Business Tips

3 team building methods for improving collaboration

Woman exercising alone while on a beach

Teams are more likely achieve their goals if the members are friends. This applies to both local and remote workers. When a business office focuses on collaboration, workers feel part of an entity bigger then themselves.
Here are three ways to foster a collaborative environment. One example of a company’s after- hours activity in the office was quite surprising!
1) Develop online communication norms.
According to experts, adopting online communication norms is recommended because it creates an environment of clear communication. Take for example, Merck, which has established acronyms for their online correspondence like ‘Four Hour Response (4HR)’ and ‘No Need to Respond (NNTR)’ that bring certainty and predictability to conversations. Smaller teams can also come up with their own norms like standardizing on a specific messaging and file sharing service.
The “no need to respond” type notes may be appreciated by team members the most because they mean less work and help prevent the dreaded ‘reply all’ response.
2) Encourage employees to hang out after work.
There are more creative ways beyond organizing an employee birthday celebration to encourage coworkers to hang out socially. Here is a surprising one: Pixers, the wall mural company kept the office open late for employees to hang out and to listen to or make music with their own instruments.
My favorite coworker get-together was with a corporation’s venture capital arm. One of the executives took us to Angel Island in San Francisco on his yacht. Awesome, huh?
3. Build a diverse team.
Collaboration experts say that diverse teams work together better. Each person brings something different to the table. A team of innovative movers and shakers starts in the design stage. The well-known ways workers vary include gender, culture and age. Consider other ways: they can be details-focused or big picture beings, quiet listeners or imaginative story tellers, and extroverts or introverts.
Diversity makes work more interesting: it could mean coworkers in different countries who celebrate different holidays and eat different dishes than you. Modern cloud-based collaborative tools help onboard new employees in many locations globally and faster. They are also easier to scale quickly, e.g. if you have an acquisition or go through a hiring spree.
In summary, encouraging your employees to be friends, hiring a diverse team with various talents and developing communications norms will help foster a highly collaborative environment. This is a recipe for business success.

About the author

Michelle McIntyre

Blogger Michelle McIntyre, president of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC, has worked, volunteered and thrived in the Silicon Valley tech community at small, medium and very large companies for more than 25 years. She has blogged for Huffington Post and was named VLAB Volunteer of the Year in 2017 and serves on the TEDxSanJoseCA Executive team. You can find her musings at @FromMichelle on Twitter.

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