What are best business practices?

Assessing collaborative behaviour

How do people communicate with each other in your company? Do they have a chat in the lift? Do you have a lounge area where they can relax and share experiences? Or are they more formal in their communications? Do they set up lots of meetings? Do they pick up the phone constantly and call their colleagues or do they use email or instant messaging.

Make sure it fits your company’s current work style

When you adopt new collaboration tools, try to pick ones that are not too far removed from your company’s current way of working, at least in the beginning. It will help your staff to get used to the idea. For example if they prefer face to face activities introduce video conferencing. If you find they pick up the phone and ring each other to get quick answers give them instant messaging.

Make info easily accessible

If people know where to find information, and find it quickly, they are far more likely to use it. If your staff for example don’t seem to know who would be the right person to collaborate with on a given project, introduce them to each other in a more social setting. It’s not that much different form match-making. Put the right people together, the ones that that complement each other.

Ensure that collaboration tools become central to the working process.

There are a myriad of collaboration tools out there for example project management tools, collaboration suites, wikis and real time communications like instant messaging and Web conferencing. Do your research and pick the right tools for your company.

Measure the impact and benefits of collaboration

Of course you will have to invest upfront before you know what the outcome will be. Be sure to put in place a plan to practically measure how collaboration benefited a particular project. Was it done quicker? Get feedback from your staff about the process they used. This will help you plan your collaboration projects better in the future. However, you should give your company and staff time for this to work. Collaboration can come slow to some people and companies.

These are just some best business practices, hope they are useful.

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