Creating a culture of collaboration with Unified Communications
Unicorns, influencers, disruptors—are you getting buzzword fatigue yet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. These buzzwords do a great job of grabbing attention and sounding all-important. But most of the time, they’re hollow tokens made to make something old seem new. Take Collaboration with an upper case ‘C’ as an example. How is it any different from its lower case counterpart? Clue: It isn’t.
The idea of collaboration in the workplace is not exactly new, but it has been getting more attention. It’s technology like unified communications solutions, also known as unified comms, that’s spurring renewed interest in this established way of doing business.
What is collaboration?
Simply put, collaboration is teamwork taken up a notch. But instead of being limited to a single event or project, this type of cooperation comes as second nature in your day-to-day operations. As part of your work culture, it should not require any additional effort.
Today, technology plays a vital role in supporting a culture of collaboration in the workplace. But more than having the right tools, entrepreneurs like you should lead the charge in transforming your business and encourage your staff to collaborate.
Inspire with a clear vision
Clear and measurable goals act as a roadmap for your business. By setting collective goals, teams can use it as a benchmark for aligning their own targets. It pays to get everyone on the same page, so every individual sees their value in achieving the bigger picture.
As a leader, you should embrace the fact that your business is made up of diverse and unique individuals. This is a good thing! Each person has their own set of fresh ideas and expertise to contribute to the team. Show support by acknowledging individual strengths and creating opportunities to highlight their skills. You’ll be surprised at what people can do with a little bit of encouragement.
Create a sense of community
Collaboration should not be limited to one level of your organisation. Everyone from the bottom to top management should have their voice heard, especially in making critical business decisions. Make an effort to create opportunities for everyone to share their ideas without fear of judgment.
These communications can take on many forms, other than sit down meetings. Admit it—at one point or another, we’ve all felt like meetings were a distraction or break from actual work. This shouldn’t be the case. Talking to each other should never feel like a blocker to productivity.
Stand up huddles help make these conversations feel less disruptive and more like spontaneous conversations you’d normally have at work. If something needs more than 15 minutes but less than half an hour to discuss, maybe it will be best to send it as an email. If a meeting is really necessary, challenge yourself to accomplish more in less time and chop off 15 minutes your typical meeting time.
Lay the groundwork for meaningful exchanges
What roadblocks to collaboration does your team face? As a leader, it is your responsibility to make it easy for staff to work together. While technology makes it easier to connect, studies show that they are mostly underutilised. The reason? There’s just too much technology at our disposal. Communication should feel effortless—and this is exactly what unified messaging does. Think of how many times you switch between mobiles, office phones, online messaging apps, emails, and project management tools in a single day. Unified communications solutions integrate all of your communications in one, easy to use application so you don’t waste time going back and forth devices and applications.
It also helps to set expectations on your preferred channel for each type of correspondence. You can choose to limit community announcements to your intranet, client related concerns to email, and team discussions to instant messaging. This eliminates any second-guessing and inspires your staff to use these tools more confidently.
Celebrate wins collectively
Don’t forget to reward collaboration and shine a spotlight on milestones reached by the business. This helps instill a sense of pride and excitement among your staff. Be sure to acknowledge that these wins are not possible without every team’s contribution.
If your business has multiple sites and remote workers, make them feel included by creating opportunities for everyone to come together. It could be an after-hours/weekend event, or as simple as regular video conferences through your UC solution.
Upper case or lower case ‘C’ be damned, the bottom line is that all businesses can benefit from building a culture of collaboration. With the help of technology that’s built to simplify and encourage connections, you’ll have more wins to celebrate as a business.