By Phil Maurer. Published 1. August 2016.
If you want to create a strong culture of collaboration across departments, the key is to promote an office culture that allows collaboration to integrate naturally into your work environment. While this may sound like a tall order, there are steps you can take to encourage social collaboration to blossom. Here are a few.
Social collaboration tools are a valuable asset for creating an internal community and streamlining communication channels across multiple devices. It’s important to note, however, that even the best technology and software cannot be the primary driving force behind collaboration; it can only support it.
A willingness to adapt to change comes from each individual team member, and this is best achieved in incremental steps. To foster a culture that places value on teamwork, you have to introduce new work models that allow flexible and steady integration.
Address the “who,” “what,” “why,” “where,” “when,” and “how.” This is a very basic yet effective model for covering every key area to a more influential, collaborative workplace.
Does your team consist of a small in-house staff of, say, less than 10 people? Or is it dozens of members spread all over the globe? If the latter, you have a complex team of members from different cultures, time zones, etc. In this case, the group may benefit from some form of behavioral guideline to help it form its own collaborative micro-culture.
Make the collaboration goal clear to every staff member from the bottom up. Conduct weekly or bi-weekly meetings to affirm your company mission or goal of the day. Use video conferencing to connect with remote members to bring everyone on the same page. The entire team should know what the bigger goal is, as well as the smaller goals within departments.
Why have teams been assembled the way they are? Does each group have a member with a necessary skillset for that particular department? Has each group been evaluated for its ability to work cohesively? Consider after-evaluation reports to determine whether teams have established a strong collaborative micro-culture.
Is collaboration taking place in a briefing room or via remote teleconferencing? If teams are working remotely, be sure to consider collaboration tools with features such as language translation, digital whiteboards, video playback, meeting reminder notification, invite button, etc.
Is collaborating now a part of the normal business model, or is it on a per-project basis? Are members maintaining timely communication even when dealing with multiple time zones? Do your weekly meetings account for different times? Be sure to take time into account in creating cohesiveness between teams and team members.
The “how” doesn’t just entail collaboration tools, it also includes implementation of procedures, such as establishing standard procedural operating guidelines and training provisions that support a culture of social collaboration.
As you can see, you can foster an environment of social collaboration through a combination of collaboration tools and enhancing your work model to encourage communication, inclusive practices and collaborative steps throughout.