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6 Easy Ways To Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is arguably one of the biggest buzz words of 2014 and one which, when done right, can lead to significant competitive advantages for savvy businesses. It’s also one of those concepts that can be quite hard to achieve. If you’re struggling to get employees sharing ideas, communicating and creating, try out these 6 easy ways to encourage collaboration amongst your workforce.

1. Rewards: People are more likely to collaborate and go the extra mile when their efforts are recognized and rewarded. Make sure great ideas and achievements are shared – this can be something simple such as including a piece in the company newsletter or posting a notice on the wall to mentioning on social media. An easy one to implement, setting up a bonus or rewards scheme can work wonders when it comes to encouraging collaboration. A simple set up such as a gift certificate for ideas taken forwards by the company is effective. For bigger businesses a profit sharing or bonus scheme is also a great incentive for more prolonged, sustained and fruitful collaboration.

2. Routine: It’s hard to encourage collaboration when the parameters aren’t clearly defined. It’s one thing to say to staff that they need to communicate and share ideas more but another thing entirely to put it into practice. Make it easy for staff to collaborate by incorporating it into the daily routine. Set up an online meeting to take place each week or month at a set time using a system such as ShowMyPC so even employees that are away from the office or working remotely can still participate.

3. Meet More, Motivate and Inspire: Meetings are a great way to nurture collaboration because they create a framework in which ideas can be discussed, where others can pitch in and where alternate thinking can be explored. Go back to basics and make meetings an intrinsic part of your company culture. If you can’t meet face to face, use a remote meeting service or a desktop sharing tool or even a conference call line so department heads and team members can come together to collaborate.

4. Encourage Socializing: Collaboration happens when people feel comfortable with one another. Encourage your team to socialize outside of the office. You can help this process along by organizing events such as informal BBQs, a company bowling or softball league, movie nights and team building events. Even a company retreat once a year is worth considering to strengthen relationships and make communication easier.

5. Rotate Teams: Make it easy for employees who don’t usually work together to collaborate. By mixing up think tanks and pairing different skill sets you’re more likely to get results that wow. Make a practice of rotating people between teams for a few days or weeks to get more from them.

6. Assign Tasks: Most work better when they know what is expected of them and what the goals are. Assign tasks to teams or individuals based on their skill set and strengths. Keep a clear record of who is doing what, when it is needed by and what the intended outcomes are. You can do this via ticketing system, a project management tool, email, app or simply by posting a piece of paper on the wall. Whatever method you choose, make sure all the team has access to it and progress towards task completion is regularly addressed to keep everyone productive and on track.
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