The Importance of Collaboration Skills in the Workplace
When you’re considering hiring hourly employees, industry standards and regulations are the first things on your mind. How will you calculate the hourly vs. the fixed salary? How will you cover the state-imposed taxes? All those issues are important, and you should definitely take them into consideration.
However, there’s a something about hourly workers that employees often tend to forget: collaboration. These people are used to working as individuals. If, for example, you hire a writer from AussieWritings.com service and you settle for an hourly rate, this writer will take your instructions and deliver the content by the deadline.
The writer’s work will be way more effective if you connect them with the remaining members of your team and encourage them to work together. If, for example, this writer collaborates with the graphic designer, web developer, and content marketing expert, the results of their work will be much more effective.
Why is an individual’s work more effective when they become part of a well-connected team?
Let’s discuss that phenomenon in detail.
What is Collaboration?
Collaborate definition: The Business Dictionary defines collaboration as “Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.” Simply put, collaboration is teamwork taken to a higher level. Collaboration allows for a more productive way of getting tasks and goals completed.
There are many benefits to collaborating in the workplace. In fact, this Huffington Post blog argued that collaborative environments are at the core of the modern workplace. When teams or departments are able to collaborate, they are able to utilize the strengths and skills of everyone involved.
Can You Simply Stop Caring about Collaboration?
Imagine you’re building a house, and you’re hiring hourly employees to do the work. If the person handling the wooden floor does not collaborate with the worker in charge of the heating system, you’ll be the one explaining everything to them. You’ll have to decide when each of these workers can start with their part of the job, and you’ll be explaining what the other one did before they can start working.
You want a personal anecdote? I was recently renovating my home, and the guy who worked on the wooden floor was extremely angry with the guy who worked with the tiles, telling me he messed everything up. When I confronted the tile guy, he told me that the floor guy got everything wrong. I was the link between these two men, and things turned into a huge mess.
Hourly workers are not used to being part of a team. They like taking instructions and doing their work. We have to change that!
So no; you cannot stop caring about collaboration among your employees, whether they are salary-based or hourly workers. If you want effective work and fewer headaches, you have to think about enhancing the level of teamwork.
Why is Collaboration So Important?
Let’s list few facts to prove how crucial collaboration is for a thriving workplace:
1. Teamwork Leads to an Enhanced Problem-Solving Process
When you need the input of varied talents into your project, the logical solution is to hire multiple people. If, for example, you decided to launch a website for your business, you’ll need to consider hiring experts for at least 5 different roles: UX designer, marketing strategist, website developer, content developer, and editor. You’ll probably hire these people on an hourly basis since you don’t need them as permanent workers for your company.
As any other type of project, website development is not deprived of problems. When the team members work together, they can do everything more effectively. If the collaboration is non-existent, each worker will provide their feedback to you, so you’ll have to adjust the instructions for the other workers accordingly. This approach makes you waste a lot of time.
It’s much easier to connect these people together and let them work things out. You’ll still be in control of the process, but your role will be limited to management.
2. Through Collaboration, Workers Learn from Each Other
Whenever you connect one of your workers with the team, you give them a chance to enhance their knowledge and skills. When someone works as an individual, they are focused on implementing the knowledge and skills they already have within their efforts.
When they are part of a team, they will get consistent feedback on their efforts. That feedback pushes them to get better at what they do. They can learn from the work of all other members of the team. No matter how weird that sounds, a team helps you grow as an individual.
3. A Collaborative Mindset Spreads Across Departments
When we’re talking about collaboration, we’re not limited to the teamwork between the workers focused on a single project. This mindset extends across all departments.
If, for example, you hire hourly workers to work on the launch of a new website, you’ll connect them with all departments in the organization. That will help them get information from direct sources, so they can feel the vibe of the organization and they will express it through their work.
When you connect the workers between departments, they will give each other feedback that will help all processes within the company. Most of all, everyone will be focused on achieving the greater goals of the business.
4. You Get an Impression of the Bigger Picture
When the team works together, the manager gets uninformed feedback. You get insights into the bigger picture, so you’re able to understand the issues in their depth. Think about the example from the beginning of this article. If the men who worked on the wooden flooring and the tiles collaborated with each other, they would have solved the issue between them, and they would have given me feedback I could understand. In the situation that lacked collaboration, I was getting different feedback from the individual workers and I had no idea what the real situation was.
When the workers within a team compliment each other’s work, you can stay in control of the situation. Otherwise, you’ll be getting individual feedback and complaints so it will be difficult for you to connect the loose ends.
5. Better Collaboration Leads to Better Employee Satisfaction
Through collaboration, your workers get better support. Instead of contacting the manager for every single issue they face and waiting for answers, they can simply communicate with their colleagues and get quicker and more effective solutions. They also find a shared sense of purpose, so they feel like they are working towards a goal that’s important for the community.
Let’s see an example from a specific industry that proves how collaboration boosts the level of job satisfaction. The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher showed that 67% of the teachers believed that a higher level of collaboration among educators would greatly improve the overall student achievements. The survey also showed that the highly satisfied teachers are more likely to agree that the educators and the other professionals at the schools should trust one another and regularly spend time working together.
