One key to success for businesses of all sizes and industries is establishing a team that works well together. If your employees don't have collaboration skills and aren't regularly sharing their ideas with one another, your business is going to have trouble thriving.
According to Cornerstone OnDemand, only 38 percent of employees feel there’s enough collaboration in the workplace and 72 percent wish there were more face-to-face opportunities to engage with other team members. Team collaboration should be a regular part of your staff's day, as it fosters communication, leadership and critical thinking skills. In fact, a report by ESI International showed that over 60 percent of employees believe enhanced teamwork would greatly improve their company's project performance overall.
As the owner of your small business, you play an important role in encouraging your team to share their input and work together closely. Here are three team-bonding ideas to foster a collaborative work environment.
1. Encourage peer feedback
In addition to encouragement and recognition from senior management, peer feedback and appreciation is vital to promoting collaboration. Your staff members will feel more inclined to communicate and provide input if they know that their team finds it useful. Provide an outlet for peer-to-peer recognition by hanging a whiteboard on the wall where team members can comment on their co-workers' recent successes. Social media is another great tool for this. Post a picture or brief description of a featured employee and encourage staff to comment with praise and specific achievements they've taken note of.
2. Have quarterly team outings
A large part of your employees' openness to communicating with their co-workers comes from how comfortable they feel around one another. According to Room to Escape, a virtual game based on improving team building, 50 percent of communication improvements among co-workers is a result of social interactions held outside the workplace. An environment where ideas are readily shared will foster high engagement and productivity among staff members. Room to Escape also noted that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave their jobs compared to those who aren't engaged.
A team outing can be as simple as going for dinner after work one day or embarking on a scavenger hunt together. Other team-based activities like bowling promote a casual, relaxed atmosphere where your staff can really get to know one another and bond.
3. Use effective collaboration tools
There are plenty of professional mobile apps and computer programs that will enable you and your staff to communicate more effectively. For example, Evernote works on smartphones and the web, and enables your team to share ideas with the touch of a button. Timebridge is another useful collaboration tool that allows workers to schedule and share meeting countdowns and calendar availability with little effort.Effective team meetings are crucial to increasing collaboration efforts among your staff, so having programs that assist you in properly planning and organizing them is essential.
About the Author
Mark Cerminaro is Chief Revenue Officer at RapidAdvance, a leading online financial services company that offers flexible financial solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. Mark has spent his career advising business owners on investments and helping them access the capital they need to grow.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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