It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job – if you’re not able to work collaboratively, you’re not going to be very productive. Ergo, it’s imperative that your teams feel comfortable working together.
However, in 2023, remote working means that creating a collaborative culture for your employees is more difficult than it used to be. Gone are the days when you could simply pop over to a colleague’s office for a quick impromptu chat.
Still, it would be wrong to say that collaborative working is dead. With the right tools and approach, even hybrid and remote workplaces can be turned into truly collaborative environments. Read on to find out how.
What is a collaborative culture, and why is it important?
With recent advancements in digital technology in the workplace, such as video calling software and payroll system for small business options, it’s easy to overlook some of the fundamental drivers of success in a business environment. Even today, perhaps the most important contributor is collaboration between your team members.
By working together, employees are able to produce output of a higher standard. Productivity also improves as teams can complete tasks more quickly by drawing on the problem-solving skills and ideas of multiple people.
Nevertheless, actually getting your team members to collaborate can be difficult, especially in hybrid and remote workplaces. 65% of employees have reported struggling with digital collaboration technologies.
This is why a collaborative culture is so important. If your employees are in an environment that values collaboration over everything, working together will become second nature to them.
A collaborative culture isn’t simply a workplace in which collaboration takes place. Instead, it’s one where collaboration is central to everything you do. It should be one of your most important company values, and each employee should be able to identify its benefits and significance.
How to build a collaborative culture
Now you know what a collaborative culture is and why it’s important, it’s time to think about some of the ways in which you can create an environment that truly values collaboration in the workplace.
1. Talk to your employees
Before you make any big changes to the culture of your workplace, it’s important to understand what’s working currently and what needs to be improved. While you or other leaders might think you already know this, you should ask your employees for feedback nonetheless.
Depending on the size of your organization, this can be done informally or via surveys. Ask employees about their views on the effectiveness of collaborative work and look for examples where collaboration has worked well in the past. This can be combined with existing productivity data to evaluate your organization’s current practices.
Involving employees at this stage will not only give you a better view of their attitudes toward collaboration but generate buy-in among your team members, making them feel valued as you begin to build the collaborative culture of the future.
2. Refocus your onboarding
When it comes to actually making changes to your company’s working environment, a great place to start is with new employees. Onboarding is obviously a crucial part of making sure hires know how to perform their jobs, but it also offers an opportunity to instill collaborative values.
Rather than sending your new employees tasks to complete on their own, try to group them with other new hires, whether in person or via video call. You should also allow them enough time to get to know existing employees.
This can include setting them tasks to do together. Whether it’s the more mundane task of working through HR paperwork or getting them to think of a dazzling new influencer campaign, having a project to focus on will foster great collaboration in the future while emphasizing its importance to your organization.
3. Allow more time for collaboration
If your employees feel under pressure to reach certain targets or complete menial bureaucratic tasks, they’ll struggle to find time to reach out to their colleagues and put in the initial effort that’s needed for collaborative work.
You should start by using software that helps your employee save time and be more efficient. For example, you could use an employee self service platform (ESS) to simplify some of your company’s day-to-day operations, or an enterprise social network (like Talkspirit) to streamline internal communication and collaborative work.
You could also schedule specific times in the week for group meetings to take place and make it clear these should take priority over other demands.
4. Create clear communication channels
One of the biggest obstacles to a collaborative culture is uncertainty over communication when employees are working from home. You might want to consider establishing a cloud communication platform that they can easily use to contact their peers.
While channels such as email and team messaging tools are important, these can still make remote workers feel isolated from their colleagues. Many things can be done to improve this, such as pushing video calls for meetings, creating communication rituals, and developing engaging internal content on your intranet (such as quizzes, videos and contests), that allows everyone to participate.
Once you’ve designed a clear and simple communication policy, it’s important to set an example. One way to do this is by making regular calls to team members for informal chats and to see how they’re doing.
5. Make collaboration fun
Some employees might struggle to see the benefits of collaborative work, especially if they’ve become used to working alone in the digital workplace. To overcome this, think about ways to make collaboration enjoyable, such as using gamification incentives to encourage teams to work together.
Another fun way to instill a collaborative culture is to organize social events outside of work, which will help create a sense of community and shared values among your employees. This might seem difficult in hybrid or remote workplaces, but it’s simple enough to organize a group movie watch-along and other virtual social events to ensure everyone feels like they’re part of the team.
6. Reward your employees
Your organization probably already has a system of rewards that recognizes when an employee reaches a certain KPI. However, these are often individual rewards that fail to fit into a collaborative culture.
Instead, you should implement a new system of accountability that’s based on team performance goals. You can then reward employees for working together and use them as shining examples for the rest of your organization. To reinforce the importance of collaboration, consider including a company culture guide that highlights the values and behaviors associated with a collaborative culture.
Similarly, you should set goals for teams rather than individuals. This will encourage employees to work together, while rewards—such as a group night out—can further help to foster a collaborative culture in your workplace.
If you want your workplace to be as effective, productive, and welcoming as possible, building a collaborative culture should be one of your most important goals. Rather than simply being about encouraging teamwork, you should want to create an organization that sees collaboration as fundamental to its operations. There are plenty of resources out there to help you, such as this company culture guide.
By following some of the tips in this article—including evaluating your existing practices, overhauling your onboarding process, and establishing a clear communication plan—you’ll soon see the benefits of a collaborative culture in your workplace. Once this is in place, it’s up to you to continue growing it.
What’s more, remote and hybrid workplaces needn’t be barriers to a collaborative culture. New digital solutions, like Talkspirit, are making real-time communication and collaborative work more accessible than ever, regardless of where employees are located. There’s no reason to hold off on building a collaborative culture in your workplace for even a second longer!
Are you looking to implement a collaborative platform within your organization? If so, Talkspirit can help you! Schedule a demo with our team to discover our software in more detail: