Business Collaboration: 4 Steps to Make It Happen

October 3, 2011
Posted by Link Staffing Services

­An employee team is a powerful force.

Collaboration—within your office, between employees in remote locations, between you and your customers or clients—isn’t a “nice-to-do” anymore; it’s a must. As the research report released by Johnson Controls last year showed, workers are not only driving creativity and innovation through collaboration today, they expect to collaborate even more in the future. If you’re business isn’t prepared, you may find yourself slipping behind. Here are a few steps you can take to keep up, and maybe even forge ahead:

  1. Create a collaboration plan.

List your own set of actions to make collaboration work for your company. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply start with the benefits you hope to gain and work backward. Consider how you can build collaboration into the fiber of your company and what tools you’ll need to help facilitate that. The whole plan could fit onto a couple sheets of paper. And you could get a collaborative team to create it!

  1. Get your technology together.

If all your teams and clients can convene easily in a single place, that’s great. More likely, your collaborators are spread out and need to be brought together through technology. Email is still one of the most useful tools for collaboration and it doesn’t seem to be going away. But if you want people to be able to share and communicate with each other or in groups more readily, consider a tool such as Microsoft Lync (formerly MS Office Communicator, which enables voice, instant messaging, multi-party audio, video, and desktop sharing. At Link Staffing, we find we use it all the time. For virtual conferencing, you should also consider applications such as WebEx or GoToMeeting. Many companies are also moving to cloud-based systems to better enable document sharing and collaboration.

  1. Train.

When you get your technology together, make sure you train people to use it well, or it will lay fallow. You may also want to establish some sort of training for collaboration itself, so your people know how to do it effectively.

  1. Create a culture of collaboration.

All the technology and training in the world won’t make your company collaborate well unless teamwork and collaboration become a natural part of your employees’ working life. Make sure you assign problems and projects to teams. Consider making “teamwork” or “collaboration” a performance review item. Celebrate the work of your teams. When you, yourself, face a project or problem, maybe you should collaborate to address it. You’ll find it addictive!

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