How Do You Encourage Your Workers to Collaborate?
Now that we clarified the importance of collaboration in the workplace, let’s focus on another important aspect: how can you encourage your workers to enhance their collaboration skills?
It’s not an easy process. Do you know what stands in the way? Ego. Each individual has an ego, which prevents them from fully accepting other people’s suggestions. When you’re trying to bring your workers together towards a common goal, you’re practically training their egos.
It’s a big challenge, but it’s doable! Here’s how you can encourage your workers to collaborate:
- Arrange Brainstorming Sessions
- Learn How to Listen
- Infuse Team-Building Activities into the Working Routine
- Stay Transparent
- Use the Digital Workplace to Its Full Advantage
This technique works particularly well with in-office workers, but it’s also successful with hourly employees. You just need to bring them together. Even if we’re talking about distance workers, you can still bring them together through communication tools. If you employe hourly workers, consider using workforce management solutions with communication features for a fully optimized tool. Deputy’s Newsfeed feature allows you to communicate instantly with your entire team or a single employee. To learn more, set up time to chat with one of our reps below:
Brainstorming is a great method for triggering ideas. Each employee gets a chance to speak up. They express their individual ideas, but they are also inspired to put their heads together with the intention to come down to the most successful solution.
During the brainstorming session, you should explain that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Whatever the employees are thinking, they should express it. Then, you’ll discuss all ideas without paying attention where they came from. You will not give credit to individuals; you’ll be working as a team towards an important goal.
When you’re working with a team and you have different ideas coming from all over the place, you have to enhance your listening skills. That’s one of the main responsibilities a manager has.
Whenever you get a suggestion, you should see how it fits into the overall picture. Then, you should suggest active collaboration between the members of the team so they will listen to each other. Finally, you’ll be able to respond to that suggestion in a quick and effective manner.
When you’re hiring people for an important project, team-building activities will help them develop stronger connections. A team-building event will make the new employees aware of the office culture, and it will motivate them to join forces with the rest of the team.
Most of all, a cool event of this type brings positive vibes within the team and increases the job satisfaction.
Some of the coolest team-building games include winner/loser, game of possibilities, scavenger hunt, the mind field, and more. If it’s difficult for you to organize an event, you can rely on a professional service that specializes in team building activities.
Feedback is an important aspect of teamwork. You should always be honest with your employes, so they will be aware of the way their performance is valued.
In addition to providing personal feedback, you should also offer team feedback. This time, you won’t be focused on the individuals. You’ll focus on the workplace community, and you’ll provide suggestions on how they can collaborate more effectively.
When you’re hiring remote workers, especially on an hourly basis, you have a great opportunity to use various digital tools in order to promote collaboration. There’s a wide range of online collaboration platforms you can use for that purpose:
- Elcom – a tool for professional collaboration that mimics social media networks. Your employees will be able to connect in a friendly but focused online environment. Elcom provides collaborative content authoring tools so the team can join forces towards the development of a particular project. The users can also communicate with each other so they can keep the connection alive.
- Deputy – Deputy is a leading workforce management software and is used across the globe to schedule, track time, and communicate with employees wherever they are. Replace emails and SMS with the Deputy Newsfeed. Give your staff an easy way to stay informed, share important messages, and contribute to the workplace conversation. Give Deputy a try,
- Yammer – a straightforward tool for enhancing the collaboration within an organization. It keeps the users updated with big announcements and success stories, as well as with instructions and recommendations from top-level leaders.
- Slack – a collaboration hub that lets all employees communicate with each other through a single platform. You can create different channels within Slack so each team within the organization will have their private, focused space for communication. Other workers can join and leave the channels as needed.
What Skills Enhance Teamwork?
Some people collaborate better than others. It’s not just about their ego; it’s also about specific skills they developed through practice. When you’re trying to hire the perfect workers for a team or you’re trying to train your current ones, these are the skills you should focus on:
- Ability to Compromise
You should encourage everyone to share their ideas, but you must explain that not every battle has to be fought. They should simply offer their point of view and listen to what the other team members have. Then, they can join forces towards finding a compromise.
- Communication Skills
You cannot let the workers limit their efforts to their part of the job. They should be able to express themselves clearly and connect with the rest of the team so they can talk about the project. Communication is the essential element of effective collaboration.
When creating a team, you’re grouping individuals together. When their egos clash, you come down to a tricky situation: the differences prevail over their will to find solutions. It’s vital for everyone to practice tolerance towards each other. You can encourage tolerance through motivational speeches, as well as through direct feedback and recommendations.
- Technical Skills
It’s simple: if you want your workers to collaborate through digital tools, you have to make sure they have the technical skills needed for that. Fortunately, all these tools are easy to use so there won’t be much training involved. Still, you have to provide instructions and support the employees towards the process of mastering these tools.
Through successful collaboration, the team can lead your organization or project towards success. The manager has a tricky responsibility to bring everyone closer and encourage them to work more effectively. That’s not an easy goal to achieve, but you can make progress if you follow the tips above.