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Successful collaboration: How companies get employees on board

by Tejas Dhawan

The introduction of a collaboration solution is not enough. It is crucial that the employees find the software useful and actively integrate it into their work processes. There are a number of things to consider for this to succeed.

The cross-project and cross-location collaboration of several people, teams or departments plays an increasingly important role for many companies. On the one hand, because today the Internet and mobile devices make it possible to work from any location and teams are working more and more spatially separated. On the other hand, an efficient transfer of know-how within a company is crucial in order to operate successfully in a complex and networked world of work.

The introduction of collaboration software alone is not enough. Employees must find them useful and actively integrate them into their work processes.
Photo: Rawpixel – shutterstock.com

Amazingly, it is often not clear to employees that they have valuable specialist knowledge. If you work on a task in your area, encounter a challenge and solve it, you often have the feeling “I was only doing my job”. Most of the time, it is not thought that sooner or later a colleague will face a similar challenge and then benefit from the knowledge already available in the company.

Companies should therefore always encourage their employees to make an entry in the company’s wiki, forum or similar in such situations. It does not have to be comprehensive, detailed documentation. A short blog post or even a meaningfully tagged note is completely sufficient. If necessary, a colleague seeking advice can then contact the author personally.

Of course, companies want employees to like and use collaboration software frequently. Then you should not put any (technical) stones in their way. To this end, access and editing rights that are as extensive as possible should be ensured. Simple interaction options such as “likes” and comment functions should also be possible. The more intuitive the handling of the software, the sooner it will be used by all employees. Almost everyone uses private social networks, Wikipedia, chats and forums today – the usability of a collaboration software should be comparable.

Companies should look for a group of early adopters:

  • Who can use a collaboration solution in a company the fastest?

  • Is there a group / team that has a special pain point when it comes to working together?

With such a group, initial experience and feedback can be gathered in the course of a pilot project. Then, if necessary, the first optimizations can be carried out. Ideally, these first-time users can later act as “project sponsors”, conduct training courses for colleagues and promote the internal further development of the collaboration software.

When introducing collaboration software, care should be taken to integrate desired and existing tools – ideally on a central platform. Ideally, this enables each user to individually adapt a personalized start page, from which the employee has access to all functions and content that are important to him.

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