A cohesive team works like a well-oiled machine. It’s creating a collaborative team environment that poses a challenge. Many companies are facing extra challenges as they juggle a hybrid (remote and in-office) team model post-pandemic.
Bringing a team together requires planning, structure, and skill. Here are five easy ways to improve team collaboration in your company.
Use Video Elements Wisely
Video has become a staple in facilitating remote teamwork and communications in the post-pandemic world. Understanding how to capitalize on this tool is essential for productive team collaboration.
Create Structure Around Meetings
Video meetings can be an excellent way to bring teams together, or they can be a complete waste of time. The difference lies in structure and intention.
Start by determining whether a meeting is necessary for the topic:
- Is this a complex topic that won’t translate well to text?
- Do you expect a lot of back and forth?
- Are your analytics showing a lot of time spent in meetings?
- Is there anything to do before booking this meeting?
Spending too much time in meetings cuts into productivity. If you determine a video call is necessary, create a clear structure around the agenda, flow, and time limits.
Encourage Video Walk-throughs and Feedback
One of the most overlooked opportunities for video content is in creating tutorials and sharing feedback. Employees teaching a process to a new team member can screen-record their efforts and use a free video editor to create a tutorial. The trainee can reference this before coming back to the employee with questions.
Teams working on shared projects can review recorded videos and collaborate asynchronously. This approach provides clarity around tone and expectation while prioritizing everyone’s time.
Schedule Dedicated Working Sessions
Using video to schedule dedicated working sessions is another way to capitalize on this collaborative tool.
Caveday is an innovative productivity startup that hosts “cave” sessions for teams and individuals to collaborate and get work done. Participants connect via video chat and are led through rotations of working sprints and breakout groups. The idea is to remove distractions and create a shared flow state.
Foster Communication With Tools
Poor communication is the death knell for productive teams. Putting the right tools in place and setting expectations about their use is essential for success.
Implementing a shared project management tool will help keep everyone on the same page about what’s complete, what’s incomplete, and what barriers are in the way. These tools also eliminate the need for frequent meetings and emails.
Instant messaging tools provide a platform for instant updates and quick questions that need an immediate response. Create a framework for response times and channel structure for success.
Shared calendars help streamline scheduling and manage expectations for responses and planning. Use a shared time tracking and calendar tool to keep everyone up-to-date.
Encourage Non-work Interactions
All work and no play isn’t conducive to a collaborative team. Create opportunities for your team members to see the human side of their co-workers.
Create Casual Channels
Creating casual channels in your instant messaging tool can help employees find common ground outside of work. You could have a channel for general life updates, uplifting pet photos, or shared interests.
Consider adding channels to improve access to leadership as well. Slack uses its own product to support an “Ask Executives Anything” channel, where team members can address their concerns.
Plan Social Events
Consider planning social events to bring the team together outside of work. Remote teams can connect for a virtual happy hour or an online game night. Incorporating these events into the scheduled workday will help improve attendance.
Promote Peer Recognition and Support
Taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate each other builds powerful bonds. Create a company culture that rewards employee efforts and encourages team members to do the same.
Take the time to recognize someone’s efforts, both directly and with the team. Look beyond the wins and celebrate someone’s hard work. Studies show that employee recognition boosts productivity, loyalty, and retention.
Plan Shared Win Celebrations
Make time to celebrate shared wins. Whether it’s a project wrapping up or hitting quarterly goals, set aside time to share the experience. A short retro review meeting gives everyone a chance to share what they learned, what they’d do next time, and how much they appreciate everyone’s work.
Develop a Recognition Program
Develop a peer recognition program for team members to nominate their co-workers for a reward. Hubspot is a brand that’s incorporated peer recognition into its company culture. Every quarter, Hubspot encourages employees to nominate each other for recognition. These employees receive a spot bonus or gift card as a reward.
Create a Level Playing Field
Some team members won’t mesh with one another or will have different styles. Creating a level playing field is essential for creating a collaborative team with different personalities and traits.
Develop Active Listening Skills
Leadership should develop active listening skills for facilitating meetings and garnering feedback from individual team members. Providing opportunities to develop this skill is also wise when creating a collaborative team.
Give Everyone Time To Talk
Having passionate team members who feel confident sharing their thoughts and ideas is great. Yet, these personalities sometimes monopolize group sessions.
Consider creating a structure allowing everyone to have equal time speaking during meetings. Quieter team members have invaluable insights. Ask shy employees for their thoughts and opinions in a small group setting or one-on-one.
Creating a collaborative team takes time and effort, but there are many things you can do to start that change today. Consider this list of options and start implementing changes to bring your team together.
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