Is your company in an innovation dry spell? Has it been searching for that great new idea, but been unable to find it? Are your thinking caps piled on shelves, collecting dust, as employees work quietly away in their solitary cubicles? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, it's likely your business is suffering from low levels of collaboration – and it's time flip the switch.
Collaboration is key to success at any company, regardless of industry or size. Whether employees work in-office or remotely, their conversations and knowledge-sharing drives progress. Stirring together different perspectives and adding a dash of fearless creativity is a recipe for innovation.
If you worry your company isn't working together as dynamically as it could be, don't fret – it's something that can be changed. Here are three ways to pump up collaboration at your organization:
1. Smash that hierarchy
Senior-level management, mid-career workers and recent grads – employees at all levels of the organizational hierarchy should be exchanging ideas with one another. This is because the goal is to minimize the weight of that hierarchy and democratize company culture so that everyone feels incentivized to do their best work in a fair and transparent environment. All-hands meetings and regular Q&A or brainstorming sessions that bring together workers at various levels and points in their careers help everyone feel valued while driving the exchange of ideas.
2. Unite workers with the right tools
If you want to have more collaboration at your company, then you need tools that enable easy, efficient communication, no matter where employees are located in the world. Unified communications tools like hosted voice, video conferencing and instant messaging ensure employees can share files, information and ideas with one another.
3. Create a unique solution
A common mistake organizations make is trying to copy the collaborative work models and practices of other companies, as Sam Marshall explained in an article for CMSWire. Often, their efforts don't work out because they adopted practices and culture attributes that just don't fit their unique work environment and the traits of their employees. Instead, companies should create collaboration practices that are tailored to their workplace.
In a study of companies with high levels of productive collaboration, the Harvard Business Review found that they commonly had "'signature' practices – practices that were memorable, difficult for others to replicate, and particularly well suited to their own business environment."
Reflect on the habits of your company, and create collaborative methods that fit that.