Humans are social animals; we are designed to work together to achieve common goals. According to a Business Week study, 82 percent of employees collaborate with others during the course of the work day to get their work done. Managers can improve the performance of their employees by facilitating effective communication and making it easier for team members to collaborate with one another. Here are some tips to make this easier in your business:
Hold Regular ‘Check-in’ Meetings
The problem with team members working individually is they often become insular in their approach. Holding regular meetings allows for the exchange of ideas and best practices. Staff can discuss common problems and find solutions together. Team members can also use these sessions as a way to celebrate victories and support each other during low points.
Give Them Time to Brainstorm
Brainstorming is a great way to get full team participation. The idea is to allow staff to come up with ideas freely, without fear of being scoffed at—sometimes the solutions present themselves in the quirkiest of ways. The big benefit of brainstorming is that each team member brings their own diverse experience to bear, in a fun environment, making it easier to come up with solutions to issues being faced. Another benefit is that staff members are more likely to accept the solutions if they help to come up with them. Inc.com has more information on how to run a good brainstorming session.
Provide Software That Enables Collaboration
Cloud-based software makes it easy for employees to access and share files and manage projects from any location and on any device. This level of collaboration had never been realized before the cloud; not only can you ensure that all staff have access to the digital resources they need, but you can start tasks, manage workflow and chart their progress, all in real time. Which software you choose depends on your industry, but popular ones include:
Conduct Regular Reviews
Part of improving communication is to give staff regular feedback on how they are doing in terms of individual, team and company goals. With today’s fluid business environment, conducting a review once a year is no longer enough.
Quarterly reviews are a much more effective tool. They are an effective way to communicate changes in company strategies. Make sure to let employees know how they are doing and what is expected of them.
Do Team-Building Exercises
Team building exercises can be an effective way of improving communication within teams. The key is to choose exercises that are fun for staff and that help build trust. There is a fine line between effective team building exercises and wasting time, so be sure to get staff feedback on how effective they find the exercises. Read this U.S. News & World Report article for a more comprehensive look at team-building and examples of exercises to try at your workplace.