Team Collaboration | 10 mins read

Everything You Need to Know About Team Collaboration

everything you need to know about team collaboration
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By Mary Kate Morrow

Effective team collaboration results in increased productivity, boosted creativity, and an optimized bottom line.

Introduction

Business professionals can use methods ranging from fostering self-management to investing in collaboration software in order to increase team collaboration within their organizations.

What is Team Collaboration?

In order for business professionals to accomplish optimal team collaboration, we must first define it. Team collaboration occurs when two or more individuals work together towards a common goal. In a business setting, team collaboration can occur between in-person or remote employees. The three main benefits of team collaboration include decreased staff turnover and both increased productivity and creativity.

What is the Importance?

There are three main benefits of team collaboration-

Employee retention- When a group of people work together in a proactive way, the job satisfaction of individual employees increases. Being a member of a team creates a sense of community for individual employees. When employees feel valued and important, they feel a stronger sense of purpose and find more meaning in the work they are producing. As a result of this employees are less likely to be unhappy at their current position and seek alternative employment. Both company culture and team morale benefit from a collaboration workplace.

Enhanced productivity- Projects will be completed faster with more people effectively working towards a common end goal as opposed to employees working individually. Team dynamics naturally encourage individuals to work within another's strengths and weaknesses. Regardless if an individual project is successfully completed as originally planned, collaboration will help employees to identify and analyze the ways in which they even better function among their teammates. As a result, collaboration encourages both individual team member and the collective group to improve team collaboration skills.

If team members are located in different geographical locations, team collaboration software will further increase team productivity. Remote work teams allow for more diversity as they do not need to be geographically near one another to work just as effectively towards a project or goal. Regardless if your team is remote or in-person, your team can get work done together causing your business's productivity and creativity to rise.

Increased innovation- Multiple staff members working together will create a talent pool that naturally brings more perspectives, experience, and insight to the team. Team collaboration encourages brainstorming and collaborative problem-solving opportunities. Instead of having a limited perspective and experience, the more diverse your team members are, the more creative they may be able to get by putting together their different backgrounds and knowledge.

However, any time that individuals are working together, there is always the potential for disagreements or incompatibility. To address this, project managers should be wary of potential conflicts that may occur between team members and have a plan in place to before any issues should occur

How does Team Collaboration Benefit Businesses?

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Team collaboration has the most obvious benefit of making your business more successful by optimizing your bottom line. Some additional benefits to team collaboration include the ability to foster your business's-

  • Talent pool- with multiple members of varying experience levels, skills, and expertise working together, employees will be more likely to find unique solutions

  • Personal development- individuals will feel more comfortable taking risks and leaving their comfort zones with the built-in safety net of having multiple team members to step in and help

  • Accountability- accountability is increased when individual employees must complete tasks when others are dependent on them doing so

  • Learning opportunities- collaboration organically creates hands-on learning opportunities

  • Diversified skill sets- while working with others, individual employees will be exposed to and potentially integrate new skills into their business practices

  • Perspectives- while a project may take days for an employee to complete singularly, an outside perspective may streamline a solution

  • Deadlines- deadlines are more likely to be met when there are multiple employees working towards a common goal

  • Divide and conquer- a term coined to describe the ability to divide tasks between team members and accomplishing those tasks in order to more effectively and efficiently reach a common goal

Strategies to Ensure Effective Collaboration

There are various strategies that businesses can employ in order to ensure effective team collaboration. Some of these strategies necessitate that business professional-

Foster self-management- Allowing employees to self-manage appropriately will decrease workload, micromanaging, and unhealthy power dynamics. Employees who feel responsible for their work performance are more likely to adhere to team accountability. Self-management establishes trust by encouraging both employee self-regulation and self-sufficiency

Provide clear expectations- In order to adequately perform a job, an employee must understand what their role actually entails. During both the interview and on-boarding process, make sure to distinctly outline the role and its responsibilities. Reiterate expectations periodically to your staff, both individually and during team meetings when necessary.

Communicate consistently and clearly- Team communication is essential to any successful business. Business professionals must consider the implications of communications that are not directly related to duties, deadlines, and task dependencies.

Avoiding excess communication avoids the risk of employees becoming overwhelmed with nonessential notifications and reminders and keeps your workforce focused. Business professionals should strive to share only relevant information on a timely basis, appropriately incorporating both progress updates and check-ins.

