We all have experience being part of or working with, a team. Whether it be in the workplace, athletics, or socially, being part of a team can be a miserable experience if it cohesion, communication, and a general sense of team are lacking. Not to mention the serious drain on fun and celebration that accompanies a dysfunctional team setting. In a workplace that is becoming increasingly digital, the traditional ideals of the team can often get lost and these hallmarks of poorly functioning teams can become increasingly apparent. So how can you leverage the digital world around you to strengthen your team and your workplace culture? By following these three simple tips.
1. Creating a Centralized Base
Not knowing what is happening within your own company or what your colleagues are working on creates a feeling of isolation; and can make sharing ideas impossible. Feeling isolated and distanced from your team can drastically reduce engagement and make already complex tasks even more challenging. Simply feeling like part of a team can help increase motivation to tackle new and existing challenges. To bring your team together and increase motivation, you need a central base from which you and your team members can share information, updates, and insights.
A centralized knowledge base allows your workplace to become a hub of interconnectivity. Using a platform that brings together ideas, insights, outside knowledge, and internal news creates a space where team members can keep up to date, and share in new ways. This decreases feelings of isolation, boosts internal collaboration, and creates a sense of team.
In addition to creating a centralized community knowledge base, using an employee advocacy platform (as this base) can also give your employees the opportunity to share relevant and approved information outside of the workplace. This not only builds a personal brand for your employees, it also allows them to communicate more quickly with; and share knowledge to outside collaborators. Taking a key digital piece and using it to expand your team.
2. Giving Your Team Members A Voice
Listening to your employees, and giving them the opportunity to offer input on certain projects or discussions may seem like a no-brainer, but unfortunately, in many workplaces, the employee voice often goes unheard. 64% of employees rate decisions made without seeking input as a top frustration in the workplace. Employees who feel listened to feel more connected with their team. And in turn, feel more engaged and driven to do their best.
Listening to your employees can be as simple as setting regular checkpoints, or meetings to go over important communication points. It can also be made easy through the use of specific communications tools designed to facilitate collaboration among employees. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, allow employees to create threads for different projects and discussions, offering the possibility to comment on original posts and include documents. Using communications tools that help teams work together gives each employee a voice even when working remotely or from different office spaces. It opens up your communication, allows employees to feel heard, and ultimately strengthens your team.
Giving your employees a voice is a powerful tool.
While giving your employees a means to be heard is one part of the listening equation; an even larger part stems from creating an atmosphere in which employees feel comfortable enough to give their input. Active listen starts at the top. Learning to actively listen and encouraging an atmosphere of welcomed input will trickle down through your team.
Actively listening means hearing what your colleagues have to say and acknowledging the input they give. It also means treating the advice they offer with respect; and being able to open a dialogue with them based on what they have to offer.
To further a culture of welcome, sought-out input many companies are beginning to use integrated tools to help encourage their employee’s opinions through gamification (contests, rewards, badges, etc.), which demonstrates to team members that when asked, it is not only safe to share their opinion, it is actively encouraged.
Remember, it costs nothing to listen to someone’s opinion. This does not mean that you have to implement every idea that comes across your desk; but in listening to your colleagues and employees, you give your team members a voice and bring them together through shared collaboration.
3. Leave Somethings Offline
While in a digital world many digital tools most certainly help strengthen your team, they cannot totally replace the engagement that is built through in-person interaction. Increasing face-to-face communication helps build trust, increase productivity, and establishes shared experiences. All of which lead to a stronger, more dedicated team.
Make time for you and your coworkers to come together offline; whether it be for monthly or quarterly meetings, team building exercises, morning meet and greets, or weekly team lunches.
Building a sense of camaraderie and strengthening your team in an increasingly digital world can be a challenge. Using the tools you have at hand, increasing communication, giving your employees a voice, and ensuring offline interaction can go a long way in building up your team and increasing their engagement.