How to Improve Collaboration in Your Business
If you're a business owner or manager, then you know that collaboration can sometimes be a major challenge. However, you also realize how necessary it is if your business is to run smoothly and efficiently. There are ways you can improve collaboration in your business, so read on to learn about a few of them.
On the subject of collaboration, you should think about joining your local chamber of commerce to meet and collaborate with other business owners.
The first step in better collaboration is better organization. You might divide your employees into teams, balancing skills and strengths, and assign each team a particular project or responsibility. If this isn't a good fit for your business, you can still create partnerships among employees who work in the same department or on the same projects. Make sure that your employees know each other, and provide a detailed organizational chart that shows everyone's roles.
Find the Right Tools
You'll also need to find the right tools to help your employees collaborate. This might mean adopting a communication platform where employees can join various discussions about their projects. It could also mean instituting a content management system where employees can store and share files, work on projects together, and find exactly what they need when they need it.
If your employees tend to share documents outside a content management system, then you've probably run into editing issues on occasion. It can be very difficult to make major text or format edits to PDF documents. Direct your employees to an online tool that can convert PDF to Word. Your employees can perform their edits and then re-save as a PDF when they've finished.
Encourage Open Communication
You can also boost collaboration by encouraging open communication. Hold regular communication sessions in which employees can present ideas, talk about problems, or offer feedback. Provide ways for your employees to present their suggestions in writing if they're shy about speaking in a group. However, employees will work together better if they're comfortable talking to each other, so promote an atmosphere of respect, and moderate debates before they become arguments.
Develop Shared Projects
Collaboration can arise through shared projects as well. Develop projects that extend across teams or departments so everyone in the office has an investment in them. These can be directly business-related, like preparing to release and promote a new project or service, or they can be community-related, like a fund drive to support a local charity.
Finally, you can create better collaboration by building community. Even something as simple as a monthly birthday recognition with cupcakes and cards can help employees get to know each other and become invested in each other's lives and growth. You might also set up social groups for employees with similar interests or plan a company get-together a couple times a year so employees' families can interact. Social connections can actually improve workplace collaboration because employees will be more comfortable with each other and better able to communicate.
Through better organization, effective tools, good communication, shared projects, and a strong community, you can improve collaboration in your business. So get started by putting some of these ideas to work.