5 Pillars of Effective Workplace Collaboration

Building a collaborative workplace can be a challenge, yet it’s one that’s worthwhile when done right. A truly collaborative workplace tends to benefit not just the team members but also the company as a whole. 

When employees feel heard and valued, they are more engaged and productive. Top talent seeks out companies that weave collaboration into their culture, no matter if an employee has a remote work day or are at a desk in a bricks-and-mortar office.

“86% of employees cite lack of collaboration for workplace failures.”
(Salesforce Survey)

Employees in a collaborative workplace usually experience greater satisfaction with their jobs and even better overall health. Collaborative teams bring more creativity and flexibility to the table. This collaboration drives increased profitability because more productivity, creativity, ownership and flexibility among the workforce leads to better products and services to take into the marketplace. 

In today’s ever-changing work environment, one that's moving rapidly toward a work-from-anywhere approach, it’s crucial to examine the state of your organization’s workplace collaboration efforts. From learning how to effectively manage a remote team to engaging your employees no matter where they work, connecting and collaborating easily and productively is a must. 

Workplace Collaboration Drives a Better Way to Work

What are some ways to build a collaborative workplace? Here are five pillars of effective workplace collaboration, whether teams are working in-house or remotely. By incorporating these core principles, powered by today’s leading cloud technologies, effective collaboration can begin within your own organization.

1. Trust 

It would be impossible to overemphasize trust in the collaborative workplace. To build trust, the first step is to set up employee listening strategies. 

Cross-functional groups and committees working toward common goals can be helpful for this. Leadership also needs to participate by actively listening to the solutions and suggestions created by these groups. 

Take time to ensure committee members feel their contributions are valuable through leadership participation and taking their actionable advice. This listening builds trust and confidence across your workforce.

 

Google Forms image of employee survey

Request feedback regularly, as part of the overall company experience. Beginning with your employees’ first days on the job, make sure you frequently elicit their feedback. Use surveys and face-to-face chats. 

Learning what the employee experience is helps pave a smoother path to employee-and company-success. Work with the HR department to provide meaningful follow-ups on these results so employees know they are being heard and understood. 

Employee listening like these and other strategies are vital to your teams’ wellbeing. At every stage, requesting and giving feedback should foster better and more open communication across your organization.

This is every bit as important for onboarding as it is for retention. Employee listening also can help management teams find the best fit for a struggling worker within the company, which in turn can help retain talent. 

2. Vision

What is your company building and doing? It’s difficult to collaborate when each person or group sees the guiding principles and vision differently. Having a central place for establishing and maintaining overall and departmental vision is key.

Everyone needs to be on the same page with the company’s overall vision for a collaborative environment and its members to thrive. User-friendly tools like Trello are helpful in setting the vision and the crucial steps to take toward each goal to achieve that vision. 

Some companies rely on the OKR methodology for establishing “Objectives and Key Results” and share them via Google Sheets.

OKR-template-by-Sheetgo

Whichever technology you implement for this purpose, clarifying vision will help lead to the business results you seek.

3. Visibility

Who is doing what and when? Employees need to know how the workflow moves across teams, how many people and teams a project travels through on its way to them, and where it goes afterward. To make this happen, provide employees with an easy-to-follow workflow document, along with a shared calendar, such as Google Calendar, to ensure everyone stays in the loop.  

Project management teams can leverage Google Sheets to track progress, manage exceptions and assign tasks.

Project management in a Google Sheet

Make sure employees understand where they fit into your organization and how their labor contributes to the whole. It’s so important, as it ultimately helps projects run smoothly, and keeps both a shared vision and deadlines in mind. Working with cross-functional teams on long-term projects in this way can help to build trust and mutual respect across departments. 

4. Knowledge

A basic tenet of any workplace is to ensure employees know how to find everything they need to do their work. This is simple, straightforward and crucial. Google Drive and the G Suite tools are invaluable to making this happen. 

Be sure to give employees access to the tools and information they need for each project as soon as possible to keep workflows active and productive.

Sharing with Google Drive

 

5. Team Dynamics 

This pillar goes back to trust and also helps team members bond. While there are a lot of team-building activities out there, bolstering team dynamics for maximum team health and efficiency doesn’t need all the bells and whistles every time. 

A simple “thank you” or “good job” for a quality contribution to the team is the best place to start. While it is a small step, it shows employees you appreciate them. It’s all about making personal connections in one way or another.

Celebrate wins for your teams, both for group and individual achievements. Allow them to formally nominate colleagues for recognition within the company or smaller project group. Set up Slack channels for celebrations and high-fives. When teams are not all working remotely anymore, a team lunch or dinner to acknowledge and show appreciation for employees may be a good idea, too. 

Building and nurturing a collaborative workplace makes for satisfied, productive employees who feel valued. @OnixNetworking

Paving the Way to Effective Workplace Collaboration

Correcting course on an efficient, collaborative workplace should be easier when the wellbeing and mutual respect among team members is strong. Track employee sentiment and performance along the way, noting when each employee or team is at their peak. Use this information to set employees up for success. 

Building and nurturing a collaborative workplace makes for satisfied, productive employees who feel valued. Working in such an environment brings people together in the shared goal of a thriving company.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Kevin Verde, Professional Services Partner Manager

Kevin Verde, Professional Services Partner Manager

As a Professional Services Partner Manager, Kevin works closely with Onix partner contacts in the South Central region of the United States. He boasts a dual US/EU citizenship and spent four years of his career living and working in Madrid. He also is an and early organizer for House of Genius (houseofgenius.org) a non-profit think tank that supports entrepreneurship around the world.

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