Organizations that prioritize transparent communication and seamless collaboration tap into positive results, as the impact of poor communication and silos can have negative impacts on an organization’s performance. According to a study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the consequences of poor communication involve increased stress levels, delay or failure to complete projects, low company morale, and missed performance goals. In consideration of the role communication plays in collaboration, the study also found that nearly a third of sales are lost due to communication breakdowns.
While many leaders have made strides toward improving communication and collaboration in recent years, the rise in alternative working arrangements has caused many to question whether communication and collaboration can continue effectively in a remote or hybrid environment.
Many organizations across Canada have decided to call their workers back to work to foster employee morale, which occasionally has had the reverse impact on workers, resulting in decreased retention and employee engagement. While there are benefits to calling workers back to work in person, there are also many other strategies organizations can consider to promote a culture of communication and collaboration, whether working in-person, hybrid, or remotely.
Organizational Transparency and Team Goals
Organizations that do not prioritize transparent communication and keeping their employees “in the loop” on the organization’s performance, vision, and key business decisions risk establishing a culture where employees feel disengaged from the organization’s core goals. It is important therefore that all members of your team have a good understanding of what is happening within the business to promote organizational transparency.
To get started, leaders can consider how to establish a shared understanding of organizational vision, mission, values and purpose. To do this, organizations could consider frequent communication avenues such as town halls, newsletters, or emails to keep employees engaged and updated on key business changes and performance.
By improving organizational transparency, organizations can promote employee buy-in into the company’s vision and goals, which can better help them understand how their performance directly impacts the organization’s goals. If employees have a stronger idea of how their work contributes to the organization’s success, they will be more motivated to work toward the achievement of organizational goals within their teams.
Once employees develop a strong understanding of the organization’s goals and are kept updated as to the company’s performance, leaders should consider promoting opportunities for teams to develop their own goals. Individual team goals can encourage a sense of unity within a team and a feeling that everyone is working towards a common purpose, while still serving organizational objectives.
If employees feel they are working together with their co-workers on a common purpose, this can help encourage more consistent communication on projects and collaboration on key deliverables.
Breaking Down Silos with Technology
Technology can also be used to foster a culture of communication and collaboration. Team meetings are great opportunities for employees to connect, discuss what they are working on and keep each other updated on key projects, which can help reduce silos and encourage cross-team collaboration.
While these meetings can be held in person, it is important to note that moving team touch bases to online platforms does not necessarily mean communication and/or collaboration will decrease. Moving this meeting virtually can allow employee members to easily refer to their notes to provide the most updated account of their work and share their screens to provide visual examples of projects and workflow.
Technology can further be used to break down team silos using informal channels of discussion. Tools such as MS Teams and Slack allow employees to receive quick responses from their team members regarding the status of projects and workflows, which can help break down barriers that may exist in-person as well, for example when employees are located on different floors of a building or located in different cities.
Further, the use of electronic collaboration tools such as Mural offers many benefits. Many teams have depended on whiteboards and sticky notes to promote team brainstorming and strategizing, and while beneficial, it does create an onus for someone to take all that was discussed in the meeting and transcribe it into key deliverables.
It is oftentimes difficult to recall the tone that was conveyed when an idea was presented or remember who would be responsible for which deliverable. Mural allows organizations to take that one step further, by providing a virtual whiteboard where employees can freely add notes next to ideas, create quick and seamless charts, add sticky notes to promote brainstorming, and then copy and paste the necessary information into emails and/or Word applications.
Developing a culture of communication and collaboration does not begin solely with calling employees back into the office, but rather involves active steps by leaders to promote unity and buy-in on organizational goals and projects. Regardless of whether employees are located in-person, hybrid or remote, leaders need to reflect on the actions they can take to promote transparent communication and an open workflow.
Hesse, M. (2022, November 29). Improving employee experience in the hybrid workplace with Microsoft 365. CIO.
Vitasek, K. (2023, January 16). 4 Tips For Building A Culture Of Collaboration Within Your