10 Strategies for Fostering
Team Collaboration and
Enhancing Productivity

See also: Collaboration or Working Together

The workplace is more fast-paced than ever, with rapid changes to how and where people work, technological developments, and processes. To keep pace, companies are eager to facilitate team collaboration and productivity.

Of course, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to boosting engagement on an individual and group level. Managers must pay close attention to their teams' needs for improvement. Here is a closer look at how collaboration and productivity intermingle, and how employers can foster a more cohesive and productive workplace.

Overlapping Team Collaboration and Productivity

There has been much discussion regarding team collaboration and productivity since the transition to remote work during the pandemic. Executives have spoken about a dip in productivity and brainstorming, with many calling workers back to the office. However, there is still no true consensus.

One thing is sure — teamwork and productivity go hand in hand to produce more successful outcomes. A collaborative team — regardless of whether they are in person or remote — develops fresh ideas and works toward a common goal.

Studies show enterprises with higher employee engagement are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable. Likewise, they also demonstrate less absenteeism and turnover.

Teamwork is more than workers assuming specific tasks and responsibilities. It means understanding how everyone contributes a unique skill or function, like puzzle pieces. This requires a high level of respect, communication, problem-solving, listening skills and leadership.

10 Ways to Inspire Collaboration and Productivity Across Teams

Fostering team collaboration and productivity presents real challenges for managers and executives. Workplaces comprise individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, personalities and motivations. Facilitators must implement the best framework for everyone to work together.

Here are 10 ways to inspire a constant flow of ideas and increased performance.

1. Set Clear Goals

If you want your team to work well together, they must know what they are working toward. Setting clear, measurable, actionable goals will inform employees of their roles and what they must do to accomplish the business's overarching mission.

Managers should separate long-term and short-term goals, ensuring everyone knows the most time-bound objectives. There should also be a way for everyone to monitor their individual progress and the team's. Checklists, progress reports and timelines are all ways to stay the course.

2. Embrace Technology

Current technology advancements and the rise of artificial intelligence have paved the way for a more streamlined workflow. Rather than repel these developments, organizations should embrace them to boost productivity.

Project management software, communication platforms, and cloud storage help boost team collaboration and information sharing. For instance, the cloud allows you to store documents and open them up for team-wide editing without sending them to each person in rounds.

Of course, a heavy reliance on workplace tech increases the risk of cybersecurity breaches. Set up access permissions on sensitive documents to limit who can open files and make changes. Also, remember to remove access from former staff members if they leave the company.

3. Foster a Positive and Inclusive Workplace Culture

A diverse workplace benefits most from people with different views and experiences, enhancing innovation and improving solution-oriented decision making. However, it requires a workplace culture where all employees feel comfortable.

There has been a reckoning recently as brands scramble to enhance their diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This requires having hard conversations, being honest about the current culture and soliciting feedback for improvement.

Employees must address their unconscious biases and become each other's allies. In the end, you will have a more cohesive, hard-working team.

4. Encourage Open Communication

Open, transparent and respectful communication is necessary to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also makes employees less afraid to speak up. Respect encourages team members to challenge one another's opinions and think more critically about the outcomes.

Respectful discourse further promotes trust and reliability. Employees will feel they can speak freely with one another without fighting or controversy and have greater access to their managers. Dialogue among teams and other departments also develops active listening skills.

5. Offer Professional Development

Provide professional development if you want employees to continue producing excellent work and stay abreast of industry trends. These programs, workshops, and trainings are crucial to many workers and positively affect retention and hiring.

Nearly 60% of workers would look for another job if they did not have access to ongoing learning and professional development. This rings especially true for women and people of color who may not always have opportunities to move up the career ladder.

Professional development empowers employees to do well. It also benefits companies to have a team adept in the latest technology and procedures.

6. Deliver Autonomy and Accountability

Staff members want to produce results for themselves, their teams and the business. However, leaders with micromanaging tendencies often hinder their abilities and drive. Giving employees ownership over their work and holding them accountable for delivering outcomes will increase job performance and motivation.

It does not mean managers should throw the rules out the window — but it does mean taking a step back and trusting your team to do what they are supposed to do. Loosening your grip will be difficult at first. However, your workers have the know-how and expertise to accomplish great things independently.

7. Promote Mentorship Opportunities

Mentorship is an excellent strategy for fostering team collaboration, increasing retention and boosting worker potential. Pairing an employee with a colleague also encourages a more supportive work environment.

The worker can brainstorm and share their ideas with a mentor before presenting them during team meetings. Mentors also teach employees new skills, help them build their network and empower them to work hard.

Before implementing a mentorship program, you must determine what you hope to achieve and develop the appropriate format — group, one-on-one or peer-to-peer mentoring. Having people sign up as mentors and mentees will also allow you to gauge interest.

8. Create Communal Office Spaces

Boosting engagement and teamwork is sometimes as straightforward as reconfiguring the office space. However, this does not necessarily mean adopting an open floor plan.

Studies show private workstations are much more conducive to workplace happiness, especially among those whose productivity increases without distractions. Office introverts might produce better results in a quiet, personal space than they would while surrounded by co-workers — a stress-inducing scenario for some.

However, you could design more communal areas for people to gather and converse throughout the day. Spruce up the cafeteria or break lounge, designate a "living room" space with comfortable sofas, and create inspiring conference rooms to foster workplace relationships and creativity.

9. Reward Contributions and Good Ideas

Innovation and improved processes are cornerstones of increased productivity and team collaboration. As such, it is essential to recognize, celebrate and show appreciation for team members' contributions.

Everyone wants to do well and make a positive difference in the organization. Celebrating small successes — like a quick turnaround on a contract or a new workflow hack — is a morale boost.

Give specific employees a shout-out during a meeting, pull them aside to thank them for doing exemplary work or send an email to the team recognizing recent accomplishments. Likewise, remember to thank everyone for their efforts.

10. Lead by Example

One of the most effective strategies for boosting team collaboration and productivity is to exude excellent leadership. Practice transparency with your staff, provide constructive feedback and encouragement, address conflicts as they arise, and guide adaptation for everyone.

Empathic leadership also goes a long way with employees, as they tend to feel more appreciated and supported by their employers. Encourage them to take time off to rest and recharge. Also, recognize their need to care for personal responsibilities, such as their health, children or an older parent.

Overall, a good leader makes everyone feel important and like they belong. In turn, you end up with employees who are engaged, productive and eager to work together.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

Teamwork and Job Performance Are Drivers of Success

A successful brand focuses on engagement and productivity, fostering a workplace family. Everyone reaps the reward once managers find the right formula for teamwork, collaboration and effort.

About the Author

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.