Without effective team collaboration, employees may feel disconnected from each other and the company’s mission.
Haphazard teamwork which leads to miscommunication, confusion, and costly delays.
Successful collaboration in the workplace not only improves the employee experience but also creates a domino effect of higher employee engagement, collective innovation, and improved customer experience.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what team collaboration is, its benefits, and seven actionable tips on how to build it. We’ll also explore the drawbacks of poor team collaboration and some top collaboration tools you can use today.
This article covers:
(Click on a link below to jump to a specific section)
- What is Team Collaboration and Why it’s Important
- How to Build Collaborative Teams
- Top 3 Benefits of Team Collaboration
- 3 Drawbacks of Poor Team Collaboration
- 3 Types of Collaboration Tools to Use
Let’s get started.
What is team collaboration and why it’s important
Team collaboration is a communication and management approach that involves teamwork, creative thinking, and contribution from all team members to achieve common objectives.
While there are a variety of approaches to foster collaboration and teamwork within your workplace, it’ll differ from company to company.
Once a team is created, each member should familiarize themselves with each other and understand their strengths, weaknesses, and responsibilities as soon as possible.
Additionally, team-building exercises can help your employees with effective team collaboration. You need to choose a team leader who encourages open communication and facilitates team meetings.
Successful team collaboration leads to knowledge sharing and continuous improvement among your team members.
How to build collaborative teams
Here are seven no-nonsense tips for building a collaborative team effectively within your organization.
1. Lead by example
A successful team collaboration strategy doesn’t work if there’s little to no involvement from the top management. Executives need to collaborate effectively amongst themselves first.
Your team members won’t buy into the value of team collaboration unless they see collaboration skills among top executives.
For example, giving your employees a collaboration tool like Jira or Trello, which you can’t use effectively, won’t take you far. However, if your employees see you using the tool successfully, they will notice and are more likely to jump aboard.
That’s why leading by example is crucial if you want to bring improved results through collaboration.
2. Highlight employee appreciation
Showing appreciation to your employees is essential, especially if you’re a manager or a founder.
If you make your employees feel appreciated and important, they’re more likely to enjoy their workplace, colleagues, and job.
This motivates them to improve their work performance.
You can also set up an employee appreciation day, where you reward your high-performing employees with incentives and bonuses. As a result, the entire team members can find the motivation to improve their work performance.
3. Encourage honest and constructive feedback
It’s important to create a collaborative environment where everyone in your team feels comfortable sharing ideas and suggestions with each other.
To do this, you should create a culture of sharing constructive feedback.
Effective team communication and increased employee engagement through feedback are crucial to instilling a collaborative culture within your team.
You can use these tips to encourage honest feedback within your team:
- Set up feedback meetings in advance and keep them short and focused.
- Explain the importance of receiving and accepting feedback for their own improvement.
- Implement a call to action strategy where employees immediately take charge to increase their own performance.
When your team members are open to each other’s feedback, they can create trusting relationships among themselves.
4. Ensure accountability
Accountability in your workspace means your team members take responsibility for their actions, performance, and decisions.
When no one takes ownership of decision-making, team members will fail to see how one thing leads to another. And when the team can’t see the reason behind certain actions and decisions, it’ll breed doubt and cynicism, causing serious damage to your workplace culture.
It’s almost impossible to create a high-performing team when there’s a lack of accountability among your team members.
To overcome these, you can follow the points below to increase accountability within your team:
- Define expectations around projects, tasks, and long-term goals.
- Communicate transparently by being open and honest with your team members.
- Hold yourself responsible for failures to encourage accountability in your leadership.
Accountability in the workplace is a marathon, not a sprint. A culture of sincerity will empower everyone to accept the consequences of their actions.
5. Create a sense of community
When team leaders and project management teams make an effort to create a sense of community, productivity and efficiency shoot up to everyone’s benefit.
You can do this by:
- Making employees part of the conversation: You need to create a space for each employee where they feel heard, understood, and involved.
- Encourage skill sharing within your team: Everyone has different skill-sets and mastery in their respective fields. Your team will greatly benefit if your employees are learning from each other.
- Plan group activities outside of the workplace: Facilitating group activities where employees engage with each other fosters friendship and trust.
If everyone in your company looks out for each other and cares about their happiness, it’ll benefit everyone involved.
6. Celebrate diversity
A diverse and inclusive culture means employing people from various backgrounds.
You can make your workplace more diverse by following these tips:
- Redesign the recruitment process to remove unconscious hiring biases.
- Create an environment that embraces different ideas and perspectives.
- Celebrate various traditions and identities your employees associate with.
Additionally, you can integrate inclusivity into your company’s core values by periodically reviewing your company’s core policies.
7. Choose the right team leaders
A team leader can make or break your team.
They’re the flag-bearers of your company’s culture and collaboration techniques.
If your top management leads by example, it can guide employees to adopt these practices and eventually lead them in the right direction. Your team leaders should also be flexible and alter their management style, when needed, to improve collaboration.
8. Have fun with your team
This might sound crazy, but encouraging your employees to engage in social activities during work hours is a great way to inspire team collaboration and employee productivity. A study of 12,000 employees from BCG actually found that employees who were satisfied with social connectivity at work were 2-3x more likely to be as productive or more productive than they were prior to the pandemic.
