their location, increasing productivity and connectedness. That connectedness helps you build a community in your workplace, especially if some of your people work remotely or hybrid and others are in-office.
Combine the above tips in your tool-implementation strategy. For instance, discuss how you expect your people to use collaboration tools — what app should they use to send quick messages? How should they collaborate on documents or other projects?
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