The 5 Enemies of Effective Workplace Collaboration

Posted by Kath McNiff on Jan 23, 2019 5:28:39 PM

Collaboration is king in the new world of work.

Disruptors like Uber and Airbnb and have shown that small teams of diverse thinkers are capable of toppling industries and building breakthrough products that change the world.

With the #futureofwork on our doorstep, collaboration has become more important than ever - it's the secret sauce of innovation and is vital for business survival and success.  

As Jason Fox (wizard rogue and author of How to Lead Quest) says:

"To find futures, we need to venture into the angst of uncertainty and systematically and collectively use our imagination to explore what's possible."

But collaborating (especially amidst uncertainty) is not as easy as it sounds and organizations can struggle to get it right.

For specific ideas on creating a space for collaboration, you might want to check out our White Paper:

Get-Your-Team-Going_Call-To-Action-1For now, let's review a few of the barriers that get in the way of collaboration and look at ways of jumping them.

Lack of training

Businesses build break-out rooms and setup team messaging tools in the hope that collaboration will just happen.

But like any other skill, collaboration requires training - tailored to a company's unique challenges and goals.

To collaborate effectively, teams need to understand how to

  • Actively listen

  • Have challenging conversations

  • Use collaboration tools

  • Develop effective partnerships

  • Manage accountability

HR leaders can build a truly collaborative workplace by helping people to understand the art (and science) of collaboration - including how it plays into everyday processes and broader business goals.

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Those damn Silos

A recent survey from My Customer.com, reveals that 40 percent of employees feel unsupported by their colleagues because "different departments have their own agendas."

When departments hoard information and focus on their own goals, the business at large misses out on the convergence of perspectives and potential improvements that a more collaborative approach would provide.

In her book The Innovation Formula, Dr. Amantha Imber shares a funny yet telling anecdote about a lingerie company where "bras didn't talk to panties"  - two ridiculously siloed departments that led to mismatched underwear and significant customer frustration. 

One of the problems is that different departments tend to favor different tools and processes - so getting on the same page in a digital sense can prove difficult. This is where a central platform for communication, cooperation, and coordination can help to break down the silos and bridge the information gaps - and voila, matching undies! 

Senior leaders need to bring departments together regularly - to set complementary agendas, share challenges and reap the benefits of cross-pollination. 

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Fragmented Tools

Collaboration tools are hot right now - and they'll stay hot according to a recent report via Computer World.

 "...collaboration software has become an increasingly integral part of how work is both organized and carried out".

But the sheer volume of disparate tools can defeat the very purpose they're intended to serve.

Email, Skype, Slack, comments in Word docs and PDFs - with so many conversations going on all over the place, it can be hard to keep track of collaborative efforts.

The proliferation of collaboration platforms shows no signs of slowing down so the challenge will be to consolidate and find a simpler, more holistic solution -  one that engages workers, organizes collective knowledge and ignites the collaborative spark - or as the recent research from Deloitte suggests:

"HR organizations must work with IT to bring their expertise in team management, goal-setting, and employee development to help make using the new wave of connectivity tools productive, simple, and engaging."

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The 'T' Word

According to PWC's Global CEO Survey, 50% of CEOs worldwide consider a lack of trust to be a major threat to their organizational growth.

Trust is at the heart of every great collaboration - it starts at the top of an organization and filters down.

It practical terms, it means that people can depend on each other to:

  • Follow through and do what they say they will do

  • Put skin in the game (share the risks and rewards)

  • Acknowledge good work

  • Compromise where needed

  • Show vulnerability

  • Empathize

  • Share opinions without fear of ridicule, reprisal or idea-theft

  • Overcome personal biases and default ways of thinking

Research has shown that people working in trust-based cultures are 60% more likely to enjoy their jobs and 70% more aligned with their companies' purpose - the perfect storm for collaboration and innovation.

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The Other 'T' Word

Collaboration? Who's got time for that?

Time is precious and there's so much work to do. Dr Jason Fox calls this relentless busyness "the curse of efficiency" and goes on to explain how it crowds out time for collaboration, innovation, and good strategic development.

Operational efficiency is crucial to business success but it doesn't drive change or push the boundaries.

So, why do we continue to focus on it? Because we're good at it, because it feels comfortable and because it's less frightening than tackling the big problems or seeking new horizons.

Organizations can free up time for collaboration by automating the busy work - using their intranet for online forms, workflows and tick-the-box compliance requirements. 

To carve out time for intentional collaboration (instead of just hoping it will happen in an ad-hoc or serendipitous way) organizations can set particular days of the week as 'Collaboration Days' - where people plan to be in the office for team meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Or, like Atlassian, they could run regular ShipIt Days where teams can drop what they’re doing and collaborate to "make something awesome.”

Get Collaboration Going

From building an International Space Station to mapping the Human Genome or composing Hey Jude - collaboration is key to our greatest leaps forward.

The same is true for your business.

For a deeper dive into the challenges of collaboration and how your intranet can help, download our White Paper. 

 Get-Your-Team-Going_Call-To-Action-1

 

Topics: Collaboration, esn, innovation, company intranet

Transforming Workforce Experience

Posted by Connie Pandos on Aug 26, 2016 4:11:32 PM

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The wellbeing of a business is determined by the wellbeing of its staff. In order to make a positive profit, your team need to feel positive about their work. Dale Carnegie Training found that “companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.” Sounds like something worth addressing, right?

However, changing the way your team feels about work requires more than table tennis or soft drinks in the fridge. It’s about transforming the entire workforce experience.

What is workforce experience and why is it important?

Employee experience is the way employees feel at and about their work; the wellbeing and the health and cooperation of the team as a whole is workforce experience. A positive workforce experience is when you have engaged staff with an emotional commitment to tasks and achieving targets, and consequently the foundation for smarter, faster, better business.

