Tag Archives: meetings and conferencing

3 scary things holding back collaboration at your company

Hair-raising horror movies, spookily decorated storefronts and ghoulish disguises galore: Halloween is nearly upon us, bringing its spine-tingling chills and thrills our way.

The frights of the holiday are all in good fun, but do you know what's truly terrifying? A company culture that stifles team work. That's because employees who put their heads together drive success. A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity and Rob Cross, a global business professor at Babson College, found that companies that encouraged collaboration were five times as likely to be high performing, according to Forbes. 

Don't miss your opportunity to be a top-performing company. Here are five scary things holding back collaboration at your organization: 

1. A lack of trust 

As executive development expert Michael Bunting noted in an article for CEO Magazine, trust is the heart of collaboration. Employees need to feel that they can share their thoughts, opinions and feedback with each other and their managers without fear of negative repercussions. If workers feel there is no sense of trust, they are more likely to be afraid to share unconventional ideas or suggest new ways of doing things that could prove to be incredibly beneficial. If your workplace is tainted by the poison apples of defensiveness and an "every man for himself" mentality, there's no way fruitful collaboration will ever happen.

2. A culture of fear

Fear belongs in haunted houses – not in the office. Productive collaboration depends on people being able to admit that they may not have the specific skill sets needed for a project and then reaching out to others who do possess these abilities. However, employees who are scared to look weak will never ask for help, according to a Medium article written by Ant Cousins, director of customer success at ProFinda. To create a culture of collaboration, management can reward employees who ask for help. 

3. Outdated technology 

Clunky TV monitors and landlines may have looked cool in "Poltergeist," but in a modern workplace, they're collaboration killers. Unified communications, hosted voice and video conferencing make holding meetings and sharing ideas across a workforce seamless and stress-free, no matter where its employees are located.

A lack of trust, a culture of fear and outdated technology: These three factors are downright scary in the way they prevent collaboration at your company. But by recognizing and then taking steps to change these factors, you can face your fears and create a more connected and productive workforce. 

How to optimize productivity in meetings with remote workers

Having remote workers enables you to get the best talent on your team, no matter where it's located. But for telecommuting arrangements to actually be an advantage for your business, you need effective connectivity and collaboration with your remote employees. 

Many managers already struggle to hold meetings that engage in-office workers, let alone those located on the other side of the country or world. But don't sweat it; with the easy productivity practices below, you can make sure meetings with remote workers are worthwhile. 

Use video instead of audio-only meetings 

Video meetings and web conferences are the way to go when it comes to connecting with your remote workforce. They enable face-to-face communication, which helps remote workers feel like they're in the loop and part of the team. These tools improve understanding because you're able to see facial cues and not just hear someone's voice. And as organizational effectiveness consultant Shani Magosky noted in a post for InsideOut Development, these types of remote meetings reduce the chance that employees multitask while in the meeting – so no worries that they're answering emails or working on other projects while you talk.

Keep it action-oriented 

When you have remote workers scattered around the world, with each one potentially following a unique schedule, it's important that meetings bring your company closer to its goals in tangible ways. Make sure every meeting has a clear goal and purpose; for example, find a solution to a workflow issue, de-bug a tech problem or decide on next steps for a project. Even more "abstract" activities like brainstorming can have concrete objectives drawn from them, such as aiming to come up with X number of product ideas to present to upper-level management. Participants should go into the meeting knowing exactly what they need to do and come out knowing their next steps. 

Share materials seamlessly 

Remote workers shouldn't feel far away, and with video conferencing tools that enable you to seamlessly share relevant materials, they won't. Share online content, presentations, sales pitches, product demos and more during video meetings with remote workers to take collaboration and productivity to the next level. 

With the innovative platforms available today, remote workers are closer than ever. Use these tips to boost productivity in meetings with your telecommuters. 

4 Ways to Improve Communication Today

What’s the #1 issue that causes business failure? Miscommunication. That includes lack of communication, not providing enough or accurate information or just not understanding. It’s also costly. In fact, estimates are that miscommunication costs $37 billion every year. Ouch.

improve communicationWhether this is due to select individuals or a businesswide breakdown in communication, companies don’t have to settle for less when it comes to speaking with and engaging their employees.

After all, a Holmes Report study found that companies with excellent communication strategies experience 47 percent higher returns for shareholders, less employee turnover and more satisfied workers overall. So how can you improve communication at your company?

1. Restructure your hierarchy

Far too often, the main problem regarding poor communication at companies is select individuals who are bottlenecks. That means they don’t pass on important information. If you can, restructure or dismantle your current management hierarchy with leaders who value good communication and actively share information.

2. Lead by example

If you want your team to communicate better, change needs to begin from the top down. Lead by example if you want to create lasting change at your organization. Show your employees what is expected of them by consistently giving feedback, asking for it in return and keeping lines of communication open at all times.

3. Empower your people

Are there consequences for sharing bad news? Maybe that’s why there are communication gaps around the office. And really … would you rather not know bad news or know it and be able to do something? The consequences for not understanding bad news could be catastrophic for your business.

4. Have a communication strategy

So your company has poor communication. Do something about it! Funnel resources, effort and time into reinventing your company’s communication strategy. Your internal communications team, for larger companies, or HR department for smaller ones might be a good place to start. While it might be a challenging transformation process at first, the results will be incredibly rewarding.

A strategy includes having tools available to enable — not hinder — communication. The tools you choose should depend on your culture and what your people need as well as thinking through an array of tools.

Need more tips?

We have a plethora of resources available from general ideas about when to use email and meetings to active listening.