There are a lot of ways you can inspire social connections at work – here are a few of our favorites:
Activities for In-Person Teams:
Activities for Remote Teams:
- Virtual Clue Murder Mystery
- Virtual Jeoparty Social
- Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist
- Virtual Trivia Time Machine
- Virtual Happy Hour Trivia
But how exactly will team collaboration benefit your organization?
Let’s find out.
Top 3 benefits of team collaboration
Here’re some of the benefits of a collaborative team culture:
1. Encourages problem solving
Every expert in an organization brings their own unique perspective. But truly meeting the team’s goals doesn’t depend on solo expertise.
For example, marketing and engineering teams serve completely different purposes that may sometimes conflict with each other. But to truly deliver a stable and successful product, both these teams need to work together.
Only cross team collaboration across all departments will help you achieve success with complex problems.
2. Improves company culture
In a collaborative team, every team member feels equally valued and respected.
It doesn’t matter whether your team comprises a website developer, web designer, or content marketer – everyone’s point of view is equally important.
This means that your employees feel valued, which makes them happier in their workplace, resulting in less turnover.
You can make your employees feel like ambassadors from the top-down, so everyone feels equally responsible and working towards a shared goal.
3. Increases employee productivity
According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, employees work 15% faster on average when they collaborate.
Since collaboration encourages employee engagement and fosters shared goals, employee productivity increases when teams collaborate effectively.
That’s how team collaboration can help encourage a culture of feedback and fuel a growth mindset for the long term.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at the drawbacks of poor collaboration within a team.
3 drawbacks of poor team collaboration
Poor collaboration can be disastrous for your organization in the long run. Here we’ll mention how it can lead to inefficient workflows and loss of time.
1. Inefficient workflows due to miscommunication
Miscommunication can happen within a team every now and then.
However, it’s a worrying sign if it affects workflows and hurts the bottom line.
It may be because your employees are busy with menial tasks that can eat up time, drain energy and leave little headspace for reasonable communication between team members.
You can easily change this with the help of automation to hasten repetitive tasks and create more room for informal catch-ups.
As a practical measure, you can improve communication by introducing powerful communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
2. Loss of time
In an age where employees are just a screen tap away from connecting to other employees, businesses are faced with various choices for employees to communicate. This often leads to a mixture of incompatible applications and tools.
According to a survey conducted by Webtorials in 2017, team members lose 15% of their total work time due to poor collaboration.
Such wastage of time can cause bottlenecks, missed deadlines, and a dip in productivity among your employees.
3. Interpersonal conflicts
If employees in your company misunderstand or misinterpret the words or actions of other employees, it has the potential to create a conflict. Poor collaboration is frustrating in the workplace and can lead to low performance, low morale, and reduced profits.
Additionally, when one department fails to coordinate with another department within your company due to bad collaboration, it not only derails progress but also leads to infighting.
All these risks are easily preventable if you take measures to create a collaborative team environment with the help of advanced collaborative tools.
3 types of collaboration tools to use
You can use a wide variety of tools for your team to collaborate effectively.
Here we’ll take a look at some of them:
1. For communication
From instant messaging to video conferencing tools, your team can use many software tools to your advantage.
Some of these tools are:
- Slack: Slack is a business communication tool. It’s a chat app available on multiple devices and platforms like Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu.
- Gmail: Gmail is a web-based email service app used to send and receive messages and file-sharing. It is a part of Google Workspace, which also gives you access to other apps like Google Docs, Google Drive, and many more.
- Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that helps your team stay organized and have conversations in one place. It provides voice calls, face-to-face video calls, instant messaging, and extensive web conferencing capabilities.
2. For project management
A project management tool helps project managers and team leaders assign tasks and projects, complete client requirements, and manage time. It is especially useful for remote work environments.
Some of them are:
- Jira: Jira is an agile project management software built for your software team to plan, track, and release great software.
- ClickUp: ClickUp is a cloud-based team collaboration tool suitable for businesses of all sizes.
- Trello: Trello is team collaboration software designed to track team projects and highlight tasks that are underway.
Want to know about top project management tools to drive your business?
Take a look at this list of tools for project management.
3. For time management
When people lose track of time, they lose sight of priorities. And a lack of time management skills will easily lead to a lack of collaboration.
More importantly, keeping an eye on the clock is critical for identifying billable hours, measuring productivity, and tracking project progress.
To do all of this and more, you can use Time Doctor.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a robust employee time tracking and performance management tool used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, as well as SMBs, like Firehouse Subs, to boost employee productivity.
Let’s take a look at some of Time Doctor’s key features:
- Time tracking: Track time spent on projects, work hours, tasks for your remote employees and outsourced teams.
- Idle time tracking: Idle time tracking helps see if your employees are idle or working on a task.
- Productivity reports: Access comprehensive real-time reports like attendance reports, timeline reports, projects and tasks reports, and many more to understand employee and team performance.
- Screencasts: Monitor what your employees are working on with the help of the optional screengrabs feature.
- Payroll management: Manage client billing, handle invoicing, and administer payroll within Time Doctor.
- Powerful Chrome extension: Integrate Time Doctor with other productivity apps like Trello, Asana, and Evernote to manage your projects from a single interface.
This way, Time Doctor supports an ideal environment for team collaboration better than ever.
Explore more of Time Doctor’s features and benefits.
Team collaboration offers several benefits like improved employee engagement and productivity.
However, you can’t expect to change the company culture overnight.
It takes sustained efforts like encouraging constructive feedback, ensuring accountability, and creating a sense of community within the team.
You can use the tips we’ve listed in this article to help your company boost creativity and productivity among employees.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.