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The CIO perspective

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The CIO perspective: 5 tips for a more collaborative workspace

We’ve all heard that ‘two heads are better than one’. As the CIO, this likely rings true. You want your team to do their best work and leverage each other’s efforts—which oftentimes means working together to be more productive.

Here are 5 tips that can help you nurture a culture of collaboration every day so that your employees get more done:

Tip #1: Set goals

Understanding what your business goals are is an important first step in preparing for employee collaboration and setting the business up for success. So is establishing tangible targets to hit along the way. Why?

  • It helps you lead your team.
  • It lets your employees know what’s expected and gives them a clear path to get there.
  • It also helps you measure when you’ve reached your goals—whether they be financial, measures of productivity, or otherwise.

Not sure where to start? Take a cue from your company mission and values, and ask yourself a few questions:

  • What’s the vision for the business?
  • How does your team’s work ladder up to the vision?
  • Do you make it easy for employees to feel engaged in productive work?
  • What tools do they need to succeed?

If these questions are making you scratch your head, here are a few ways you can make a start:

  • Reacquaint yourself with (and re-evaluate, if necessary) the company’s vision.
  • Schedule time to talk to your employees about their perception of the work they do and its impact on the business.
  • Listen to their perspective and use those insights to set measurable goals that you can relay to the team. Even if they change week to week, your team needs direction in order to collaborate.1

Tip #2: Recognize and reward

Want to see results? Give rewards. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity increase, and they’re more motivated to improve their work for the business.2 Set aside a few minutes perhaps once a week to recognize employees who have produced positive results through their collaboration with others.

Treat them to rewards like:3

  • Gift cards
  • Paid time off
  • Restaurant/experiential vouchers
  • Merchandise (i.e. smart devices)

Only 51% of workers were satisfied with the recognition they received after a job well done.4 This stat is true across the board and across borders. This figure is the result of 2.5 million employee interviews in 237 private, public and not-for-profit organizations, in 89 countries around the world over a 10-year span.

So be creative. Incentivize your team with rewards that matter to them to get the collaboration ball rolling. If you’re not sure what will motivate them—ask.

Keep in mind that some people naturally gravitate towards teamwork, whereas others find putting their ideas out there daunting. Be on the lookout for those who need extra support and recognition when stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Tip #3: Remind employees that collaboration goes beyond the physical workspace

It’s not all about open-concept workstations and boardroom brainstorms—your team’s workspace lives in a digital space too.

Collaboration tools like Idea Drop, GoTo Meeting and Google Docs are systems that make the digital workspace collaboration-friendly. Encourage your team to use these tools to share their ideas, documents and data in real time. And to power your collaboration tools, ask your IT manager to secure Internet that’s consistently fast, reliable and cost-effective.

With your whole team collaborating, you’ll need bandwidth that supports them all at the same time. If you think that your Internet connection may need a reboot, check out Cogeco’s Dedicated Fibre Internet.

Tip #4: Evaluate your own workspace

Does your personal workspace work for or against collaboration? It should feel accessible and approachable to your team.5 If you work in a private office, keep the door open or try working from mobile workstations throughout the office so that you’re seen by employees as part of the team. Why?

  • It makes it easier and more comfortable for employees to ask you questions.
  • You’ll get a better sense of team morale—that’s important since low morale can lead to dissatisfaction, poor productivity, absenteeism and even turnover.6

As you’re working away, try asking for their input on the projects you’re working on, or for ideas on how to improve processes. A new perspective is always beneficial, and it helps to foster a more positive environment of shared ideas and constructive criticism.

Tip #5: Encourage after-hours socializing

We work better together when we feel connected. A great way to achieve this is by organizing and encouraging social outings for your team.

Based on where your office is located and the types of activities your team enjoys, suggest things like after-work drinks, bowling, or team-building events like escape rooms. If you have trouble rallying the troops, try setting aside an hour each week for employees to break for drinks, snacks and games. Anything that brings people together in a more social setting will help them feel more comfortable speaking their minds and sharing their ideas at work.7 That’s important because new ideas can lead to new opportunities, products, sales, etc. for the company.

 

We’ve all heard that ‘two heads are better than one’. As the CIO, this likely rings true. You want your team to do their best work and leverage each other’s efforts—which oftentimes means working together to be more productive.

 


 

Sources:

1,3,5,7 (Ripton, J.) (2018 Oct 18) 6 ways to create a collaborative workspace. [Online article] Retrieved from https://www.smallbizdaily.com/6-ways-create-collaborative-team-workplace/

2,4 Harrison, K. (Date unknown) Why employee recognition is so important – and how you can start doing it. [Online article] Retrieved from https://cuttingedgepr.com/free-articles/employee-recognition-important/

6 Richards, L. (Date unknown) Effects of low employee morale. [Online article] Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/effects-low-employee-morale-1768.html

 

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