Companies that effectively communicate and interact are 4.5 times more likely to retain their top staff. 86 percent of employees feel workplace problems are caused by a lack of teamwork or insufficient communication. Most corporate leaders understand how critical collaboration is for their internal teams to function smoothly and efficiently. But why is social collaboration so important?
Employees from many departments within the organization are encouraged to engage through social collaboration. Social cooperation can range from a CEO wishing to bring together diverse business divisions to an HR head wanting to collaborate with different department leaders to build a more collaborative workplace.
While social cooperation is not a new notion, its digitization via corporate collaboration technologies is what makes it so effective and the future of work.
What is social collaboration?
The process by which several people, groups, or departments communicate with one another to achieve common goals is known as social collaboration.
At its most basic, social collaboration occurs when people work together as a team on a specific topic. If they work remotely from separate physical locations, they may also use digital technologies to collaborate and contribute to the project.
In some circumstances, social collaboration is also known as enterprise social networking, and the tools that enable collaboration are known as enterprise social networks. However, your company does not need an enterprise network to profit from social collaboration. The goal is to provide your employees with a seamless collaboration platform that allows them to communicate with members of their team or other departments effortlessly. Instead of gathering in the town square or at a networking event, individuals gather online and collaborate. Professional relationships can be formed by "meeting" people on LinkedIn, Twitter, Zoom, or other websites. People can recommend others for new jobs or contract labor based on these digital-only ties.
Social collaboration is more than just networking in the classic sense of you helping me, and I help you in closing commercial agreements. It can also be within an organization where you collaborate to solve a problem or develop a plan, but you do so through electronic media rather than convening in a conference room. The epidemic of 2020 pushed many jobs and all external networking to go online, social collaboration took off in a big way. It was acceptable to meet through video conference and conduct whole project plan discussions over instant messaging.
Whatever your situation, social engagement in the digital world builds networks and solves problems.
Benefits of social collaboration
Improved understanding of initiatives across the organization. Employees who are segregated know just what they are working on. Socializing their work helps to ensure that more people understand the larger picture.
Easier transfer of knowledge. When someone leaves a company, their knowledge usually follows them. Making their knowledge publicly available to others lessens the impact of their leaving.
More powerful teams. Teams that communicate effectively outperform those that do not. If you don't believe me, see a development group that has institutionalized code review, with one developer routinely reviewing the code of another. Both developers improve as a result of the process, and the team improves.
A superior product. Employees who socialize their job through cooperation have a better opportunity for improvements and are better prepared to avoid potential dangers. Personally, I never send something I've written for work without first having it reviewed by a coworker. This includes this article.
A better culture. Because every endeavour is a collaborative project, there is less fear of failure when members on a team support one other through collaboration. If you've ever worked in a team environment, you'll understand what I mean. It feels both liberating and empowering.
These five advantages, of course, are dependent on how a corporation employs social cooperation. A deeper awareness of projects across the organization can only be achieved if workers diligently share information with others.
When we share information electronically, barriers might still exist. People must be interested in communicating with diverse teams. Positive interactions are required for people to willingly share and receive information. It is pointless for Jane in Marketing to upload all of her plans to the company's collaboration platform if no one looks at them.
Things done and communicated electronically leave a record, making it easier to discover information. Still, social collaboration via instant messaging will not have the same impact as something more formal.
Team collaboration Best Practices
It's no secret that good team collaboration leads to a lot of benefits, including enhanced productivity and better business outcomes. Creating a collaborative culture, on the other hand, is easier said than done, especially now that remote work is becoming more common. There are various approaches that can be used to establish a collaborative work environment. However, some of the most successful use comparable methods and strategies. So, what are the similarities between these workplaces?
Continue reading to learn about the best techniques for encouraging collaboration.
1. Develop a sense of responsibility
Leaders must avoid micromanaging because it undermines collaboration. As a result, ensure that each team member has their own tasks and goals. Delegating responsibilities communicates to your team that you believe in their abilities and ideas. Allowing everyone to contribute can help employees feel appreciated for their efforts. At the same time, you would make them feel that they are part of a team and that their efforts are valued.
Allow them to devise their own techniques for completing their responsibilities to the greatest extent possible. After all, everyone works in a unique way. Still, make sure they understand what is expected of them without being unduly critical. Assigning duties can foster a sense of ownership and accountability, encouraging each team member to take ownership of their job. This should encourage your employees to be productive.
2. Establish measurable goals
Set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When teams have a clear goal in mind, they may collaborate effectively as a unified unit rather than competing with one another. It can keep their activities aligned and concentrated, preventing them from squandering time and effort.
3. Set a good example
Team leaders must put their words into action. They must be role models for the team. You shouldn't only tell them what ideals and expectations you have for them. You should demonstrate the conduct you want them to exhibit. You may boost communication by being open to feedback and recommendations when you gather your team for open debate and sharing. You should also be open to genuine debate. That is, you should not be concerned if your team has different ideas. As a leader, you must always reply professionally and properly.
You can even set up open channels of communication, allowing anyone to privately express their ideas, whether face-to-face or afar.
4. Promote a judgement-free work environment
Many employees are hesitant to actively participate in team meetings. Many people are afraid to express their thoughts because they are afraid of making mistakes. These are fairly prevalent roadblocks to collaboration. You may overcome them, though, by assuring them that the organization values their innovation. You may accomplish this by creating a healthy, judgment-free environment in which even the oddest and craziest ideas are welcomed.
