A guest post by Emma Grace Brown
You want to hear your employees’ ideas, and more importantly, you want them to share their ideas with each other. Lots of successful business initiatives are born out of collaboration, but a lack of communication and coordination within your company can hold your team back. These pointers from ANA Professional Language Services can help you drive collaboration in the workplace.
Maintain a Positive Environment
If you’ve encountered a lot of complaining, criticism, and blaming in your office, it’s time to take action to clear out the negativity. The first place to start is with clutter. A cluttered environment distracts and blocks connections, so encourage everyone to declutter where they can. If you still need help, it may be time to try smudging with sage.
Improve Your Body Language
The right body language can make your team feel more comfortable, relaxed, and open. Positive body language is actually a core aspect of effective communication! This means making eye contact when you speak and keeping your posture straight to ensure that you come across as self-assured. Rather than crossing your arms across your chest, try to keep them by your side - this makes you look confident and laid-back. When it comes to body language, practice makes perfect, so try to apply these tips on a daily basis at work!
Encourage Peer Feedback
Workplace leaders aren’t the only ones who should give feedback - you should also ensure that your team feels comfortable giving each other feedback, too! Some employees feel a bit awkward about giving each other feedback, so you may need to take some steps to make this happen. 360Learning recommends establishing a peer feedback loop so that your team can learn together and continuously give feedback.
Constructive feedback is also an important part of establishing and maintaining trust. This is especially important when, for whatever reason, trust has been jeopardized or broken within the workplace. Don’t forget that it’s one thing to request feedback; it’s quite another to both acknowledge it and act on it. This goes a long way toward building back trust, as employees will see that their opinions and feelings are taken seriously.
Schedule Performance Reviews
Performance reviews can be a great time to note where your employees need to improve, as well as where their strengths lie. It’s important to schedule performance reviews on a regular basis. If you’ve noticed certain employees struggling with collaboration or sharing ideas, this is a good time to touch on this topic. Talk to them about times they have made strong contributions to the team, and let them know that you value their input. You should also ask your employees if there are any areas related to collaboration or cooperation where they specifically hope to improve
Solicit Employee Ideas
Sometimes, the best way to get your employees to collaborate is to simply ask for their ideas! You can do this by facilitating meetings with an emphasis on giving everyone opportunities to speak. If you’re running the meeting and managing the agenda, make sure that everyone who wants to share an idea has the time to do so — otherwise, more outgoing members of the team can easily end up dominating the conversation.
You can also put in the extra effort to procure ideas from your quieter employees. To accomplish this, Truity recommends scheduling one-on-one meetings with employees who often seem reluctant to speak up during team meetings. They may feel more comfortable opening up in a calmer environment.
Provide Rewards and Recognition
People repeat behaviors when they are rewarded for them in some way — and this definitely applies in the workplace! If you want your employees to continuously collaborate, you need to reward them for successful collaborations. You may want to implement an Employee of the Month program and make it a point to highlight employees who are proactive about collaborating with others. If you use an internal communication platform for your team, you could also tag employees who have contributed great ideas lately and give them a public shoutout!
Sometimes, employees might hesitate to kick off collaborations or put forth ideas that involve cooperation. Company leaders should always make it a point to explicitly encourage collaboration if they want to see employees follow this example. With these tips, you’ll be able to spark exciting new collaborations at your company.