Team collaboration is now the basis of every business. It is not just a commercial idea – this form of cooperation genuinely brings better results. Collaborative workplaces inspire greater public confidence. Team activities also have an impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of their work. The key issue in this respect is communication, which should be fast and at the highest level. How to improve it in 2021?
Research has shown that teams which work together achieve 5 times better results than those which don’t cooperate. This is due to the fact that team members who work together feel motivated to achieve a common goal. Despite this, team leaders often underestimate the importance of teamwork and seldom make it a priority. This is a pity, because Salesforce research showed that as many as 86% of respondents assessed a lack of cooperation as the main element of failure in their workplace.
What is team collaboration?
Due to the way the modern world functions, the teams in a company are no longer only related by general factors such as a common location. Effective management is no longer just decisions being made by the boss. Currently, it consists of opening a space for discussion within and decisions to be made by the team too, supporting its development and creation of its own ideas. In addition, it has become fashionable to celebrate the corporate successes that a team has an influence on.
Nowadays, cooperation means working with someone to achieve a specific goal, and the use of modern technologies for this purpose. It also means cooperation between teams living in different places on Earth. Running such teams is not an easy task, so communication is the key area here in which you cannot afford to make mistakes.
Mistakes in team communication
Team collaboration may not seem to be a difficult issue, but the reality is actually quite different. Mistakes that have a significant impact on the quality of communication and teamwork often occur. Some of them are:
Teams are made up of different personalities. Each person has a different language of communication or priorities for their work, which is why misunderstandings can occur. These can be associated with the misreading of a message, an imprecise goal, lack of a defined process, or lack of knowledge about what another person on the team is doing. Communication should mean thinking about whether what we write can be understood by others, and also not being afraid to ask if something is unclear.
Drop in motivation
If at least one person in the team suffers a decrease in motivation, it may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the entire team. This phenomenon can occur, and it is completely normal – a person is not always able to operate at full capacity. However, it is important that the issue is dealt with quickly by the team manager.
Use of outdated methods
Having to use old tools or methods can be frustrating for a team. Obsolete e-mail, instant messaging, or phone calls are not attractive to employees in a world where technology has advanced significantly and we have many tools with extensive functionalities and intuitive operations at our disposal. Therefore, it is not worth saving on tools that can definitely increase the efficiency of the team.
Companies that want their employees to be well informed from the start may overdo the amount of information. Too much training or too many tools, meetings, and processes are counterproductive. An employee may suffer from information overload and a lack of willingness to communicate with their team.
Failure to establish teamwork as a priority
As a team manager, you should make it clear that teamwork is a priority. If you don’t do this, the team may not feel the need to communicate with each other or work together on specific projects. On the other hand, doing so will translate into both internal communication and increased effectiveness of the team’s activities.
Good communication practices
In order for the communication in your team to be effective, you can use a number of strategies and tools and avoid mistakes that are often repeated in teams. Here are some ideas to help you improve team communication in 2021.
Be clear about expectations and goals
From the very beginning, each employee should have clearly defined goals to be achieved and know the expectations of their employer. At the start of the cooperation, the employee should also learn that teamwork is treated as a priority. If you are recruiting new team members, you can highlight this in the job advertisement.
You should discuss your goals and expectations with your team as often as possible. Depending on the team and the specifics of the work, this may be once a month, once a week, or, if necessary, even once a day. Thanks to this, team members will receive clear communication about what the situation looks like, learn whether something in particular needs extra support, have the chance to ask for help with a task, and even be allowed to define their own goals.
Define roles and responsibilities
Each team member should know their responsibilities and the roles they are expected to fulfill. Each employee should be approached individually and these issues should be defined. If you expect the team to be willing to take on more more responsibility, create a space for them where they feel confident and can count on support, both in terms of content and development.
Remind about the company’s mission
Even having the most interesting tasks to be performed and a good salary will cease to be attractive for employees if they do not know “why” they are doing the job. Writing the company’s mission is one of the main elements of integrating employees, and emphasizes the importance of cooperation. It doesn’t have to be a big idea, but it should be attractive.
Employees who work with passion towards a specific mission work more efficiently and are more willing to cooperate with others who share the same mindset. Remember that the mission of your actions should be regularly reminded, be it as part of joint meetings, regular e-mails. or other corporate events.
Praise employees and celebrate success
Employees want to be appreciated. Studies show that as many as 76% of millennial workers would quit their jobs if their work was not appreciated. Therefore, it is extremely important to use the strengths of your employees and give them recognition for the actions they complete. The forms of praise can range from verbal recognition at a team meeting, through a raise, up to promotion. Employees will then appreciate the meaning of their work and be more willing to act both individually and as part of a team.
If you care about teamwork then plan special types of rewards for entire teams, thanks to which employees will receive the clear message that teamwork is really important and that cooperation is worthwhile.
Support openness and feedback
There is no team collaboration without open communication and feedback. Promote such attitudes from your employees. Unfortunately, in many companies it is still the case that if an employee shares their honest opinion about what doesn’t work in the company, they may face ostracism and worse treatment. That’s why it’s so important, especially for introverted employees, to create a space for communication. Employees will then feel safe from judgment and will be more likely to want to share their insights and ideas.
Determine the processes
Defining work processes is extremely important, not only in terms of performance of duties, but also communication. Clearly defined action paths allow you to quickly reach people who can help with a given problem, or are responsible for a specific scope of activities. This is especially important when working with remote teams, managed e.g. by the Kanban method.
Be an example
If you expect fast and precise communication from your team, you need to communicate well yourself. Start with communication during individual meetings, through team meetings, to using team communication tools. Your team members can see how you deal with requests, whether you keep your promises, and whether you respect the opinion of others. The more the team trusts you, the more it will see the sense of cooperation.
Tools in teamwork
Currently, you have access to thousands of tools that can improve communication in your team. You have many messengers, plus tools for task and project management, customer service, and document collection all at your disposal. In addition, individual tools can integrate with each other and many also link individual services together.
In everyday activities, you can use tools such as Dropbox to store internal files, Asana for task management, and Microsoft Office suite or Google Workplace. Plumm is another great tool for supporting team communication.
Plumm is a collaborative inbox and team communication tool. Thanks to it, an entire team can quickly communicate with each other, as well as communicate with the users of individual SaaS projects. Everything happens on one platform, which definitely speeds up communication. You don’t need to waste time switching between instant messaging programs, changing inboxes, or using another live chat tool.
Effective teamwork is of great importance in the context of achieving the business goals of a team, but above all of the entire company. If communication in the team is efficient and open then it allows you to increase productivity, as well as save time and money. Employees who feel comfortable working in a team will openly communicate problems, a need for support, or offers of help to others.
If you want employee cooperation to work well in your company, you must first identify it as one of the team’s main priorities. Define the goals and mission that should guide the team and the company. It is important that the person managing the team shines by example – if you require open communication, use it yourself. In addition, try to build employees’ trust in you so that they will be more willing and quicker to share observations and ideas.
It is equally important to choose the right tools for the work of your team. Now you can try Plumm, which will ensure quick communication between employees and improve contact with the users of individual SaaS projects.