Recognize and reward their efforts whenever their risk-taking yields positive results. Undoubtedly, mistakes will occur along the road. You may assist them by offering feedback when they do. Recognize and reward their efforts whenever their risk-taking yields positive results. Undoubtedly, mistakes will occur along the road. You may assist them by offering feedback when they do.
A workplace where employees can learn from one another and grow together is a win-win situation for everyone. While the organization achieves great results, the staff can benefit from personal and professional development.
5. Encourage employees to interact outside of the workplace.
Organizing social occasions outside of the office where your employees may relax and socialize is an excellent strategy to break down individual biases and combat stereotyping. This allows your staff to communicate more effectively. The more they bond, the more they regard themselves as a single unit.
If, for example, someone fails to complete a task or project, it will be more difficult for the team to blame their colleagues. Instead, the entire team will benefit from the experience. And, as a group, they would devise answers to their dilemma.
6. Take benefit in one-on-one mentoring
Team leaders can meet with their members one-on-one. Instead of impersonal annual reviews, schedule regular coaching sessions with your members. You can talk about anything, even their successes and failings. You can inquire about any difficulties that are bothering them, especially if you notice changes in their performance or productivity.
Your team can also find interests and passions that are worth studying further and mastering through these sessions. You may aid your employees' personal and professional development by allowing them to engage in such beneficial talks with management.
Again, the stronger their connection to the team and the organization, the more driven they will be to perform well.
7. Recognize and reward joint efforts
To keep this collaborative culture going, make sure to recognize and appreciate your team's combined work. It validates the time and effort they put into their work. It prevents individualism and strengthens their sense of teamwork.
Employee appreciation is extremely vital for the pleasure and contentment of your team. You can continue to inspire them to perform better by rewarding their efforts. You can motivate them to collaborate toward a common objective.
8. Accelerate digital transformation
Investing in a digital workplace that integrates business tools, activities, and procedures makes it easier to foster a collaborative culture. Regardless of where your workers work, the complete team may pool their knowledge and experience to achieve a single goal. Overcoming common barriers to team cooperation can be difficult, especially now that so many people work remotely. However, you may simplify and optimize operations with the help of a digital workplace. Tasks can be delegated and monitored. No matter how vast and distributed your remote workforce is, you can improve communication and collaboration.
Best social collaboration software for your business
Aside from the social networking sites that most of us use on a daily basis (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on), there is a variety of software specifically designed to enable social collaboration in the workplace. Flock Blog was used to identify the best performers.
Here are the top 5 social collaboration software options for your company.
Team members can use Flock to send messages, share files, host video conferences, manage to-do lists, and create calendar events all from one simple interface. Flock interfaces with major business applications such as Google Calendar, Google Drive, Asana, MailChimp, and Twitter, making it easier for team members to keep on top of things without having to juggle a dozen different apps.
Flocks' key features
- Flock's free plan gives your team:
- Unlimited team members and one-to-one messages
- 10 public channels for group conversations
- Unlimited 1:1 video calls
- 5GB storage for file sharing and 10K message history for quick search
- Built-in productivity apps such as shared notes, polls, and reminders
- Unlimited integrations for third-party services, such as Asana, Jira, or Google Drive
You've probably heard of them if you've heard of team chat. Slack has it all: instant messaging, channels, video calls, integrations, and bots for hundreds of third-party products. However, the free plan only allows for 10 service integrations, so choose wisely.
Slack's key features
- Unlimited users, messages, and channels
- Unlimited one-to-one voice and video calls
- 5GB storage for file sharing and 10K message history
- Up to 10 apps or service integrations
Microsoft Teams, which was formerly available only to organizations with Office 365 subscriptions, has recently offered a free option for small enterprises. We appreciate its novel features, such as inline message translation and the option to record meetings with automatic transcriptions. Its tight interfaces with OneDrive and Office 365 services are also a plus.
Microsoft Team's key features
- Up to 300 users
- Unlimited messages, channels, and search
- Unlimited audio and video meetings with up to 250 participants
- 10GB of team file storage + 2GB per user
- 140+ apps and service integrations
This software isn't just about socializing and making connections; it's also project management software. This allows your employees to manage and collaborate within the same tool–making at least one of the best practice guidelines easy to follow. With less software switching, you can spend time collaborating instead of logging in and logging out of various software.
Monday's Key features
- Customizable project tracking templates
- Gantt charts and Kanban
- Calendar view
- Files view
- Desktop and mobile
- Process automation
Twist, created by the team behind Todoist, makes it simple to organize and manage talks using threads. Their message board-like design is simple to use, though handling threads and the inbox (which function more like email threads than Slack threads) takes some practice. What's the advantage? Reduced notifications!
Twist's key features
- Unlimited users, guests, messages, channels, and threads
- Access to 1 month of conversations
- 5GB storage for file sharing
- 5 service integrations
Regardless of how you use digital social networking and cooperation, it is a crucial tool for businesses and individuals. The world is digital, and your workers and clientele may be anywhere around the world. Working together through social collaboration can and will revolutionize the way you do business, as seen by last year's pandemic.
Ian Nzira is the Business Systems Software Developer at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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