Fortunately, it’s easy to nurture and transform many facets of employee & workforce experience through your intranet:

Mobile Intranet

Mobile intranet access is now an absolute game changer in managing employee experience. Being able to access work from a client meeting, airport lounge or home, means employees are able to do work when they need to, or feel most inspired, mobility is something that employees categorically seek and expect as part of their workplace experience.

Boston College research reports that “64% of employees would choose a lower paying job if they could work away from the office just 1 day a week.”

Positive Team Culture

Deloitte found that Enterprise Social Networks generate more than just chit-chat, stating “organizations that rolled out social media tools found a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.” Enterprise Social Networks, encourage dialogue among team members and this leads to a more open communication and a happier team. Social platforms foster these social connections and in doing so build meaningful relationships and positive team culture.

Admin and eForms

Every employee wishes that annoying paper based forms are a thing of the past.  Employees want to be able to do all their administration tasks via an intranet – a central digital workplace – where less spent trawling through files, and folders and documents, and more time is spent accomplishing targets. In addition to this, the cost savings on paper, printing, and time will even make management smile.

Innovation

Employees may feel that they can make a real, tangible difference to their workplace but they may not have a voice or a vehicle for sharing their voice. A social intranet is a space for staff of all levels to contribute their ideas and visions. Your team will grow in confidence and feel that their input is valued. They might even come up with your next big idea!

Recognition

It’s important that staff know their efforts are appreciated. Team members on all levels need to feel as though they’re a part of the bigger picture. An intranet allows for recognition processes to celebrate and encourage staff achievements. Not only will a pat on the back give employees that warm fuzzy feeling, it gives others something to strive for.

So even though table tennis and pool tables at work could be fun… their ability to engage, innovate, and nurture your workforce is questionable.

Are you smiling yet?

Would you like your team to smile more whilst at work?

If you want to make real changes to the way your team feels about work, then we'd love to show you how GreenOrbit can help.

 

Topics: digital workplace, employee engagement, enterprise social network, INTRANET INSIGHT, Social Intranet, dashboard, innovation, mobile intranet, team culture, wellbeing

Why your business needs to take remote work seriously

Posted by Connie Pandos on Jul 8, 2016 3:36:37 PM

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It’s a cold Sunday evening… I am sitting by the fire planning the week ahead…  balancing and juggling work/life commitments… and reflecting on how the office is no longer a place I go to work.

I need to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, and I want to use a mobile device to do this.

And I can.

My digital workplace is my mobile intranet.

How did mobile work happen?

In case you haven’t noticed, mobile devices and mobile apps now drive technology & communication in most people’s lives, and they have infiltrated the workforce.

Almost everyone has a mobile device/phone and they use it all the time, including at work.

According to a Deloitte Mobile Consumer survey 

78% of people worldwide have a mobile phone”

Mobile usage is no longer about phone calls and text – it is so much more. Online shopping, banking, social media and news consumption all happen via mobile. Mobile apps have delivered extraordinary technology and flexibility regarding communication and business transactions.

Mobile work is a natural consequence of this prolific mobile usage and the expectations that mobile apps have created.

The statistics regarding mobile uptake and usage prove that people love their phones and smart devices. They use their devices all the time, including first thing in the morning:

 “78% of mobile device owners in developed countries & 93% in emerging countriesCheck their phone within hour of waking” Deloitte

Mobile device usage at work is the norm:

“47% of mobile device owners in developed countries and 76% in emerging countries – Use their mobile during business meetings. ” Deloitte

The proliferation of smart device usage is something that business can no longer ignore, and a mobile workforce is here to stay. Actually it is set to grow and grow, according to a recent iDC forecast:

“Mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters of the total US workforce by 2020.”

Who is the mobile workforce?

Let’s take a look more closely at the characteristics of the mobile workforce:

  • They own a mobile device

  • They use communication apps such as LinkedIn & Facebook daily

  • They expect social communication technology for work purposes

  • They expect flexibility and autonomy

  • The majority are millennials (those born from early 80’s up to 2000)

Whilst I am part of this emerging mobile workforce, I am not representative of the majority (I was born before the 80’s ;-). Millennial workers are set to make up 75% of the total workforce by 2025,” Pew Research Center.  It is the needs of this tech savvy generation that should to be addressed.

Companies need to appeal to the upcoming workforce and engage them with technology solutions they desire. When surveyed “77% of millennials state that flexible mobile work would make the workplace more productive for people their age.” Bentley University Survey.

Organizations should tap into the expectations of the millennial mobile workforce and towards creating a digital workplace that meets their needs.

millenials-in-the-workforce

Social Communication via the mobile Intranet

People love communication apps such as Facebook and LinkedIn. They love them so much that they are bringing these technologies into the workplace and using them as a means for communicating with their colleagues.

Unbeknownst to you, your staff are bypassing other communication methods like email in the workplace for mobile apps. Stop this from happening! Give your workers access to a mobile intranet with social capability. Ensure your mobile workforce are productive and effective by enabling them to communicate and collaborate via social technology they are familiar with using.

Mobile Intranet

A mobile intranet is now a fundamental component to the success of any modern day organization.

Give your workforce access to documents, processes, forms and tasks etc via a mobile intranet and, align your communication and collaboration objectives via your intranet.

Connect with your current and future workforce via their mobile whilst they are at work.  Tap into their prolific mobile usage and communicate with them by providing meaningful information you want them to know via the mobile intranet.

GreenOrbit takes mobile a step further by providing a native app (for iOS and Android) - a streamlined experience that keeps your workforce connected to News and Activity Feeds even when they are out and about. 

  

Topics: digital workplace, INTRANET INSIGHT, innovation, mobile intranet, user engagement, workplace

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