The need for collaboration software in your business is evident, but all the apps are starting to look the same. What will actually improve communication in my company? Collaboration systems are helpful, but it’s important to remember that effective communication also requires interpersonal skills. Despite today’s technology, employees are still wasting over 300 hours a year in inefficient or ineffective communications. How is that possible?
Business chat apps provide an easy way to communicate, but exchanging messages isn’t necessarily collaborating. In some organizations, there are so many apps for communication that collaboration is chaotic and disorganized. That’s not what you’re shooting for, either.
Finding the right mix of technology to bolster collaboration is challenging when so many options are available. The terms “communication” and “collaboration” are sometimes used interchangeably, making it harder to identify the real reason for weak collaboration. Let’s take a minute to separate the two.
Communication and collaboration: different, but interconnected
Communication is simply sharing or exchanging information. Sending an email, talking with a colleague in the break room, and messaging are just a few ways employees communicate at work. Conversations are mostly work-related but usually include happenings of daily life. Communication does not always contribute to collaboration, but collaboration cannot happen without communication. A team cannot pursue a goal together without exchanging knowledge and ideas.
Collaboration is working with others collectively toward a common goal to create something or solve a problem. In an organization, employees with diverse expertise collaborate to accomplish an objective more effectively. Instead of working separately and meshing completed tasks at the end of an endeavor, group members discuss matters along the way, posing questions and giving feedback. Everyone applies and shares their skills throughout a project’s duration to achieve something greater than the sum of individual work.
Building effective collaboration
Two essential ingredients for powerful collaboration are interpersonal skills and intelligent tools. The former is commonly overlooked but equally important.
1. Interpersonal skills
Constructive communication doesn’t come naturally. It’s an acquired skill. 31 percent of job applicants lack sufficient communication skills, but building awareness and providing training can help.
Team members need to be able to rely on one another for more than just carrying their weight in daily roles. Requesting feedback and receiving no reply can be as aggravating as dealing with a colleague who is easily upset by criticism. Reliable employees remain engaged, admit mistakes, and continually seek personal development.
When two people are having a conversation, the listener is often thinking more about their reply than what the speaker is saying. Good listeners resist the urge to respond before fully understanding the other person’s thoughts and ask questions to draw out more details. Nonverbal cues, open-ended questions, paraphrasing, and verbal affirmations are examples of active listening.
In any workplace, ideas will clash at some point or another. Team members should know how to receive constructive criticism, but conflict can still generate negative feelings that disrupt collaboration. Teach employees to be assertive when there’s a problem and to seek facilitation, mediation, or creative solutions to clear the air.
Hurtful words, whether intentional or unintentional, tend to immediately put us on the defense. Meanwhile, our colleagues may be unaware they have said something upsetting. They are only trying to figure out how to help. A little bit of empathy goes a long way. Putting ourselves in others’ shoes—trying to understand and share their feelings—mitigates conflicts and keeps tension low for a more pleasant atmosphere.
Contextual collaboration tools accommodate remote and in-house employees by fusing work and communication in one platform. It’s easier for employees to remain engaged and efficient when they aren’t navigating between work and collaboration apps. Collaboration and productivity go hand in hand, and that’s why 80 percent of businesses employ collaboration tools to improve business operations.
Benefits of proficient communication
Poor communication can lead to costly business mistakes, but the importance of communication and collaboration goes beyond merely staying out of the red.
Organizations that integrate communication platforms experience up to 51 percent increased productivity. Improved stakeholder alignment, higher employee engagement, and reduced turnover are all by-products of excellent internal communication.
Groups are more likely to find harmony when dialogue is purposeful and considerate. Open communication leads to better transparency and a work environment where strong accountability is the norm.
No one likes to feel like they’re walking on eggshells, always worried about stepping on someone’s toes. Connected company culture strengthens morale, eases tensions, and makes for a more enjoyable workplace. 85 percent of employees with access to collaboration software are happier at work.
When employees are straight with each other, resolve conflicts quickly, and share ideas freely, innovation thrives. Frequently sharing new knowledge and fresh inspiration leads to higher-quality products or services.
How can Kissflow improve communication and collaboration in the workplace?
Building communication isn’t a straightforward process and looks different in every organization. The common denominator is the need for a platform where employees can link communication to work.
Kissflow empowers employees with numerous options for communication and collaboration in the workplace. Any team member can automate a repetitive process, construct a project board, or manage case workflow. Actions like sharing documents, attaching comments to tasks, posting news and announcements, and celebrating achievements together all occur in the same, user-friendly application. Group discussions not directly related to a project are organized by topic in custom channels.
Easy API integration links Kissflow to core software to create a consolidated workspace. Pivots, charts, insights, and dashboards keep managers connected to daily progress without the need for frequent status update meetings. Urgent tasks like manager approvals, workflow tracking, and channel comments are instantly accessible on Kissflow’s mobile app.
Training your employees in practical communication skills and investing in a contextual collaboration tool are two crucial steps toward a more connected company culture. Bridge the divides in your workplace and step onto solid ground with Kissflow.