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Successful Collaboration Requires More Than Cool Tools
May 20, 2014 @ 02:25 PM | By Jill Huselton

Collaboration is a hot topic in the modern workplace. Why? Because businesses of all shapes and sizes are realizing they can accomplish more when their employees work together than they can when workers brainstorm, plan and create in isolation.

Over the past decade, myriad tools and technologies have sprung up to facilitate collaboration. At InterCall, we specialize in helping businesses improve collaboration through conferencing and unified communications solutions and services. And we know that tools and technologies by themselves are not enough to maximize collaboration in your workplace.

Collaboration Beyond Tools
You can improve collaboration and communication when you include all of the right ingredients of collaborative technology.

Although advanced tools are important for workplace collaboration, they aren’t magic bullets. To improve collaboration and communication, you need to consider several additional strategies alongside the implementation of collaborative technologies.

Create a collaborative culture

Not surprisingly, highly collaborative organizations create a culture and atmosphere that fosters team-based activities. While it’s important for each team member to understand his/her role, it’s critical for company leadership to set an expectation for collaboration and communication—and to support it with a physical workspace that encourages people to work toward common goals.

Embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Policies have reshaped the workplace in many companies. When it comes to collaboration, the use of personal devices encourages people to work together because it extends collaborative activities beyond the four walls of the business and allows workers to use their preferred technologies. If you haven’t done so already, create a BYOD policy and instruct employees about the use of personal devices for collaborative activities.

Recognize individual strengths

The great thing about collaboration is that it enables youto always put the strongest team on the field. But to leverage individual strengths, all of your team members first need to know and appreciate each other’s skills and specializations. By clearly communicating individual strengths (both inside and across teams), you can improve the return you realize from your collaborative technology investments.

Establish team goals

Organizations that prioritize individual goals and achievements often fall short in the area of collaboration. It is important to create expectations for successful collaboration in the workplace by setting team goals and recognizing exceptional outcomes that they achieve  .

Build relationships

Collaboration and relationship building go hand-in-hand. Although it’s unrealistic to assume that everyone on the team will instantly become best friends, team-building and social activities create trust among team members and ultimately improve collaboration.

As an employer, you’re being asked to do more with your existing workforce. Advanced tools and technologies are a great start. But to maximize workforce productivity, you’ll need to invest a little time and energy in helping your employees get as excited about collaboration as you are.

Have you developed any specific team-oriented goals in your organization?  How has it worked, and how are successes communicated?  Share what you’ve done below.

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

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