Sponsored by Redbooth:
Is email a thing of the past? Not yet — but it certainly has made our lives more cluttered than ever. Keeping track of projects, staying in the loop, and getting things done has become more difficult in many ways since email has become the top form of business communication.
But all of that email comes at a price—lost productivity and missed deadlines.
As millennials move into management positions, the way we communicated over the past 20 years at work has become outdated. Today, the digital generation wants more than email communication. They want to communicate seamlessly and transparently, as if the entire team was in the same room speaking face-to-face. They want to collaborate, not just communicate.
Business leaders need to find ways to boost team collaboration or business results will suffer. Email dependency creates silos. It’s up to leadership to break down those silos. Here are five ways to boost team collaboration and business results at your company:
1. Use Collaboration Software
When it comes to improving collaboration, particularly among distributed teams, technology is the answer. Email clutter makes it extremely challenging to follow conversations that aren’t in the same email thread, keep track of project progress, and jump into projects after they’ve begun. Collaboration software fixes those problems.
Using a collaboration and project management software tool like Redbooth, team members can view all conversations, jump in and easily get caught up at any time, and focus on what matters to them while ignoring what doesn’t.
2. Reduce Meetings
Meetings are a necessary evil of business. We need them to talk things out, set deadlines, assign roles, and hold people accountable, but they are also the biggest hindrance to actually getting things done. And they create so much more email!
To make meetings more productive and boost effective collaboration, shorten meetings and only hold those meetings that are necessary. Invite people who need to be there for the specific topic being discussed. Effective meetings are focused on a highly specific topic. It’s up to leadership to break the cycle of bad meetings.
3. Let People Get Their Work Done
Collaboration is great but not when it’s perceived negatively as interruptions. How many people in your office have a huge stack of work to be done but don’t have enough time to do it all? The two biggest culprits that keep employees from actually getting their work done (assuming they’re effective employees) are meetings and interruptions.
Employees need blocks of uninterrupted time to not only get their work done but also to produce the best work they’re capable of delivering. Open offices make it easy for anyone to interrupt a coworker at any time, but what’s the cost? Constant interruptions, even if those interruptions are in support of a collaborative environment, can make an employee bitter towards that collaborative environment.
4. Hire the Right People
To effectively collaborate, you need two things. First, you need to be a doer. You need to want to achieve the best results. Second, you need to know that you can’t achieve the best results alone. If you don’t have these two qualities, then it will be extremely difficult for you to collaborate. Hiring managers need to know how to interview job candidates to find the right people—the doers who want to achieve the best results but know they can’t do it alone.
Many companies use personality tests to find the right employees who will thrive in the culture the company wants to create. Most importantly, you need to make sure a potential employee not only knows how to do the job but also truly wants to work in a collaborative environment. If not, they won’t be happy and their work will suffer. It’s better to take the time to hire the right person now than it is to have to re-hire later.
5. Start from the Top
If your company’s leaders aren’t collaborative, then why should your employees be collaborative? They won’t. Every day will be a struggle because employees will push back against the collaboration they’re expected to do but their leaders don’t do at all. That means leadership needs to lead by example, and if they don’t, they shouldn’t be a leader at your company. In fact, they probably shouldn’t work for your company at all.
For example, a leader shouldn’t just recite the corporate rhetoric about how important collaboration is. They should be actively using the same collaboration tools that all employees use. They should be reducing meetings. They should ensure their staff gets the uninterrupted time needed to actually get the work done, and they should hire and promote the right people.
Improved Collaboration Leads to Improved Business Results
Collaboration isn’t just a trendy buzzword, it’s a key part of the type of company culture that younger generations don’t just want from employers, they demand it. If you want to be able to hire and retain the best talent today and in the future, you need to build a collaborative company culture. If you don’t, you’ll see the negative effects in your bottom line.