Effective team collaboration. Seems simple enough, right? You just need a group of people that get together, divide tasks among themselves, and - voila! Or is it just a bit more complicated than that..?
The reality is that teams consist of different people with different characters, experiences, and knowledge. Effective team collaboration was never easy to achieve - and this mission has grown even harder since remote work abruptly became a reality for many.
Furthermore, why do so many organizations even insist on strong collaboration in the workplace? What are its exact benefits and how do you achieve efficient team collaboration - even in digital workplaces?
📚 In this article, you will learn why team collaboration is so important, how to resolve most common collaboration challenges, and which essential collaboration skills you and your team should master to be most successful.
5 benefits of team collaboration
As Jim Tamm, the author of Radical Collaboration says, “You can’t compete externally if you can’t first collaborate internally”. Put differently, effective team collaboration is essential if you want your business to excel.
When coworkers share ideas, they are finding new ways to optimize business processes, improve the product, and deliver value to customers. Moreover, workers across the board are saying it themselves - 39% feel that their company could collaborate more.
Here are the more specific benefits of team collaboration.
Engaged and happier employees
Employees are 20% more satisfied with their workplace culture and 34% happier with their workplace when collaboration is encouraged. In fact, effective team communication and collaboration often lead to improved employee retention. In a recent survey, 33% of employees said that the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal.
According to a study by the Australian Department of Industry, collaborative businesses are 70% more likely to innovate than businesses that do not collaborate. It is only logical: when people collaborate, they are exposed to others’ way of thinking, thus expanding their own.
Implementing team collaboration processes has increased productivity by 30% in global software development teams. When businesses use solutions that make communication and collaboration easier, individuals’ goals can be achieved faster and be of higher quality.
Focusing on goals
97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. On the other hand, team collaboration helps everybody to stay focused on the common goal, thus improving the end result.
Deloitte found that businesses with a collaborative strategy are twice as likely to outgrow their competitors and more likely to improve their profit. Moreover, organizations with collaboration strategy in place are 60% less likely to see a decline in profitability over time.
How to improve team collaboration
In order to understand what makes some of the teams more successful than others, Google set up project Aristotle. The aim was to find out what makes teams effective in their work.
The research resulted in defining five areas that were essential to the most successful teams:
- Psychological safety - team members are not afraid of being outcasted or ridiculed for making mistakes or making risks regarding the project
- Dependability - all team members deliver their high-quality work on time
- Structure - everybody knows what is expected of them and what are the consequences of their actions for group effectiveness
- Meaning - team members find a sense of purpose in the work or the outcome of the work, and it is highly personal (e.g. financial security, doing what you like, etc.)
- Impact - all individuals are aware of how they contribute to the team and organization’s objectives.
Here is how you can put this to practice and make team collaboration successful.
Lead by example
Successful collaboration does not happen overnight. If you are a leader, show your team mates that you are open to their ideas. Moreover, deliver your own work on time. Be transparent about your struggles and about your decision-making process.
Set clear joint goals and objectives
Improving team collaboration includes a lot of alignment. It means constantly going back and forth to the initial common goal and estimating how everybody is doing.
One of the most popular goal setting methodologies is the SMART framework. According to it, all goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Use this to set your joint and individual goals within the team.
The importance of communication can hardly be ignored when it comes to successful team collaboration. Therefore, try to have team meetings, video calls, and individual 1-on-1s at least once a week.
Frequent and diverse communication is crucial for successful digital workplaces. Therefore, make sure your communication and collaboration tools are user-friendly and of course, up to date with the security standards!
Encourage open feedback
Successful teams are open to feedback. In order to improve team collaboration, giving and receiving feedback should become a frequent habit. After all, research suggests that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once per week.
Learn to listen
86% of employees and executives attribute the lack of collaboration or ineffective communication to workplace failures. Learning to listen is one of the most important skills a person can have to successfully communicate and collaborate with others.
After all, another finding from Google reveals that in the most successful teams, every team member spends roughly the same amount of time talking.
Celebrate your accomplishments
Celebrating team achievements can give everybody a huge boost in morale after working hard on a common goal. Another trait of highly efficient teams is recognizing each other's work and marking their accomplishments. Just think of the sports teams and how they celebrate successful wins!