Communication should be effectively used to help team members understand both their own responsibilities, as well as those of their team members. Clearly communicated expectations decrease confusion, lessen wasted resources, and stops potential conflicts or misunderstandings from arising. Established effective communication protocol will decrease communication gaps and greatly increase team dynamics

Use technology- Invest in collaboration software that can be easily and remotely accessed and updated by staff members. It is important to ensure that all team members are comfortable using the software by providing training and welcoming troubleshooting, help, or support requests

Consider feedback- Nobody knows better than your team what needs to be addressed to optimize their processes, strategies, and operations. Frequently administer audits and performance reviews. Inquire with your project team about successes, failures, and frustrations incurred through the current team collaboration operations. Analyze and implement employee feedback when planning for and executing future team collaborations

Team Collaboration Best Practices

There are many ways that businesses can optimize their team collaboration practices. Main practices to consider include-

1. Knowing your team- Everyone on your team has unique experiences and skills that can be used to improve the whole team. Efficiency will benefit from the strategical delegation of tasks in accordance with individual skill sets and collective potential.

Your employees will feel validated and seen when they are acknowledged for their aptitude, strengths, and uniqueness. As a result, team members will most effectively utilize their expertise, knowledge, and talents, while contributing towards team projects and business objectives.

Businesses also benefit from allowing individuals to practice the creative solutions that produce the best work. For instance, a team member may produce exceptionally better-finished products working alone, while others thrive working in pairs or larger groups.

2. Encourage staff members to be comfortable in their creativity and preferred task management solutions- Showing consideration to staff member individual processes will boost your team's morale. As a result, your business will save time and optimize your bottom line.

3. Encourage collaboration- Increasing team collaboration benefits the business' bottom line. Team building exercises increase camaraderie between team members and make it more enjoyable to collaborate on projects. A team with healthy and happy relationships will produce better results, which will trickle down to your customers and clientele.

4. Incentivize employees- Implementing an incentivizing employee reward program increases a company's overall profits by an average of $104,000 a week. 85% of employees feel more motivated when offered an incentive. Incentives can come in many forms, for example-

  • Salary bump
  • Cash bonuses
  • Gift cards
  • Extra accrual of PTO
  • All-inclusive vacations
  • Dining out
  • Team building retreats
Employees can be incentivized individually and as a team. When your team is working towards a common goal together that they will all reap the benefits of reaching, they will be more motivated and accountable in their roles and responsibilities

What is Cross Team Collaboration and the Silo Effect'?

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Cross-team collaboration is an essential building block of team collaboration. The silo effect destabilizes cross-team collaboration efforts if not properly addressed. To understand cross-collaboration and the silo effect, we must first define them.

Cross-team collaboration refers to a group of individuals with different areas of expertise working together towards a shared goal. The silo effect is defined as the phenomenon of different departments not working well together, which can be antagonized into a complete halt in business if left unchecked.

Cross-team collaboration allows for heightened creativity, an increase in efficiency, and curbs unproductive business hierarchies. The silo effect can erode cross-team collaboration by creating conflict, reducing cooperation, and hurting your business's bottom line. Regardless if you are a small business owner or a franchise owner, the silo effect must be acknowledged within your cross-team collaborations.

Although leadership may assume these conflicts are the result of anything from immature employees to petty conflicts, the main cause for the silo effect is actually a conflicted leadership team. The trickle-down effect of the silo effect can corrupt your company from the inside out, and if left unchecked, can completely ruin your business.

How to Improve Collaboration Across Teams

There are many tips that business professionals can use to improve internal cross-team collaboration. Some key areas to focus on include-

Communication- Investigate team members preferred methods of communication and interaction methods in order to create a plan mindful of how staff best communicates, both independently and collaboratively

Contacts- Establish which contacts are to be communicated with, and when. This could include stakeholders, higher level management, or team members

Flexibility- Plans are bound to hit snags along the line, so be ready to be flexible and find alternative solutions outside the original plan. Keep your team members in the know about any problems or potential roadblocks and utilize their collective thinking power to find innovative solutions!

Visuals- Compile data into visual pieces to better engage your audience, whether they are stakeholders or team members. Digitally delivered graphics can help your team stay efficient and focused, while providing them with an easily accessible point of reference throughout their process

Meetings- The average office employee spends over 31 hours a month attending unproductive meetings. Reiterate or negotiate with your team members via email format, phone conference or video conference as an alternative. Daily stand-up meetings around 15 minutes in length are also very effective to keep your team engaged and focused

Conclusion

  • Multiple staff members working together naturally creates a talent pool that results in more perspectives, experience, and insight. Team collaboration encourages both team performance and collaborative problem-solving opportunities
  • There are various strategies that businesses can employ in order to ensure effective team collaboration, ranging from successful team delegation to finding the best collaboration project management software
  • Encourage team collaboration through team building exercises to improve team dynamics. A team with healthy and happy relationships produces better results that will trickle down to your customers and clientele
  • Cross team collaboration is a group of individuals with different areas of expertise working together towards a shared goal. The silo effect occurs when different departments do not work well together