Collaboration skills are essential for any remote employee, regardless of if they are working from the same office or two sides of the world.
Whether you’re already managing a remote team with a remote work tracker or plan to soon, the issue of effective collaboration is sure to have popped up in your mind once or twice.
In this blog post, we will show you some of our actionable techniques that can help you and your remote employees develop their collaboration skills further.
Set Clear Goals, Company Vision & Employee Expectations
One of the biggest challenges remote employees face when trying to work remotely is unclear goals. If your employees do not know WHY are they doing something, it is perfectly understandable that they will not be able to collaborate on it.
To set a clear company vision and goals, define your goals before the start of every project. You also need to ensure that your employees are aware of how the project's purpose relates to the company's vision, which is also something all your employees should be aware of.
If it is possible, fuse the goals of your employees with the company's goals, making sure that when the business grows, your employees grow as well.
A good practice is to follow the OKR (objectives and key results) on each project or incorporate the SMART method for goal setting and proper measuring.
A crucial part of a better collaboration strategy is to set clear expectations for each employee. Clear expectations both benefit the employee and the whole company.
By setting expectations for all employees, you can significantly reduce or even completely remove any confusion, which will lead to better chances that the employees will be able to achieve the goals you set for them.
If all employees know what they have to do, it is more likely that they will actually be able to complete their tasks successfully.
This can lead to your company achieving your business goals and being more successful.
Define Each Role in Detail
For each new employee that you hire, you must find a place in the team. Even before you hire someone, make sure that the position you are hiring for is needed in the organization.
This means that you need to clearly define all the roles in your team. Your future hires need to know exactly what is their role and what is the scope of their responsibilities.
Each employee should also know with whom it is best to collaborate, as well as who they can talk to if any problems arise. By defining each role in detail, you will minimize the chances of new employees not knowing what to do or getting too much responsibility from the get-go.
Give Your Employees Learning Opportunities
Whenever it is possible for your company, provide your employees with the opportunity to grow in their careers. Give them a chance to develop current and learn any new skills that both they and your company will find useful either right now or in the future.
By investing in your employees, you also invest in your company. There are thousands of online courses and conferences your employees could attend to take their knowledge to the next level - make sure you’re keeping an eye on these.
Connect With Teammates Outside of Work
Even as a remote team, it is essential to connect with your team as much as possible. It will help strengthen the bond between your employees and make them better at collaborating.
Organize real team-building retreats where all employees can meet up in real life and do something fun together.
If that is not possible at the moment, you can also organize online team-building activities such as playing games, watching movies together, and much more.
Get the Right Collaboration Tools to Make Your Employees More Productive
One of the best ways to foster better collaboration in your company is to ensure your employees have all the tools that they might need. Make sure your employees use a team chat platform and that you have a project management tool at hand.
If you are looking at ways to measure whether or not your employees are productive when collaborating on projects together, consider learning how to track employee productivity.
Once you learn how to track employee productivity with a remote work tracker, you will be able to match people into collaborative teams that will encourage the ones to excel at working productively to push the ones that are currently struggling.
Encourage a Feedback-Friendly Environment
For effective team collaboration to take place, the right environment is essential.
So what kind of environment is most conducive to cross-functional collaboration?
One that encourages feedback from team members. If you can create an atmosphere in which every team member feels comfortable giving and receiving feedback, you can drastically improve the capacity for successful teamwork.
When everyone on the team feels as if they’re on the same page, and that they have a safe space to voice their concerns and suggestions, then it’s much easier to head in the same direction.
You can create a feedback-friendly environment in several ways:
- Regular one-on-one meetings: Sometimes group feedback as a team is more challenging than individual feedback, which is why regular one-on-one meetings between team members and managers can be useful.
- Anonymous feedback channels: When your team members are afraid to speak up, try setting up anonymous feedback channels so you can still collect valuable input.
- Reward active participation: By recognizing and rewarding active participation in the feedback process, you can help team members find their voices and speak up.
Promote Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
Sometimes, the only obstacle preventing effective collaboration in a remote workplace is outside of your control.
It could be down to cultural sensitivities, rather than something you have direct control over. This is especially true these days as teams are more and more global; made up of team members from various countries and cultures.
While you can’t change cultural sensitivities, you can help raise awareness with cross-cultural training sessions. During these sessions, you can bring to light potential causes of cultural conflict and help every team member understand one another on a deeper level.
It’s also important for collaboration that you’re mindful of different time zones when scheduling meetings.
Implement Collaborative Learning & Brainstorming Sessions
If the creative spirit seems to be lacking in your remote workplace, perhaps brainstorming sessions and collaborative learning could spark it to life.
Engaging group learning activities and brainstorming sessions can help break the ice in your team and encourage individuals to share their ideas freely. This can be a useful exercise for opening up the floor to discussion and debate and forging connections for effective collaboration.
These brainstorming sessions can be in person, or they can be run virtually through digital whiteboard software such as Miro, or video conferencing tools like Zoom.
It’s also a good idea to switch team members around if you have multiple groups so that they can be exposed to new ideas and voices.
Promote Effective Company-wide Collaboration
If you want to build better collaboration skills in your company, know that it will take some time, and get ready for it. Collaboration is something that you and your employees should continually work on, as only by doing it often will all of you be able to get better at it.
As much as possible, make sure you involve your employees in any new processes and initiatives. That will help them to develop their skills further and find new ways to improve collaboration in the company.
Updated on October 5th 2023