If you are here looking for the secret to cross-team collaboration and stirring up creativity at work, you are at the right place if you realize there is some grinding involved. As there is no one-size guide for everybody, the first steps are always the same: communicate and automate! Here are 11 ways to spark innovation and better collaboration in your workplace.
These days, employees strive for freedom. They want to try different hats and roles to evolve. But for them to feel it and for you to trust them, you must instill some ground rules. Also, keep an open mind when it comes to opportunities for automation in the workspace for productivity and time-saving purposes.
In the end, it’s important to set both personal and brand goals. Parameters allow everybody to develop on their own, and inside the team. Still not convinced? Studies show that inclusive work cultures outperform by 35%.
Let’s sprinkle some magic over your business culture and cross-functional teams!
#1 What are the big and smaller goals
Every few months, look over your company’s main goal - growth. See if you are going in the right direction and at the perfect speed. If not, reassess your process and adapt targets with the whole team.
Here is the optimal time for growth hacking, like repetitive task automation, to be brought to the discussion table. What are the problems and the solutions? Can one team member learn a new skill and teach the others in a cross-team collaboration? Set a main goal for the company and individual ones for each team member.
#2 Encourage, encourage, encourage
For a company to scale, everybody needs to be pulling his or her weight in the same direction. On the team front, they want to be listened to, not micromanaged. So, develop a united front and one voice to offer constructive encouragement along the way.
The right payment is essential, but these days employees want that extra little thing. The option of repetitive task automation to free up some time and upgrade their skills. Maybe the opportunity to come up with a new process or work in a different department.
#3 “You did an amazing job!”
Even if you don’t offer a classic intrapreneurship program, you can instill the entrepreneurial spirit in your employees. In today’s world, nobody knows it all, but you can encourage people to learn something new every day.
What’s more, think that innovators do, then they learn. It’s better to have more little failures that you can control instead of a big one. The first ones will prevent the latter. Make sure your employees know they can test new things out supported by cross-team collaboration.
#4 Tap into automation tools
It might sound redundant, but it’s worth emphasizing that digital tools are important to growing anything these days. Delegate to artificial intelligence bots repetitive tasks that need to be done.
Automation is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. One of the best benefits of automation in the workplace is that it saves time, and lower the risk of human error when doing routine tasks. Automating processes will enable your employees to focus more valuable tasks.
EmailTree helps customer service teams to trim the inbox flow. Trello boards help sync up on tasks. Slack is great for quick check-ups.
While the good ol’ Google Drive is still amazing at sharing ideas in an organized way. This is the perfect way for everyone to see what’s their responsibility.
#5 Let’s brainstorm!
Brainstorming sessions are essential if they are well organized, and don’t turn into “that meeting could’ve been an email”. Set the session up beforehand. Determine a target, ask team members for problem-solving ideas, and then meet.
During this agile and devops meeting, somebody has to write the ideas down. And when you take them one by one, try to give both pros and cons to applying them. Once you are ready to close the meeting, set up a few ideas for a trial period and see where it will take you.
The use of a collaborative tool like Trello will help the team by making it easy to see the benefits of a collaborative group of people.
#6 Who is your “employee of the month”?
When you spend almost half of your day with a group, you need them to see you, to recognize who you are and what you do. This is normal if you work at the office, hybrid style, and, especially, remotely. It is also one great opportunity for setting up automation in the workplace.
Compliment showers once per year, evaluations twice per year, trimestrial meetings for bonuses, and even monthly chats are encouraged to sense the pulse of each team member. Do some meetings with everybody, but don’t postpone one on ones due to time constraints, use repetitive task automation with EmailTree to take control of your daily schedule.
Develop a brand tradition to make people feel special in front of others. And you could even run some fun, competitive, games to reach the “employee-of-the-trimester” label for keeping, let’s say, a Zero Inbox during this period. EmailTree helps you in this respect to set folders and create templates for better workflows.
#7 Build cross-functional teams
Teams work better together than alone and are happier when they get to exchange knowledge. Take for example the sales and marketing; they need to sync up from time to time to see if maybe the marketing army has a few new ideas for the sales officers and vice versa.
They want to know people's first impressions and the questions that arise, or what was the thing users noticed to make it more attractive. Not only that, but they should know what is the best-selling point to adapt and build more add-ons for that solution.
Product people are set on producing, but insights from people selling what they do are as important as what UX experts conclude. This is how you drive innovation from inside the company and build a pipeline of advantages of cross-functional teams.
#8 Bring in outside experts
Collaboration can also be revamped with outside help as well. If you have an internal challenge or everybody in your team wants to learn the same thing, set up a workshop that all employees can attend for 1-2 months.
Outside mentorship is also welcomed. Encourage your employees to research people in their field that they can learn from, and suggest they ask for sync-up meetings with mentors that can help them grow exponentially.
#9 Communication goes two ways
Communication is no longer a one-way street, usually going down. It’s about open conversations with superiors as well as teammates. When everybody feels secure enough to not beat around the bush, that’s where real innovation occurs.
But know that some people might find it hard to talk about things openly, and they want to do it privately or even in writing. Bring back those forms.
#10 Learn how to disagree
Invite contradictory discussions where you make sure people’s feelings are not hurt. It’s important to know how to express an opinion, and it’s a skill that everybody can learn: workshop idea - how to give and receive feedback.
As a suggestion, begin with the positive vibes; as for the others, rephrase opinions in a way that suggests improvement, not that something needs to be amended. When you disagree, it’s essential to make it clear with facts and also offer a solution that can inspire the other person to revise.
#11 How flexible are you on a scale from corporation to startup?
Corporations are known for their rules that help them get where they are; while startups are for their flexibility. A successful company needs both.
You have to set up goals, but also provide your team with resources, like time and money, to try out the methods they suggested. Your company might have weekly or daily meetings, but then you could offer more flex work for night owls versus early risers or work-from-home caregivers. Avoid the hovering-leader style and go for authoritative.
The advantage of a successfully collaborative teams is that those who work well stay together to innovate. By promoting effective collaboration, you will also show accountability perks, like better work environment, smoother workflows, and new revenue streams.
Ready to lower that job-hopping skills trend and grow your business culture?