Remote team collaboration challenges & quick fixes
Communication and collaboration are a #1 struggle for 20% of remote workers. This is no wonder, since many employees abruptly started working remotely in 2020 and probably didn’t have enough time to learn how to successfully collaborate online.
📚 Have a peek at our list of best collaboration software to skyrocket your business.
Moreover, more and more companies are implementing hybrid work policies - meaning that online team collaboration is truly the future.
Surely, there are a myriad of upsides to remote work - but there are also some challenges to successful remote collaboration. Here are our tips to resolve them.
Good communication is essential for successful team collaboration. However, have you ever wondered why coworkers that hang out collaborate efficiently? It’s because 50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace happen due to social interaction outside of the workplace.
With that in mind, learn how we at Rocket.Chat collaborate remotely. You’re absolutely right - we leave plenty of room for off-work topics that allow us to meet each other better.
Different time zones
Yes, versatile types of communication are very beneficial for remote collaboration. Video calls and team meetings are a great way to get everybody together at least once per week. However, constant communication can be tiring and counterproductive.
Therefore, it is best if teams in different time zones rely on asynchronous communication. It allows everyone to fully utilize the best perk of remote work - flexibility - and reply to messages when available.
Lack of trust
Remote team members often suffer from the lack of trust among themselves, which can hinder their results. However, building trust can be accelerated and maintained in a virtual setting. One of the main instructions to follow is to - you’ve guessed it - communicate often.
Another useful technique to increase team collaboration quality is to share and rotate power. To be more precise, this doesn’t call for abandoning the concept of a general leader. Instead, it relies on a “monitor and mentor” approach instead of “command and control” one.
📚 See how you can increase trust and efficiently manage your remote teams with Rocket.Chat.
75% of employees regard collaboration and teamwork as important, and organizations that communicate effectively are 4.5x more likely to retain the best employees. Therefore, it is crucial for teams to have easy-to-use team collaboration software.
Data privacy and security
Besides being user-friendly, it is crucial that the communication and collaboration solution you use is safe. Namely, because of the pandemic, millions of people started working from home abruptly. To compensate for the lack of physical interactions, employees started relying on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others.
Even before the pandemic, 53% of remote workers used messaging apps for work-related matters. Now, 24% of directors and C-suite executives in IT and cybersecurity roles say that they have paid unexpected expenses to address cybersecurity breaches since switching to work from home model in 2020.
📚 Learn what makes a secure messaging and collaboration platform in order to secure your data while enabling the highest level of team collaboration. Moreover, browse through our lists of best encrypted messaging apps and most secure messaging apps for business.
Collaboration skills you should foster
93% of employers believe that soft skills are very important or essential. Moreover, research states that 85% of job success comes from excellent soft and people skills.
Collaboration is listed as one of the most important soft skills on the market. Luckily, improving team collaboration can also be accelerated by encouraging and training basic collaboration skills. Therefore, when hiring, look for these traits in candidates, and provide training to your existing team members in these areas.
In the contemporary organization, the only constant is change. Projects often don’t go as planned, and priorities can switch. In order to improve collaboration, people need to adapt to quick pace and changes that can get thrown their way. A good way to achieve this is by remaining calm and brainstorming through the problem instead of freaking out about it.
Active listening is a great skill to have in any business, really. To actively listen means to *really* hear what the other person is saying. Paying attention, asking questions, and rephrasing your colleagues’ words is crucial for a successful outcome of any project.
If you think about it, there is no team collaboration without this skill.
Being open minded means that you are accepting of new ideas - even if they go against what you think or feel. Moreover, it means that you are ready to give and receive constructive criticism. Effective communication and collaboration in remote settings rely on everybody’s willingness to accept different perspectives - there would be no innovation without it!
Last but not least, empathy! Successful team collaboration calls for high emotional intelligence and the ability to put yourself in other’s shoes. People with high emotional intelligence better understand their own and others’ feelings, which eventually leads to creation of a safe psychological environment - which is a prerequisite for thriving teamwork according to Google’s Aristotle framework we mentioned before.
Ready for seamless team collaboration?
There is no doubt that intense team collaboration is becoming more and more important to organizational success. Moreover, companies are looking to facilitate easy communication and collaboration channels to their employees without risking security breaches.
If you want to create a safe working environment where coworkers can chat, engage in video calls, and brainstorm ideas while working from anywhere in the world - see why Rocket.Chat is named the messaging solution of the year and get in touch with us!