Finding ways to improve the work experience and develop a collaborative culture in your workplace always has a positive outcome. A happy employee is a more productive employee. Don’t take our word for it, you only need one word, probably the one you clicked on to get here: Google.
There is a reason that Google has been ranked the “Best Company to Work For” four years in a row by Fortune Magazine. By now, everyone knows about the free lunches, the vibrant workspace, the perks like free massages, but is that what it is all about?
Those things are great, but not every company can afford those kinds of office perks. There are many other businesses on the list that don’t have the same playful setting: Microsoft, Accenture, Baptist Health South Florida, Edward Jones, CHG Healthcare Services. They may not have a “take your dog to work” policy, but all 100 companies on the list have one thing in common; a collaborative work environment.
How Do You Build a Collaborative Culture?
1. Team Work – Obviously collaboration is all about team work, but you need to find the right teams to work together on the right projects. To do that, you must know your people and their strengths and personalities. Get to know the people who work for you and ask them for their input in building teams.
2. Leadership – A manager who stays shut up in his or her office isn’t going to inspire collaboration. Have an open door policy. Get out there, roll up your sleeves and show your staff that you value the work that they do.
3. The Environment – We’ve all heard people complain about cubicles, but if you notice, Google has cubicles. The difference is that they set up their offices in a more open fashion. They also have more common areas where employees can get together in a comfortable environment. We’re not talking about the boardroom.
4. Creativity – Encourage your employees to be free to express their opinions and ideas. Don’t shoot down people who think outside the box, sometimes the craziest idea has merit.
5. Cross Functional Collaboration – Your creative team may not have anything in common with accounting, but finding a way for departments to work together builds team spirit and helps your company grow. Everyone has something to contribute. Encourage employees to step outside the comfort zone of their department.
6. Development and Education – Providing seminars or sending your employees to conferences or other events is a benefit to the employee and to your company. The more that they know, the better job that they will do for you.
7. Transparency – One of the biggest complaints from employees is that they don’t know what is going on in a company. We’re not saying you have to divulge confidential information, but you should be open about where the company is heading; your goals and your issues. For example, if your company has been hit by the recession and is taking a beating, let your employees know and ask them if they have ideas on how to grow the business.
8. Social Time – Many of us communicate with our coworkers by email, even when they are in the next office. In order to be collaborative, we all need more face to face interaction. It can’t all be about work. Hold social events, and celebrate victories with your employees. You may not have the space for a common lunch room, but you could have a pizza day or a barbecue. Food brings people together. That’s why Google provides free lunches.
9. Innovative Technology – An office isn’t an assembly line. Creative and intelligent people get bored if they have to do mundane tasks over and over. Invest in innovative software that helps your employees do their job faster. For example, a PDF to Excel converter allows your employees to quickly convert documents into a spreadsheet, instead of spending hours manually inputting the information. It is difficult to share a PDF file for a collaborative project, where everyone adds or changes information. Excel is easily edited or changed.
10. Opportunity – Provide opportunities for growth, rewards for jobs well done and financial assistance for employees who want to obtain certifications or more education in their field. Give employees a chance to move up in the company.
You need to attract and keep the best people. The way to do that, is by building a positive corporate culture.