Encouraging and Improving Collaboration Between Teams

There's no question that solid collaboration between employees and teams can yield positive results for a business or company. In an article featured by HRReporter Canada on collaboration and diversity initiatives, Heidi Gardner, cofounder of Gardner and Co defines true collaboration to be a “very hyper-intentional, very deliberate, outcome-focused way of operating together." For complex issues like diversity, the kind of collaboration that leads to positive results requires a great deal of trust. True collaboration would also require positive work culture that fosters a sense of purpose and personal growth, with a holistic approach that focuses on transparent communication. This lets employees feel that they are part of the company, improving performance and overall business success—a high standard that most companies try to pursue but may not always achieve.

In a digital age that tends to make people feel more disconnected, team leaders who can initiate collaborative efforts will ensure that everyone succeeds together to achieve great results. Below, we'll look at some of the ways team leaders can encourage and improve collaboration between teams in the workplace:

Identify shared goals

Different teams will rely on their own skillsets and experiences, and it can be challenging to foster collaboration between teams that seemingly work on entirely different aspects of a project. However, groups can better collaborate to achieve optimal results by identifying and working towards a shared goal.

Case in point, let's look at the "classic" disconnect between marketing and advertising. Ayima discusses how integrating SEO and PPC — that is, search engine optimization and pay-per-click — can help your company get the best results at a lower cost. In an increasingly competitive market, having your marketing team (in charge of SEO) and your advertising team (in charge of PPC) work closely together can significantly improve your business' website conversion and click-through rates while reducing wasted spend. For example, by collaborating towards a shared goal of boosting a brand's online presence and engagement, the marketing team can focus on a content creation strategy that aligns with the brand's campaign strategy set by the advertising team.

Cultivate mutual empathy

It's also vital to ensure each team member can empathize with others — especially other teams involved in a project. Helping employees understand the constraints and challenges faced by teams from different departments can cultivate a culture where they are more willing to help each other to improve.

LinkedIn post on empathy and productivity explains that empathy in the workplace is positively related to job performance. Being empathic at work can help team members facilitate better communication, think more creatively, and improve cultural competence. For example, marketing teams are creativity-driven, whereas product development teams are more technical. Team leaders can work on cross-functional project teams where both teams can collaborate throughout a project's lifecycle — from planning to execution — to develop a better understanding of each other's perspectives, expertise, and challenges.

Foster team communication

Finally — communication is vital. Don't overlook the importance of team-building activities, especially between different teams and departments, for fostering effective communication. Miscommunication and a lack of communication between groups can reduce productivity and botched results.

To better foster communication, companies can incorporate musical team-building activities like Orchestrate! or the collaborative art-themed challenges like The Big Picture to stimulate creativity and strategic communication with each other, even inter-departmentally. Re-socializing groups with each other can help build better relationships and cultivate good communication. For example, hybrid team-building activities can foster communication and collaboration between your sales and customer support teams. Since the two groups work on different aspects of a brand or business, facilitating inter-team communication — in-person or virtually — can improve customer satisfaction and sales opportunities as they communicate goals and concerns transparently.

At the end of the day, even though teams are focused on different aspects of a project or business, encouraging collaboration between teams and departments can help your business achieve unified goals and optimal results.

Article written by Rosie Jennings

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